Some are simply not prepared for the rigors of a college program, and others may not be prepared to be in an environment that does not have teachers babying them about turning in assignments on time and staying on schedule. You understandably want your child to be as well-prepared for the college experience as possible, and each of these options can be effective preparatory steps for your child.
Advanced Placement Courses
Many high schools offer advanced placement or IB courses in a wide range of subjects. These are courses that are taught at a college level and that generally assume that the teen can stay on track with a syllabus without needing constant oversight from a teacher. At the end of the course, students may sign up to take an optional test. Their grade on this test will determine if they can earn college credit for the course.
Some high school students who take a significant number of AP or IB courses may graduate high school with their entire freshman year of courses taken care of. More than that, these students may be well-prepared to make the transition to a true college environment.
Dual Credit Courses
Another program that is available through some high schools is a dual credit program. With this type of program, students can enroll in actually college classes that satisfy high school requirements while also earning college hours for the students. These courses are typically available through a local community college, and the courses may be held on the high school campus or at the community college.
Because these are actual college courses, students get the actual college experience. By taking one or two of these courses at the same time, high schoolers may be able to adjust slowly to the college experience without getting overwhelmed with a full load of college courses.
Online Homeschool Programs
Homeschooled students are seemingly at a disadvantage in this area in comparison to students who are enrolled in a public or private school program. However, there are some excellent online homeschooling programs available in different states that could offer students similar experiences and opportunities. If your teen is homeschooled, explore the opportunities in your state as early as possible so that your child can take full advantage of any programs that are available.
Many colleges host educational programs that your student can enroll in. These are usually available for juniors and seniors, but some programs are available for younger ages. The experiences vary, and some let high school students stay in a college dorm for at least several weeks over the summer. They may even allow students the opportunity to attend a few college courses and to earn credit.
Students may enroll in a program close to home and remain at home during the evening hours, or they may enroll in a program in another city or state. This can be a fully-immersive experience for college students to enjoy.
As you can see, one of the best ways to prepare students for the college experience is to give them exposure to it in small doses in their high school years. Each of these program ideas offer a different learning experience, and many also offer the opportunity for students to earn real college credit hours.
Your teen may be well-prepared for college and may even reduce the number of semesters that he or she must attend to earn a college degree. If you are concerned about your child’s ability to make the transition to college easily and successfully, encourage your teen to take advantage of some of these transition programs.