College Credit in High School


College Credit in High School

There are many options to challenge youself with college-level classes and earn college credit in high school.

Students who earn college credit before they leave high school are more likely to enroll in college and persist through their first year of college. Other benefits include the opportunity to challenge yourself with rigorous classes, see yourself as a college student, and earn college credit, potentially saving time and money.


Students can earn college credit while in high school (also known as accelerated learning) in a variety of ways. Talk to a counselor or teacher to see what options are available at your school.

  • Advanced Placement (AP) – Students take classes at the high school, followed by a test that may potentially count for college placement or credit.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) – Students take a series of classes at the high school, followed by a test that may potentially count for college placement or credit.
  • Dual Credit - Students take classes at the high school that count as both high school and college credit. These may be college prep classes like Writing or Math or career prep classes like Business or Welding.
  • Direct College Enrollment - Students take college classes on campus or online that count as both high school and college credit. School districts often have programs that cover costs.



  • How might college credit affect my financial aid?

    Taking too many dual credit or direct enrolled college classes while in high school may affect how long you can receive financial aid. Therefore, choose classes that fit into your future education and/or career plans.

    College credit earned in high school may count towards:

    Federal Financial Aid Maximum Time Frame: Students can only receive federal financial aid for 150% of the number of credits or years required. For example, if a program takes two years, students can only get federal financial aid for up to three years.
    Oregon Promise 90-Credit Limit: Students can only receive the Oregon Promise grant for a total of 90 college credits.

  • How do I get a record of my college credits?

    You can order transcripts from the college(s) registrar. Some colleges charge a fee for ordering transcripts. Only students can request college transcripts, unless you have signed a waiver for someone else to do so.  

    You will need to submit all of your academic records when applying to colleges and again at the end of their senior year. This includes transcripts from the college(s) where you have taken dual credit or direct enrollment classes.

    Whenever possible, have colleges send transcripts electronically directly to the college(s). Otherwise, mail the official transcripts directly to the college in the same sealed envelope they came in.

  • How does my credit transfer?

    College credit earned in high school may transfer several different ways:

    Lower-Division: Credit transfers and may fit within a student's degree or general education requirements.
    Direct Equivalent: Credit transfers as a specific course.
          Example: Math 111 – College Algebra from Western Oregon University transfers as Math 111 – College Algebra at University of Oregon.
    Degree Requirement: Credit transfers and counts toward a course needed for a student's selected major or program.
          Example: Speech 111 – Public Speaking from Lane Community College transfers as Speech 111 – Public Speaking at Oregon State University as a direct equivalent and is part of degree requirements for a Mechanical Engineering degree.
    No Transfer: Credit can’t be transferred.

    Most Registrar or Admission Offices can answer questions about how college credit earned in high school will transfer.

Information contributed by Oregon’s dual credit coordinators.