Posted in HS4CC, Transcripts

Recording HS Credit Earned Before 9th Grade

A dilemma many parents have is how to record high school (or college) credit on their homeschool transcript when the class was taken prior to 9th grade. Since the high school transcript doesn’t “start” until 9th grade, this presents a challenge!

Case Study: My 8th grader earned credit in High School Spanish 1 and High School Algebra 1 this year. How should I present that on her high school transcript?

Believe it or not, this isn’t a totally cut and dry decision. There are 2 types of requirements you should consider before you decide how/when to list the credit.

1: High School Graduation Requirements

When a state has high school graduation requirements, and one of those requirements were met in 8th grade, it is in your teen’s best interest to bring those credits onto the high school transcript. This assures that the requirements is documented as opposed to accidently forgotten about! Since most states don’t have high school graduation requirements for homeschoolers, this is usually not a factor. If your state does have high school graduation requirements, then it’s more a question of legal compliance. In that case, be sure you’re complying with your state’s laws about how/when high school credits are earned and recorded.

2. College Admissions Requirements

If your daughter’s target college asks for a requirement that was met before 9th grade, one way to document the requirement is to bring it onto the transcript. I would choose this option when it won’t be met otherwise in 10th-12th grades.

For instance, if your teen’s target college is asking for 2 credits/years of a foreign language, then you either have to bring up Spanish 1 from 8th grade or add another credit to her schedule after Spanish 2.

Adding an extra credit would be optimal for the student targeting a competitive admission college because it demonstrates academic rigor and depth when students take harder (higher) classes, but if Spanish is not a strong subject for her, it’s best to just get it out of the way and use the rest of her high school slots to focus on courses where she can shine.

9th Grade10th Grade11th Grade12th Grade
Spanish I*
Spanish II
XXX
*Spanish 1 completed in 8th Grade

9th Grade10th Grade11th Grade12th Grade
Spanish IISpanish IIIXX
(sample)

HS4CC Considerations

There are some nuances here that apply more to our audience than homeschoolers who aren’t earning college credit. Let’s explore those as well.

Students who use dual enrollment programs will accumulate a LOT of high school credit.

This happens because dual enrollment college courses follow the 3:1 rule, meaning 1 college class worth 3 college credits is worth 1 high school credit. When you consider that colleges offer courses during fall, spring, and summer, it’s possible to accumulate 3 high school credits in just one time slot!

When teens accumulate so much extra credit around 11th and 12th grades, it seems unnecessary to include their 8th grade credit (though you certainly CAN if you want).

Here is how it might look if your teen takes a full year of English each semester and each year of high school – the last two years through dual enrollment.

semester9th Grade10th Grade11th Grade12th Grade
FALLEnglish, 0.5 creditEnglish, 0.5 creditENG101, 1 creditENG201, 1 credit
SPRINGEnglish, 0.5 creditEnglish, 0.5 creditENG102, 1 creditENG202, 1 credit
total1 credit1 credit2 credits2 credits

As you can see, whether or not a high school credit from 8th grade appears on this transcript doesn’t feel as relevant as it once did because it is heavily overshadowed by the extra credits earned in 11th and 12th grades. This student has earned 6 high school credits in English. (That’s two more than the average recommendation)


How to Record it under “9th Grade”

A straightforward method to record this credit it to simply put an asterisk * next to the course(s) you’re bringing up from 8th grade. When you award credit this way, be sure to also award credit and grades. These will make up part of the high school GPA totals.

9th Grade10th Grade11th Grade12th Grade
Spanish I*
Spanish II
XXX
*Spanish 1 completed in 8th Grade

Leave it Off ?

Leaving it off makes sense in a few unique situations.

(1) when you live in a state that places limits or caps on your teen’s access to dual enrollment based on the number of high school credits they have. Our Texas families have encountered issues with one college that has instituted their own policy against homeschoolers with what they define as having “too much” high school or college credit to qualify for discounted tuition. I would encourage families to limit their transcript to only the calendar years required or choose a different college.

9th Grade10th Grade11th Grade12th Grade
Spanish IIXXX
(sample)

(2) when you’re going to take additional credits later, especially if they’re for college credit, your teen will be well over the minimums for graduation or admissions.

semester9th Grade10th Grade11th Grade12th Grade
FALLSpanish II, 0.5 creditSPAN101, 1 credit
SPRINGSpanish II, 0.5 creditSPAN102, 1 credit
total1 credit2 credits
(sample)

More resources

Transcript Resource Page

It’s only the most important homeschool document you’ll ever create!  No pressure. (Transcript Chapter) Chapter 7 of Homeschooling for College Credit (2nd edition). Families who have a lot of college credit often worry about how to record credit earned through dual enrollment, CLEP, or ACE.  […]

Coming Up: October Transcript Intensive

Building a great transcript with lots of college credit? Jennifer Cook-DeRosa is teaching a special 2-hour intensive transcript class. This course is for homeschooling parents who are their teen’s official school administrator of record and need to create a transcript.

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Site Owner, Homeschooling for College Credit