Summer school is part of THIS school year, and for many teens, the last opportunity to earn college credit at a deep discount before heading off to pay full price. As a strategy, if your summer school class starts before high school graduation (even 1 day before) then the semester is “inside” of high school and doesn’t change your teen into a transfer student.
Summer registration may already be open at your local community college or dual enrollment college!! Often it opens when the spring registration opens. Since there are usually fewer sections, they can fill up much faster.
When Summer School isn’t Dual Enrollment
Dual enrollment programs may offer summer classes, but this entry refers to programs that are specifically offered separate and apart from a college’s dual enrollment program. These programs are generally self-pay, and operate outside the regular dual enrollment funding guidelines.
Sometimes a summer program, especially those at selective colleges, are an opportunity for the student to explore the campus and take classes that would not otherwise be available. Most selective colleges don’t offer dual enrollment, so this is an opportunity many people find appealing.
Many colleges, even Harvard University, will allow high school students the opportunity to enroll for summer school on campus, online, or through study abroad separate and apart from any dual enrollment program. Many times, the summer session is “open enrollment” but that’s not always the case. Programs like the one at Harvard are exceptionally competitive, and not everyone will be picked to enroll.
Like dual-enrollment, graded credits are recorded on an official transcript, and poor grades have to be disclosed on future college applications. Most summer school programs range from 2–8 weeks and result in 3 or more college credits. These programs are a faster pace than a traditional 16-week semester, but not always more “work” since the structure may include extra recreation or enrichment opportunities.
For any summer program you’re considering, there are several important things to check in advance:
- Confirm that the college / university is regionally accredited.
- Is the program in person or do students attend remotely?
- Is it a day program (sleep at home) or a residential program (sleep away)?
- Ask: How is the college credit documented? It will either be recorded on an official college transcript (good) or through the third party evaluator American Council Education ACE. If the credit is ACE credit, then this option gets bumped down to “Type 3 Limited Transferability”
- Ask: What happens if your teen doesn’t pass?
- Ask: What is included in the program cost? What costs are extra? Books? Fees? Parking? Meals? Transportation? Software? Proctoring?
5 Summer Programs for College Credit
- Brown University (RI)
- Duke University (NC)
- Georgetown University (MA)
- Harvard University (MA)
- Hillsdale College (MI)
If your teen is targeting selective colleges, we have resources!
- Homeschooling for College Credit Learning Guide: Using College Credit at Highly Selective Universities
- HS4CC Facebook Group: Selective Universities
- Homeschooling for College Credit Learning Guide: Homeschooling @ Harvard