One of the wonderful things about working with students is no two of them are exactly alike. Different goals, different interests, different strengths. When it comes to earning college credit in high school, different programs work better for different students.
While AP and dual credit courses work for some, not all students need those exact courses or structures. That’s where courses-on-demand fit in.
Courses-on-demand are stand-alone courses that can provide college credit or certifications when completed successfully but don’t necessarily fulfill a high school requirement. Like dual credit and AP courses, some courses-on-demand can provide affordable options for college credit but, unlike with dual credit or AP programs, these courses don’t have to be preselected by the high school. The student simply selects the course that they want to take and enrolls.
From free courses that simply enhance the student’s knowledge base to rigorous college-level courses that help the student earn college credit, there are a lot of options for students to continue their education through courses on demand.
Sites like Udemy and free versions of courses on Coursera provide opportunities for students to learn more about a topic with little to no investment. This is a great option for students who are passionate about a topic and want to learn more than their traditional high school courses provide. On the flip side, it’s also a low-risk way for a student to determine if they want to pursue an area of study for four years.
These types of courses may provide the student with a certificate of completion that is good for LinkedIn profiles and to show potential employers that a student is proactive, but they typically don’t provide transferable college credit.
Some students might be focused on a technical career or want to get a head start on some of the material they might see in a potential work project. For these students, there are several options for earning certifications. Many programs, such as LinkedIn Learning, provide the training to help a student prepare for a test on a certain platform or programming language. Organizations such as Google provide certifications for their platforms, such as IT Support and Data Analytics.
Some certifications, such as HubSpot’s Content Marketing certification, are free. Others come with a cost, but that cost is a lot less than any degree program. Earning a certification can help a student be prepared for a job, which might be all they are looking for. Certifications, though, don’t translate into college credit.
Students often take similar courses in high school and college. For students who don’t take those courses for dual credit, there is still a way to earn credit for that knowledge. College-Level Examination Program, or CLEP, is developed by The College Board, the same organization behind the AP exams. CLEP exams help students earn college credit by passing exams that test their knowledge in a certain area, thereby passing an equivalent course at a college. CLEP exams can be a good way for students to test out of a subject they are strong in. Just keep in mind that not all colleges accept CLEP credit, and some colleges accept some of the exams but not all of them.
For students who are looking to lower their costs for a traditional college education, look for courses that have a transcribing college or university associated with the course. These courses on demand will be similar to a traditional online college course in rigor and curriculum, and when completed successfully, the student will have a transcript they can take to that college or another institution to continue their academic career. These courses, such as the ones provided by TEL Education, should be more affordable than traditional college credit, and once a student passes the course, there are no further exams to take in order to earn the credit.
There are a number of opportunities for your students to continue learning outside of their traditional high school classes. Depending on their goals – building knowledge, earning certifications, or lowering the cost of their college education – you can help your students decide the best route for them to take.