Posted in Dual Enrollment, High School, Uncategorized

Are 4 college classes too many?

If you’re using dual enrollment in high school, you’re probably faced with the problem of figuring out how many college credits vs high school credits your teen can balance and still pull good grades.  This is no small problem because college classes leave a paper trail!  In short- it’s part of their permanent record. Continue reading “Are 4 college classes too many?”

Posted in Dual Enrollment, Free Tuition

Dual Enrollment Advice from Parents

I recently asked the parents on Homeschooling for College Credit’s Facebook page to share their experiences with dual enrollment, and any advice they might have for parents considering it for their teens.

Dual enrollment is enrolling in a college credit course, usually through a college, and counting it also as a high school course.  Popular dual enrollment courses include English 101, College Algebra, United States History, and others.

Continue reading “Dual Enrollment Advice from Parents”

Posted in College Admission, Community college, Dual Enrollment, financial aid, Free Tuition, Tuition

$2000 Bachelor’s Degrees in NC

“My son is taking all his classes for 12th grade at the community college, he will be graduating in May with both his high school diploma from our homeschool and associates degree from our local community college” 

-Jayne L., North Carolina homeschooling parent.


Updated for 2019

The topic of today’s post is targeted toward our North Carolina families, but the takeaway isn’t that you should relocate to North Carolina, it’s that in almost every state there are some strategies you can build around the resources you have available to you.  I know many non-NC adults who “hacked” their education and earned AA or BA degrees for pennies on the dollar (I’m on that list!)  For the motivated, there are a lot of ways to save money, but this post is my deconstruction and then reconstruction of the resources in NC, assembled in a way that maxes out the benefits available to parents. Continue reading “$2000 Bachelor’s Degrees in NC”

Posted in Dual Enrollment

Dual Enrollment Colleges

Like homeschooling, there is no “one policy” for our entire country – A family in North Carolina enjoys free dual enrollment, while their friends in South Carolina pay a hefty fee- so if your state doesn’t provide an affordable option for your teen and you want them to take college courses in high school, you may want to look outside your state. 

Many colleges offer “distance learning” dual enrollment opportunities to any teen- you don’t have to live in that state!  (The schools on this all do)  In addition, you’ll want to be sure to use wisdom about choosing courses that will transfer into your teen’s future target college.  The #1 criteria colleges use for transfer credit is Regional Accreditation -every college on this list is Regionally Accredited, which is to say they meet the minimum standard.  There is no “higher” accreditation than regional, but a college ultimately decides for itself whether or not to accept transfer credit.  If you’d like to dive deeper into transfer credit, this transfer guide will help

Also, schools review and revise their policies from time to time, so if you notice a mistake, let us know.  We strive to keep this list up to date!  

Finally, comparing options can be frustrating, so if you’re not already in your state’s Homeschooling for College Credit Facebook group, I would highly recommend it so you can communicate with other families in your state.  That’s the best way to find out what’s available locally before you have to go outside your area.  The best resource we have is the collection of our shared effort.

Bluefield College (Bluefield, Virginia)

Type of school:  Private 4 year regionally accredited Christian college

Delivery: on campus or online

Called:  Dual Enrollment

Assessment scores required:  No

Cost for out of state:  $225 per course ($75 per credit)

Books: additional cost

Course offerings:  selected courses

NOTE:  Residents of UT, NY, WI, KY, RI, NJ not eligible

Meg G, a parent from our FB group, has this to say:  “My son is in his second year of Dual Enrollment on the Associate’s in General Studies track at Bluefield, and he is also a senior in high school. He earned 27-semester credits at BC last year. During his first year at BC, Bluefield was great, but now in his second year, we’ve discovered some negatives… PROS: 1.) Inexpensive 2.) No testing required for admission, and no testing required for English and Math courses.  3.) Challenging coursework but doable. 4.) Small class size and professors are accessible. 4.) 8-week terms which is perfect for holding my sons’ attention and interest. 5.) Accepts CLEP, DTTS, and ACE credits. 6.) Christian college but does not push their philosophy on students.  CONS: 1.) VERY INFLEXIBLE about course substitutions. (My son got closed out of most of his required classes this fall, and BC would not allow him to substitute one of THEIR OWN literature courses for the literature course that he needed.) 2.) Will not accept courses from other colleges unless they match exactly the course that they offer. 3.) They (the registrar) often lose paperwork and do not reply back quickly…At least that’s what our experience has been.”

