Michael Milone, PhD
Educational Consultant, Research Psychologist, and Writer
In many cases, the courses are coordinated by the students’ high schools. A big advantage is possibly earning dual credit in high school and college for the courses. Some courses are online, others nearby campuses. In both cases, there are many benefits associated with taking college courses early. The obvious benefit is getting credit for the course in both high school and college. Another benefit is the confidence you gain, because if you do well, you will know that you can succeed in college too. The kinds of courses that you take will depend on your needs and expectations. Some high schoolers take college courses that match their interests and future plans but are not offered at their high school. You might want to take an advanced math course or study journalism. Others take courses that are required for college, and a few take courses to explore new areas of study.
There are costs associated with these courses. You and your family will probably have to pay for them. This is usually money well spent, because you can consider it an advance payment for college courses you would have to take anyway. The dual courses might also help you finish college in four years rather than longer. Students who are most successful with dual courses are usually highly motivated and have the ability to adapt their schedule to meet the expectations of the college course. If you are already overbooked with studying, sports, and activities, adding a college course probably isn’t a good idea. If it works for you, fine, but if not, enjoy high school and do the best you can.
For more advice like this, check out the "Ask the Experts" page of our Majors and Academics section.