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Upper-Level Credit in High School

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Super rare thing for me to write about here because, frankly, very few of you are going to be in a situation where you exhaust your credit earning options for the first two years of college (60 credits). But every now and then, a parent will ask about upper-level credit options.

Upper level credits tend to be the hardest to earn “before college” because colleges tend to reserve those courses for enrolled students. In other words, a student who might just take a course or two (high school student) isn’t the target audience of an upper-level course. An upper-level course tends to be a course in a student’s major (though it doesn’t have to be) and presumes that the student has already completed most or all of the general education courses leading up to the subject.

The most transferable classes are the lower-level (100-200) and those are the credits you’ll earn through dual enrollment, AP, CLEP, Sophia, and a number of other programs. To think of it another way, the 100 and 200 level courses make up the associate degree, and the 300-400 levels make up the last two years of a bachelor’s degree.

As you are probably starting to realize, the likelihood of a high school student needing upper level credit is pretty limited. BUT, for those of you in that category, resourcefully planning is essential. I don’t recommend any high school student work on upper level credit until they’ve committed to a specific college and specific major. Only then will you be able to plan well.

Hitting the “lower level” limit? Here are the upper level options for high school – and YES some of the dual enrollment colleges offer upper level at reduced tuition if you’re still in high school!)

ACE Partnership List

ACE (American Council on Education) is a third party credit evaluator that evaluates all types of learning that happens outside of a college. A company may market and sell courses “for college credit” that have been evaluated by ACE. While there are almost 1,500 colleges that “may consider” ACE credit, only when a company has […]

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