As a motivated high school student working to get into a top college, you may be thinking about how many AP classes you can take. After all, colleges are often impressed with students who already have college credit before admission, as it shows drive and the ability to succeed in college. However, earning college credit through an AP course may not be the best option, or an option at all for some high school students. Online college credit, on the other hand, is available to everyone.
Why online college credit for high school applicants?
Reduced costs – While you’ll have to a pay a bit of money for online college credit, it may be less than you would have had to pay to take an AP test or attend a community college.
Higher chance of credit – Taking an AP course does not guarantee you college credit. Taking the test doesn’t even guarantee the credit. You usually need to score a 4 or a 5 to receive college credit from an AP test, and even then, a college may not accept the credit. If you receive online college credit, however, you have the credit; it’s just a question of whether it will transfer to the college you end up attending.
Demonstrated interest – Your Interest Quotient can matter on college applications, and by taking a course through a school you’re interested in, it can raise your IQ. Doing well in such a course will also impress those reviewing your applications.
Increased opportunities – While AP classes can be intense, their subject matter can be a bit general. After all, the AP test is designed to test your knowledge for an introductory college course. Online college classes, however, give you the opportunity to dive deep into a sub-topic, or into a specialized subject. Furthermore, earning online college credit gives you flexibility, which is much needed for busy high school students. You can often take the classes and complete the work at any time (within a certain time frame).
Where to find the best classes
Ivy League colleges
Many colleges offer online classes, including Ivy Leagues. Earning online college credit from an Ivy League may go much further on a college application than AP credit or community college credit. Make sure you distinguish between college classes for credit and open-sourced ones though. This will be true for any online college classes you look at, but Ivy League colleges in particular tend to offer more online classes for free, which are usually not available for credit.
If you have strong interest in a particular field, finding professors who are well-known in that field and taking online courses by them can go far on your application. Your ability to demonstrate a clear vision for your future, along with interest in that field or college will impress college admissions offices. Furthermore, if you decide to apply to the college that professor teaches at, you’ll be able to talk about him or her in a more in-depth manner during a college interview.
For students interested in a particular college, call or visit their website to see if they offer any online classes for credit. Sometimes it’s only available to currently enrolled students, but even if you can’t take the class, the college may take note of your interest. Also know that an online college credit may not be offered through the college’s website, but it might be offered through a course website like Coursera.