Bryan College (Dayton, Tennessee)

Type of school:  Private 4 year regionally accredited Christian college

Delivery: On campus or online

Called:  Dual Enrollment

Assessment scores required:  Yes

Cost for out of state:  $166/credit.  TN students receive a special grant scholarship reducing tuition by 99%.

Books: additional cost

Course offerings:  selected offerings

NOTE:  Allow dual enrolled students in the study abroad program

Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia)

Type of school:  Private 4 year regionally accredited Christian college

Delivery: Online

Called:  Dual Enrollment

Assessment scores required:  No

Cost for out of state:  $182/credit.

Books: additional cost

Course offerings:  selected offerings

NOTE:  Students must be in 10th grade or higher (no age restriction)

New Mexico Junior College (Hobbs, New Mexico)

Type of school:  Public 2 year regionally accredited community college

Delivery:  on campus or online

Called: Concurrent Enrollment

Assessment scores required:  Yes

Cost for out of state:  $64 per credit (1-11 credits) $768 flat rate (12+ credits)

Books:  additional cost

Course offerings:  access to full catalog

Troy University (Troy, Alabama)

Type of school: Public 4 year regionally accredited university

Delivery: Online

Called:  Accelerate

Assessment scores required:  minimum score of 20 on the ACT, 950 on the SAT, or a recommendation letter from a high school counselor.

Cost for out of state:  $169/credit.

Books: additional cost

Course offerings:  selected offerings

NOTE:  Students must be in 10th grade or higher (no age restriction)

Oral Roberts University (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

Type of school: Private Christian 4 year regionally accredited university

Delivery:  online and on campus

Called:  ORU Advantage

Cost for out of state:  $250 per class

Books:  additional cost

Courses offered: choose from list

NOTE:  No age requirement, no entrance exams

Parent Misty G. from our Facebook group has this to say about her 12 and 14 year old daughter’s experiences:  “As far as admissions, it was so much easier and pain-free than I thought it would be! I filled out the online form (pretty short), signed a page online saying that as their homeschool administrator I think they can do it, and their admissions person called me to finish everything up. After that, we received e-mails to their registration quick-links and finished everything up there (payment, signing their honor code, etc.) Everything was completely done within a couple of days. (No outside documents needed, just their social security number.)

I highly recommend replacing an existing course with the college course, not adding to your load. Our kids are in American Gov. and Politics and the workload averages 8 hours per week (16 if you stay on the normal class schedule). I’m helping my children set up their calendars today so they stay on track. Also, this week did require a decent amount of my time to explain some college lingo and MLA.

I highly recommend replacing an existing course with the college course, not adding to your load. Our kids are in American Gov. and Politics and the workload averages 8 hours per week (16 if you stay on the normal class schedule). I’m helping my children set up their calendars today so they stay on track. Also, this week did require a decent amount of my time to explain some college lingo and MLA “

Brigham Young University

Type of school:  Private LDS 4-year regionally accredited university

Delivery:  Independent study (start/finish any time) or Concurrent Enrollment

Called:  BYU Independent Study (any age) or Concurrent Enrollment for 10th/11th gr.

Cost for out of state:  $188 per credit I.S. or $30 per credit C.E.

Books: additional cost

Courses offered:  choose from Independent Study Catalog (550 classes), while Concurrent Enrollment students choose from any BYU-Idaho courses.

Note:  AP Courses also available

Penn State University Global Campus

Type of school:  Public 4-year regionally accredited university

Delivery:  Online through World Campus or on campus at any location

Called:  Dual Enrollment (must petition for admission if under 11th grade)

Cost for out of state: $555/credit

Courses offered:  choose from a selected list, varies by semester up to 8 credits per term.

Note:  letter of recommendation, transcript, and standardized test score required.

