Jumpstart Your Community College Career with Online Classes

by A Guest Author

After 13 years of dedicated study and good citizenship, you have lots of good reasons to believe your mind, body, and soul deserve a break from books and good behavior. However, if you plan to go directly from high school to community college, you should join the wisest and most strategic among your classmates by taking some college classes online before you actually set foot in academia’s hallowed halls.

Complete “General Education” Requirements

Regardless of your major, you usually must complete two semesters of English composition and two semesters of math—either college algebra and statistics or a two-semester calculus class. Completing these classes online during high school, you enjoy the luxury of working on the assignments at your own pace and in your own time, and you often receive more personal assistance than you would in a big college class. Moreover, in the fall semester, you immediately may begin required courses in your major.

Accelerate Your Progress to Save Money

Until recently, most undergraduates have taken approximately six years to complete their degrees, and they have graduated with outstanding student loans totaling more than $27,000. In the wake of the Great Recession, however, students cannot afford the luxury of languishing on the path to a bachelor’s degree. When students combine regular classroom study with online coursework, they often can finish their degrees in three years, saving thousands of dollars and paying the majority of their tuition and fees with scholarships and grants instead of loans.

Satisfy Basic Competence Requirements

Retired San Diego State University English professor Bruce Keitel reports that in the California State University system, approximately two-thirds of all freshmen fail the English Placement Test and three-quarters fail the Entry-Level Mathematics test; he suggests these statistics probably generalize across the country. Consequently, most freshmen devote half their first semester schedules to remedial classes where they relearn skills they should have mastered in 10th grade. “If you can complete remedial courses online, you can ‘officially’ start college on-track and on schedule for your degree,” Keitel says. (Interview. 2012. July 7)

Recover From “Senioritis”

Because most college-bound seniors earn college acceptance on the strength of their 11th semester grade point averages and autumn SAT or ACT scores, they coast to graduation with electives and work-study classes. From February through August of their senior years, many students send their brains on extended tropical vacations, letting their math skills grow rusty and their study habits evaporate. More frighteningly, most freshmen enter college with 10th-grade reading comprehension skills while their textbooks measure at “readability level” 14—a four-grade discrepancy. When you take online courses, you not only keep your brain in shape but also buff it up for freshman success.

Develop Immunity to “the Freshman Blues”

Although the leading causes of freshman flunkout have little or nothing to do with intellectual prowess or basic academic skills, nevertheless your knowledge of the standards and challenges in freshman courses will temper your judgment. When you understand that your professors really do expect you to read the whole book and complete three hours homework for every one hour you spend in class, you will feel far less inclined to begin your weekend on Thursday night and stretch it out until Tuesday morning.

A Few Things to Consider

By far most importantly, make sure credits from your online classes will transfer to your “degree-granting” school. Because academic elitism still thrives at traditional four-year colleges and universities, most prestigious colleges decline credit awards for courses taken at their for-profit rivals. The more prestigious your college, the less likely it will be to accept credits from the most prominent online universities. Save yourself the hassle down the road by finding out if your online courses will transfer before you sign up for them.

Taking online college classes while in high school will better prepare you for the college experience, might speed up your time to graduation, and will definitely give you a competitive edge on your classmates.

About The Author:

Lizette Looney is a freelance blogger who writes about higher education. If you are interested in a teaching degree and want to take online classes to prepare for college, check out the top colleges for teachers online to find out if your credits will transfer.

This post was written by A Guest Author

This post was written by a guest author. If you have high quality, useful information to share with students, send us an email or click Write For Us to learn more. And in case you're wondering - yes, you can promote yourself in this fancy author byline.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: