PRINT ARTICLE

Print    Close This Window
Taking College Classes in High School: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Advantages to doing this are saving time and cutting costs while getting a significant head start on a college career. Students taking the full amount of college credits while still in high school could conceivably earn a four-year degree in two or three years.

And the college courses can also provide early exposure to potential career paths.

Overall, we are pleased with the increased number of college-ready students taking advantage of these programs. In 2014, more than 100 of our students earned over 1,000 college credits.

But the available programs merit a thorough investigation of all the details, as they aren't for everyone.

Here's a brief description of what's available to Ohio students.

College Credit Plus
Within this program, students are concurrently enrolled in college and high school courses, whether taken on the high school campus or at a community college or university. Any student in grades 7-12 in Ohio can apply for the program, and the college makes the decision if he or she is college-ready for the classes selected.

In my opinion, this program has its plusses and minuses. Thanks to the Ohio Department of Higher Education, it's free to the student and the costs are deducted from the student's school district of residence. There's no tuition fee and even books are free. Students can take as many credits as they are approved to take.

The downside, however, is the high school student is on a college campus as a college student, with all the social implications that he or she might not be ready for. And there is significant risk as well, because whatever grades the student receives in these classes will be on his or her permanent college transcript. So if the student struggles and fails a class, it will never go away.

CVCC does not participate in this program.

Career Tech
This option has been around for the past 23 years and is based on local articulation agreements between career technical schools and college partners. Students can earn up to 20 college credits and also build skills in areas like engineering, health, information technology, biotechnology and business at any one of two-dozen participating colleges. An advantage to this opportunity is that credit is earned when the student demonstrates proficiency at the end of the course. If the student does poorly, the class does not appear on his or her college record. That student just won't earn credit for the class.

The only downside to this program is that students can only use the credit at the colleges where they take the courses. But as educators, we realize there's an upside to the downside, as colleges often utilize the program as a recruiting tool.

For instance, Cleveland State University is known for welcoming engineering students into its program through Career Tech. We see it as a symbiotic relationship in which the colleges and students at CVCC both benefit.

CT2 (Career-Technical Credit Transfer)
This up-and-coming initiative awards college credit for technical knowledge and skills in equivalent courses/programs based on recognized industry standards.

Also a significant time- and money-saving program, students are eligible to have technical credits transfer to public colleges and universities without unnecessary duplication or institutional barriers.

For instance, if a student at CVCC took English 101, it might be the equivalent to English 1100 at Tri-C. The system applies to students moving from Ohio secondary and adult career technical institutions to Ohio public institutions of higher education.

There are many programs to choose from, including:
  • Automotive Technology
  • Basic Police Officer
  • Culinary and Food Service Management
  • EMT
  • Education
  • Electrical Engineering Technology
  • Fire Science
  • HVAC/R Technology
  • Information Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Medical Assisting
  • Practical Nursing
The bottom line is, while there are several ways in which college credits can be earned while still in high school, the benefits of saving time and money later on make these excellent opportunities for students and their parents.

By Joseph Dannemiller, Executive Director, CVCC
Posted on mimivanderhaven.com

For information on any of these three programs, visit Education.Ohio.gov/Topics/Career-Tech/College-Tech-Prep, or OhioHigherEd.org/students/prepare-for-college/planning/start-college-early/ct2, or OhioHigherEd.org/ccp/faqs.