Piedmont University

Type of school:  private Christian 4-year regionally accredited

Delivery:  online and on campus at the Winston-Salem campus in North Carolina

Called:  Dual Enrollment

Cost for out of state:  $299 per class (not per credit)

Courses offered: a selected list

Note:  admissions require ACT or SAT test score minimums and salvation testimony


Posted in Curriculum, Dual Enrollment, High School, Self-Paced Learning, Straighterline

Straighterline and my 10th Grader’s Spring Semester

Almost as an afterthought, when my 12th grader started using Straighterline this past semester, I decided to enroll my 10th grader- for just one month.  My goal was for them to share the textbook I’d just purchased for my older son.  Efficiency is always an important part of our budget.  They’d share the text, learn lessons together (mostly) and we’d assess after the first class.  (NOTE:  In our second month, Straighterline’s policy for books changed, and a free edition of an eBook was included with each course’s tuition, so we ended up not spending anything on books after the first month!)

You can read about the basics of using Straighterline in your homeschool, or how to choose your courses in my previous posts.  For this post, I just want to provide a brief overview of what my son did, what we spent, and his outcome.  As you’ll see, the first month was so successful (earning 9 college credits) that I decided to continue for the duration of the semester (Dec-May).  You should know that he dedicated about 1-2 hours per day to his Straighterline course Monday-Friday as part of his regular school schedule.  He was able to complete his other homeschool courses (Chemistry with Lab, Consumer Math, and Building Thinking Skills) during another 1-2 hours each day.

As you read the schedule, I list each course and credit earned in the month that I purchased it, not the month he completed it.  Some courses were completed in a week, others in a month, and others took longer still.  As an example, Nutrition and American Government, courses he’d already taken in homeschool, took him only 1 week each, but writing-intensive courses like English Composition I & II took him about 7 weeks each.

As I write this, he enters his final month of the school year with Straighterline and me. We take a summer vacation, so I’m ready to wrap things up with our kids by Memorial Day.  He has completed everything except Chemistry and English II.  He has 3 more papers to write for English II and hasn’t started their chemistry course.  Since he’s been doing Chemistry with Lab all school year with me, I expect Straighterline’s General Chemistry I to go smoothly and take about 2 weeks.  Writing, for him, is a long and arduous process.  I expect he’ll struggle through until the very end.

Grades:  His grades have been fine.  Straighterline requires a minimum passing score of 70% for their courses, and he’s finished most of his courses in the mid-80’s.  His best course grade was English Composition I (100%) and his lowest course grade was Introduction to Psychology (79%).  Final course grades issued by Straighterline are based only on quizzes and exams (except composition and lab courses) so testing acumen is important if you want to score well.  Since these credits will only appear as “credit” on his college transcript, the final grades aren’t important to his GPA.  While I used his Straighterline courses to inform the grade I awarded him on his high school transcript, in most cases, the grades I gave him differed slightly.  (NOTE:  Since Straighterline is not a college, you never have to disclose any grades or credits earned/not earned through them.  Dual enrollment, on the other hand, requires full disclosure on college applications)

Breakdown of Costs & Credit

Month Class Cost Discounts Applied Credits Earned
December Membership

Introduction to Religion


Business Ethics





-$20 coupon

-$20 coupon

January Membership

Cultural Anthropology

Medical Terminology

Introduction to Nutrition





February Membership

English Composition I

English Composition II




March Membership

Environmental Science

American Government

Introduction to Psychology





-$49 coupon 9
April Membership

Chemistry I

Introduction to Business




-$50 coupon 6
May Membership $99
IMG_3442 $1376

-$139 coupons



The total we spent over 6 months was: $1237

Total credits earned:  39 

Breakdown average per month:  $206/month

The average price per credit:  $32/credit

What I liked best about his semester:

  • I obviously liked that he earned college credit since he’s isn’t eligible to use dual enrollment in our state until next school year.  This gave him a great head-start.
  • I liked that the course rubric (point break down) is spelled out clearly, so, at any given time, he (I) knew exactly how many points he needed to pass the class.  This eliminated a LOT of testing anxiety because in most cases, he’d already earned enough points to pass
    the course before ever taking the proctored final exam.  While the exam is required, passing is not, so his testing anxiety wasn’t nearly as high as when he attempted (and failed) his first CLEP exam last year.
  • I like that they added free eBooks in the tuition of each course.  This helped me make sure I had the book on day 1 of each class without waiting for books to arrive.
  • I liked that I can pay for my son’s classes with Paypal.  This allowed me to use sales from books I’d sold through the College Credit Marketplace Swap Facebook group.
  • I liked Straighterline’s video lesson format.  Since a couple of their courses didn’t have the video lesson format (Microbiology and Statistics) this can also be classified as what I didn’t like!
  • I liked that my son could do all of his courses without my help (after the first one!)

What I liked least about this semester:

  • I didn’t like finding a totally different format (reading only!) in the Microbiology course.  This was a huge disappointment.  There’s a reason that course is only $25.
  • Some courses had WAY TOO MANY quizzes, or the quizzes were WAY TOO LONG.  I can think of several instances where the quizzes were over 50 questions and covered 4 or more chapters in the text.  Both my sons hated these.  Obviously, since the quizzes are open book (I make them look up every answer on every question on every open book quiz- that’s low hanging fruit people!) these took a long time.
  • This seems to contradict what I just said, but other quizzes were too short.  Nutrition, for instance, was full of 10-question quizzes.  As you can imagine, missing a few questions really makes a difference between an A and a C!  The “sweet spot” according to my teens is the 20 question quiz.  I tend to agree.
  • Written assignments are not graded by teachers, they are graded by “graders.” Graders are anonymous people who you’ll never meet, and can never have
    a conversation with.  While they attempt to give good feedback, the loop is broken because the student can’t communicate with the grader!  In one instance during English I, my son turned in a paper that was kicked back for being off-topic.  It was clearly on-topic, so we had to submit a support ticket, which escalated to a course administrator, and finally resulted in his paper being accepted and graded.  The process is clunky and frustrating when compared with the other courses that don’t have graders (tests are automatically graded instantly).
  •  My son worked fast- and you have to because you’re being
    billed $99 per month.  So, there is a constant sense of playing “beat the clock” in a course. Since we were aware of the structure ahead of time, I adjusted his homeschool schedule and was prepared to pull back on his other work if necessary, but for me, the feeling was a little inconsistent with my normal approach to courses- allowing plenty of time for marinating.  When I asked my son, he said he liked finishing courses quickly instead of spending all semester studying something……so mark this up to personal preference.
  • ProctorU.  I really, really, really don’t love ProctorU.  ProctorU is the third party webcam proctoring service that is part of each final exam.  Your teen logs in, the webcam clicks on, ProctorU opens your final and then testing begins.  Initially, I didn’t like the feeling of the webcam experience, but my kids thought this wasn’t an issue at all.  But, the issue that we had at least 3 times (between about 24 courses with 2 teens) was technical issues getting logged in.  If there is any log in trouble, they route you to tech support, but if you don’t start your exam within the 15-minute window, you have to reschedule it and pay $5.  So, as you can imagine, this is really really frustrating because you have to reschedule your test!  Finals must be scheduled 72 hours in advance (or pay a rush fee).  2 of the 3 times Straighterline covered the $5 reschedule fee for us (I didn’t ask the first time because I didn’t think to) but it’s really inconvenient when you’ve planned your homeschool schedule around taking a proctored exam.  The room has to be private, quiet, and free of things that could be used for cheating.  In our home, the room that meets these criteria is our dining room, so keep that in mind too.  One final ProctorU comment, you’ll need identification for each test.  If you don’t have a driver’s license, they’ll ask for 2 forms of ID.  My son used his passport and driver’s permit.

    EDIT TO ADD ONE MORE THING!!  I can’t believe I forgot to share this earlier when I posted, but 4 Straighterline courses are also accredited as AP Courses. These are the SAME COURSE that is in their catalog, but if you take it, you can list the AP designation on your homeschool transcript.  Courses that qualify as AP are:

  • English 1
  • Psychology
  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics

And no, you don’t have to take the AP exam to list AP on your transcript.  You CAN of course, but if you’re sure that the ACE credit offered via Straighterline will do, you don’t have to.  Some of you may want AP scores for other reasons- so that’s fine, but we skipped them.


Want to know which Straighterline classes to take and why?  Read this post.

Posted in College Admission, Dual Enrollment, High School

Predicting Credit Placement

College subjects are not treated equally. In this post, we’ll predict where your teen’s English 101 or Management CLEP should fall once they go to college.  This is important because choosing college courses for your teen to take while in high school can be a little overwhelming, and this piece of the puzzle will help you tremendously.

This list is a general guide to help you understand where your teen’s college credit accumulated in high school might fall once they go to college.  Note:  if your teen is already enrolled in college or is certain of the college they’ll attend, disregard this list and ask the college directly.  This is a guide for those 1 or more years away from enrollment.

If you want to read one of my earlier posts  about how courses become accepted for credit,  see my post on  Will it Transfer? That’s the Wrong Question

Let’s proceed as if the credit has been accepted into the college.  A typical FILTER process  looks something like this:

  1. Accepted Credit

    • All credit that has been accepted starts here.  This may include CLEP, AP, dual enrollment, or transfer credit.  Courses must be 100 level or equivalent.
  2. Degree Distribution Directive

    • In every degree, there are some directives that are vague- it may ask for “6 credits in social science” or it may be specific “3 credits Psychology and 3 credits US History.”  In every case, credit is first evaluated to see if it meets one of the directives for the degree.  Once a slot is full, credit overflows to the next filter below.
  3. General Education Elective

    • The number of general education electives vary by the college but can be as many as 30 or more.  General Education Electives are made up of courses also known as LIBERAL ARTS.  It is unusual for a non-liberal arts course to count as a General Education Elective, but this can vary by school.  Once GE Electives are full, credit overflows to the next filter below.
  4. Free / Open Electives

    • Not all colleges or degrees have openings called Free or Open Electives.  If yours does, this is a “catch-all” category that includes all overflowed credit as well as credit that was accepted by the college, but for but didn’t fill any of the requirements of the degree.  Non-liberal arts courses that don’t meet the earlier filters all overflow here.  Some degrees deliberately allow for a lot of free electives to encourage adult students to return to college.

TIPS for 4-YEAR BACHELOR OF ARTS/ SCIENCE degree seekers:  As you see in the filter process, accumulating a lot of non-liberal arts credit before you’ve selected a school or degree can be risky later – as a rule of thumb for high school students who plan to earn a 4 year degree, take no more than 1 non-liberal arts course for every 2 liberal arts courses.  This ratio will make for optimum transfer.

Tips for ASSOCIATE OF APPLIED SCIENCE degree seekers:  It’s likely that your degree will require no more than 15 general education courses.  If possible, your best bet is to no accumulate more than 6 credits in any one liberal arts category.  For instance, no more than 6 credits of history.  The majority of your degree will consist of degree-specific courses, so you don’t need a lot of liberal arts/gen eds.

Tips for ASSOCIATE OF ARTS  seekers:  Most of the AA degrees consist entirely of liberal arts courses.  As such, choose only courses from the liberal arts list.

The following subjects are usually classified as LIBERAL ARTS

Social Science
Art / Fine Art
Advanced Writing
Foreign Languages
Environmental Sciences
Mathematics / Statistics
Political Science

The following subjects are usually NOT classified as LIBERAL ARTS

Automotive / Engine / Body / Machine
Allied Health / Dental
Business / Accounting
Computer Technology
Data Processing
Engineering/Engineering Technology
Fire Science
Health Education / PE / Fitness
Health Services /  Medical Assistant
Home Economics / Culinary Arts
Library Science
Management / Business /Human Resources
Marketing / Sales / Advertising / Graphic Design
Nursing / Nursing Assistant
Operations Management
Radiologic Technology
Real Estate
Recreation / Coaching / Sport / Leisure
Rehabilitation Services / Counseling
Secretarial Science / Administrative Assistant
Social Work / Counseling
Technical Services / Repair

Student Success / Study Skills / Intro to College / Orientation

Parents who are trying to plan a full college degree can start here:  Degree Planning 101

Posted in Curriculum, Distance Learning, Dual Enrollment

The Great Books (48 UL Credits)

UPDATE:  The Western Civilization Foundation’s Courses expired with ACE on 06/2017.  These courses are currently NOT worth college credit.  If this changes, I will update the page. 

