Community College- the College Before College

The popular route that most people take is to jump into a university or technical school right out of high school. But wouldn’t it be easier to get a head start? Community colleges have gotten a lot of bad rap due to their lower standards as compared to most universities, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking some of the basics to help you get your two-year degree. Not only is it cheaper, as most community colleges offer lower tuition rates to state residents, but it’s also easier to get adjusted to taking college courses because of the lower standards they set on their students. Not only that, it doesn’t look very pretty on your resume or job application when you have under education “homeschooled”. It helps to have a school to put there.

Many community colleges offer dual enrollment to high school students, allowing them to take transferrable college courses before finishing high school. In fact, students have been able to finish their first two years before even finishing high school. That’s two years of college that you don’t even have to pay for! Textbooks are a possible exception, though. Plus, any college credits you get will count towards any high school credits you have yet take as long as that course can be applied to a high school course. Here, I’m going to outline any courses (along with their respective course codes) that you can take that can be substituted for high school credits.

Communications 1/Communications 2. These can be substituted for any of your English credits.

College Algebra. Satisfies the algebra requirement for math. It’s also an essential component to any math courses you will take in college such as statistics, trigonomentry, and calculus.

U.S. History. Whether it goes over history before or after the industrial revolution, this will cover the U.S. History requirement for social studies.

American National Government. Satisfies the government/civics requirement.

Macroeconomics. Satisfies the economics requirement.

Fundamentals of Biology. Satisfies the biological/life science requirement. Note that this is a non-major course, meaning that if you’re majoring in a science degree that requires biology, this will not satisfy that requirement. Instead, you may want to take General Biology.

College Chemistry. You could take any other course that satisfies the physical science requirement instead, such as astronomy, zoology, meteorology or geology, but taking chemistry just means that you don’t have to take it at home. I wouldn’t recommend taking College Physics and it would probably be best to take it at the high school level first if you ever plan on taking it in college.

Health Analysis and Improvement. Basically a physical education course, which satisfies the high school requirement (or at least part of it).

Secondary Languages. Collectively speaking, of course. Colleges typically offer more language courses than high schools, so if you’re a nerd and want to take Japanese as your secondary language, then go for it.

High school credit requirements vary between each state and course requirements for your A.A. are different for each community college, so be sure to look into that before deciding which courses you’re going to take. If you were going to public school, you would normally talk with your high school guidance counselor before doing dual enrollment, but since their job is to ensure the success of their school, they typically discourage students from taking this route and have them take AP courses instead; that’s assuming the student is qualified to take AP courses.

Since you’re homeschooled, you can avoid the annoyance of having to go through the school board to apply for dual enrollment. Also, most of the disadvantages that arise out of dual enrollment hardly apply to homeschoolers. And even if you’re not still in high school, it’s still one of the most economical of decisions you can make because college can be expensive.

Be sure to check the laws and requirements of your state for dual enrolling in a community college and what you must do to become eligible. Also, as a warning, don’t take any of the courses mentioned above online unless if you’re absolutely comfortable with the topic. Most online courses teach straight out of the textbook with very little instruction, making it much more difficult to take than in a classroom environment.