Are online courses for you?

Take an online course while in high school or after to help you prepare for college, get college credit or finish up high school.

Are online courses for you?

Online degree programs

Online degree programs are the wave of the future—but they can help you in the present, too.

There are four reasons why you should consider taking online degree programs now: for college credit, dual credit, advanced placement and credit recovery.

1. College credit
You can begin earning college credit while still in high school!

Many college students are unable to complete a college degree in four years. Part of that has to do with the unavailability of courses, but there is also the problem of having to work to afford college. Taking online classes for credit now can help you lessen your course load (and price tag) in college.

Getting those freshman courses out of the way early provides you with the opportunity to take the classes that really interest you when you’re in college.

The most common place for students to take online college courses is at a local community college. And they are quite used to 16-year-olds taking courses there (with a school counselor’s approval, of course).

2. Dual credit
Another way to take online courses for credit is through an online high school. You’re not looking for just any online high school; you’ll want one like MU High School (part of the University of Missouri-Columbia) or Texas Tech University High School.

These well-known universities offer courses that provide dual credit. In other words, you get high school credit and college credit through the university. Two for the price of one!

Once you make sure that the course is acceptable to your high school, it can be a great way to complete your high school requirements and get a jump on college.

3. Advanced placement
One significant advantage for you to learn online is the ability to take courses not offered at your high school.

If you live in a mid-sized city, there are likely plenty of opportunities to take AP courses. However, if you live in rural areas, the odds decrease rapidly that a school can provide you with a full range of AP courses.

A number of states, like Alabama, have started programs to offer these courses online precisely because of the many rural districts located within their borders.

4. Credit recovery
Credit recovery is one of those terms that has been invented fairly recently. What it means is that you need to retake a class. Yes, you got one of “those” grades. But all is not lost.

Credit recovery is the most commonly cited reason for districts to offer online courses. By taking an online option, you have the ability to graduate with your class by passing the classes required to graduate.

Matthew, a student from California, needed to retake Advanced Placement English, but the only AP English teacher available was the one from whom he had already received a failing grade.

Enter the excellent program offered by the University of California’s UC College Prep Online ( Not only did they have Matt’s necessary AP English course, but a wide selection of other courses available as well.

Most experts estimate that, within a very short period of time, most high school and college students will be taking at least part of their programs online. You can drag your feet, or you can be part of the future. The choice is up to you!

Thomas Nixon, the author of Complete Guide to Online High Schools, is also the manager of two sites: and


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