It’s not cheap*, it’s not fast, it’s not easy – but it is a homeschooling for college credit option! The Great Books program consists of eight semesters (four years) of online classes meeting 2 hours per week, September-May, discussing the reading from one of the great classics of Western civilization – Great Books – done that week.  The structure follows a typical 4-year high school set up, but you’d have to provide everything else (Math, Science, etc.)
*While researching this program, I found a FREE online open resource for K-12 Great Books study.  I don’t think it is enough to stand alone as a substitute for this program, but it certainly contains enough resources to DIY a program!  The Great Books Free Resources
The curriculum contains LOTS of reading and writing. You must be 14 to enroll, but interestingly, there is no upper age limit. No other entry requirements listed. Regarding the program, I reviewed a parent-submitted Sample Schedule and it freaked me out just a little.  My Master’s program was less work.  No, really.  I expect the majority of students in the program are also devoting a great deal of time to learning Latin.
Who will like this kind of program?  I think this program is most like Classical Conversations in approach (very classical, Latin, very academic, the Trivium approach) but without the group meeting requirement.  The online option means you can do it from anywhere it in the world that has an internet connection.  That appeals to many families, especially those that are turned off by the meeting requirements of Classical Conversations.
How many books?  Depending on the reference you check, it’s about 150.  To give you an idea of the type of books, here are the first 20 (listed chronologically on Wikipedia)
  1. HomerIliad; Odyssey
  2. The Old Testament
  3. Aeschylus – Tragedies
  4. Sophocles – Tragedies
  5. HerodotusHistories
  6. Euripides – Tragedies
  7. ThucydidesHistory of the Peloponnesian War
  8. Hippocrates – Medical Writings
  9. Aristophanes – Comedies
  10. Plato – Dialogues
  11. Aristotle – Works
  12. Epicurus – “Letter to Herodotus”; “Letter to Menoecus”
  13. EuclidElements
  14. Archimedes – Works
  15. ApolloniusConics
  16. Cicero – Works (esp. Orations; On Friendship; On Old Age; Republic; Laws; Tusculan Disputations; Offices)
  17. LucretiusOn the Nature of Things
  18. Virgil – Works (esp. Aeneid)
  19. Horace – Works (esp. Odes and Epodes; The Art of Poetry)
  20. LivyHistory of Rome
Here’s the big deal…the end result is 48 UPPER-LEVEL college credits (ACE).
Upper-level college credit is REALLY, REALLY, REALLY HARD TO GET while homeschooling in high school.  In fact, it’s the hardest type of credit to get.  (Reading The Great Books, also pretty hard.)
What can you do with 48 upper-level credits in humanities/liberal arts/religion/literature?  In theory, that credit exceeds the requirement for a major at any of The BIG 3 colleges. I have not *yet* met anyone who finished this program and submitted their credit for evaluation.  If you have, tell me about it.  Based on past behavior of the Big 3, this is the type of credit they always accept, so I put it in the “excellent” transfer-ability category when earning a Liberal Arts/ Liberal Studies / Humanities / Literature  / Religion degree.  When applying to a traditional or elite college, the likelihood of transfer is limited to small.

If you’re not interested in The Great Books as the foundation of your high school program, but like the idea of a college degree, there is an ENTIRE college degree option built around the Great Books.  Thomas Aquinas College (California) holds Regional Accreditation (the golden standard) and is very homeschool friendly.  Their degree in Liberal Arts is typically considered preparatory for graduate study in medicine, law, education, etc.

If your student studies Latin, be sure they attempt the Latin exam options for college credit.  Foreign Language for College Credit