Which Dual Credit Courses Should You Take? Recommendations by Grade

by | Mar 17, 2022

Should you take dual credit courses? Absolutely. You can save a lot of money on your college degree and hone your study skills while you have the support of your high school environment.

Which dual credit courses should you take? That will depend on your age, your motivation, and your interests.

While all dual credit courses require good time management and study skills, some courses build on the information you learned in previous courses and some don’t have any prerequisite knowledge.

Start Your Dual-Credit Coursework With College Readiness

There is one course that we recommend for anyone interested in starting a dual-credit journey: College Readiness. College Readiness is a one-credit-hour course that teaches you ways to study, manage your time, and the critical thinking skills you’ll use throughout your college-learning career.

In this course, you will understand it means when you are asked to think critically and strategically about a topic and come to your own conclusions after reviewing information. Being able to think about topics critically and strategically prepares you for the assignments you will be asked to do later in your academic career.

Most dual credit courses are aimed at juniors and seniors, but we recommend College Readiness for anyone interested in taking a dual-credit course, including first-semester sophomores and motivated freshmen. Because it’s a one-hour course, it’s easy to incorporate into your schedule while giving you an idea of the expectations for a college-level course.

Sophomores: Intro to Communication, U.S. History, American Government

One of the main reasons dual-credit courses are focused on students later in their high school career is because many courses require prior content knowledge in order to be successful. But there are some that students can jump into earlier. These courses don’t have prerequisites or are prerequisites for future courses, and the concepts are reachable, especially if you have solid study skills.

Introduction to Communication

Introduction to Communication gives you the tools to convey your ideas clearly and in a way others can understand. The assignments are a mix of essays and video submissions, helping you practice presenting your thoughts both in writing and out loud.

U.S. History I

U.S. History I and II are typically requirements for high school graduation. Taking U.S. History I as a sophomore can make it easier to include U.S. History II in your schedule later on if you want to take it.

American Government

Every student in the U.S. should understand how our government works. American Government is a great course to take alongside U.S. History I to compare the founding fathers’ plans with how those plans were implemented and changed over time. This course will help you build critical thinking skills as you study why the government is set up the way it is, what works, and what can be improved.

Juniors: Language & Composition, College Algebra, Physical Science

By your third year in high school, you’ll have significant experience with writing, math, and time management to start taking on more difficult courses. In your junior year, you’ll have the skills and content knowledge to tackle traditional first-year-college courses such as College Algebra, Language & Composition, and Physical Science.

Language & Composition

Language & Composition, also known as Comp I, gives students a structured introduction to college-level writing. The mastery assignments include both drafts and final versions of several papers so you can apply what you’re learning as you make edits.

College Algebra

Apply what you learned in Geometry and Algebra II to College Algebra and you’ll get one of the most common college courses out of the way while you are in high school. By successfully completing College Algebra as a dual-credit course, you can usually check this frequent degree requirement off your list.

Physical Science & Lab

Physical Science and Lab covers the building blocks of science, including matter, motion, and energy. It also asks you to work through several algebraic equations, so it’s great to take with or after College Algebra.

Seniors: Chemistry, Music Appreciation, Research & Composition

As a senior, you have more content knowledge and experience to draw from, and these courses will ask you to make connections and manage your time more than previous courses. You’ll likely have an idea of what you’d like to do after high school and can tailor your course choices based on that pathway.

Chemistry & Lab

With its mix of science and math, Chemistry can be a tricky course for many students. But if you successfully complete Algebra II and Physical Science, those courses will help provide the foundation for Chemistry and Chemistry Lab.

Music Appreciation

Don’t let this Fine Art fool you – Music Appreciation is one of our densest courses. It covers a lot of great music in a short course, but that also means a lot of reading, studying, and listening. While not required, it is helpful if you have some experience with the fundamentals of music, such as playing an instrument or being a part of a choir.

Research & Composition

Research & Composition is also referred to as Comp II and is often required for high school graduation. This course takes what you learned in Language & Composition and applies it to research and critical analysis. You will be doing a lot of writing, editing, and revising in this course, preparing you for what you will encounter in college.

The Core Four Bundle: A Clear Next Step

Every high school student interested in taking dual credit courses should take College Readiness. But after that, it’s easy to get into decision paralysis. That’s why we recommend the Core Four Bundle for students who aren’t sure what to take next. The bundle includes American Government, Introduction to Communication, Language & Composition, and U.S. History I. We’ve seen these four courses set students up for the most success. They are easily transferable to just about any degree program and will provide the foundation for other courses you might take later in your academic career. Plus, if you decide you want to keep going with dual credit and get your associate degree, all four of those courses are standard across those pathways.

Learn more about our associate degree pathways at our degree website, http://degrees.tellearning.org.

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