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The Value of Taking College Courses in High School

The Value of Taking College Courses in High School

March 15, 2017

College Now LogoToday’s guest author has a unique perspective to discuss issues related to dual enrollment for high school students. She is not only a high school guidance counselor who regularly works with dual enrolled students, she is also the mother of two high school students -- one who is a current Cedarville College Now student. From her family's personal experience, she shares the value of taking college-level courses in high school, as well as what to look for when determining if your student is ready.

Like most parents, I want the best for my children to prepare them for whatever God has for their future. I desire to see each of them committed to the Lord and serving Him to the best of their ability – no matter the field. I challenge my children to do their best in everything, to discover their strengths, and to know themselves well. I have come to realize that each of my children is different. This became very obvious when conversations in our home turned to taking college during high school.

You see, I have two children that qualify for college courses under College Credit Plus. When the conversations happened with both of my children, I was looking for specific indicators of their readiness. Both of my children have a strong academic capability and produce A’s and B’s consistently on their report cards. They both desire to pursue a college degree in the future.

However, they approach academics differently. My daughter is organized, loves a challenge, and wants to push herself to the next level. My son desires to enjoy each stage of life as it comes. Consequently, when we began talking about taking college-level courses in high school, my daughter was all over the idea and my son was not as interested.

For my daughter, the value of the college-level courses is huge. Not only has she had the opportunity to broaden her perspective, she has had the opportunity to solidify what she believes spiritually. In her social studies course, she has had to write papers on various social topics showing understanding of the topic, while providing biblical evidence that counters it. That type of spiritual growth and depth of understanding does not happen until students are forced to look at differing views. The long-term effect for her faith becoming her own is priceless!

There is great value in high school students taking a college course when the student is ready and willing to put the time and effort into the courses. My daughter was ready and really loved her courses for the challenge and perspective she is learning. My son is not yet ready, as he is enjoying where he is at in life and feels challenged enough at this time. Will he be ready in the future? I am sure he will take college courses in high school before he graduates; however, it won’t be next year. 

When I meet with other students in my role as a high school guidance counselor, I am always looking for those indicators for success in each student. Do they really want to take the courses, or is it more the parents’ desire? Are they consistently turning in assignments on time already? How many hours are they working at a job and are they involved in sports? All these areas need to be considered. Teaching students how to balance activities and life is a long-term skill. Taking college-level courses in high school can help in that learning process.

There are many benefits in taking college courses during high school: savings per credit hour, reducing the number of semesters needed to graduate, providing opportunity for a double major and/or minor, boosting the students' GPA, and providing more challenging courses. All are wonderful benefits in themselves; however, for my daughter, the benefit of solidifying her faith as her own is beyond anything else. For that reason alone, I think all high school students should take a college-level course.

Kristina Baughman is a Guidance/College Prep Adviser at Christian Academy School in Sidney, Ohio.

Posted in College Now