Top 7 Things They Don’t Want You to Know About Taking Online Courses

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“Take a course to get ahead!” They say… but really, what’s the deal with online high school? Virtual schools are everywhere, but most people aren’t telling you the real reasons to try it.

Don’t like to wake up early? Online courses are ready when you are.

No joke. Taking online high school classes means you work when, where, and how you want. Not an early bird? Log in at noon—your English class is ready for you. Have plans tonight? Log in to get some work done when you get home—your math class is always open. Schedule flexibility is one reason so many students and families are taking their high school classes online. 

Online classes can help you graduate early.

By taking additional credits alongside your high school work, you have the opportunity to graduate early, which means more time to pursue what you love. Maybe you want to work more hours, start college sooner or maybe you’re the youngest pro tennis player ever and you need more time to practice. Take some online classes and you can work toward earning your high school diploma and graduating as soon as you’re ready.

Online does not mean working alone.

It’s not the 90s anymore—online learning doesn’t happen in an isolated underground computer lab. When you take an online high school class, you join a community of learners. You have a real teacher, there are real students to collaborate with, along with clubs and activities to take part in. This connection can feel deeper than traditional courses because in an online school much of the teaching is one-on-one, it’s all about you. 

You can boost your GPA!

Many online schools offer Advanced Placement, Honors and even dual enrollment or concurrent enrollment college-level courses, which can give your GPA the boost it needs to be competitive for college. If your local school doesn’t offer these courses, online high schools (like ASU Prep Digital) may be a way to get the weighted credit that can really help out your GPA.

On the other hand, if you’ve failed a high school course, online learning means you won’t be held back.

Everyone makes mistakes. Before online high school classes, failing a class could have meant being held back and missing out. Now, by retaking that dreaded class online, you may be able to replace the course you failed without repeating it at school.

Online learning helps students figure out how the adult world works.

Much of adult life happens online. From banking to interviews and even remote work, people today have to figure out how to use so many different systems to get through life. Students who take online classes learn how to navigate unfamiliar situations and working environments like they’re a breeze! Taking a virtual high school course means that you’ve got a jump start on adult life—it’s an online class benefit that they don’t tell you about. 

Get a head start toward college.

Want to get ahead of the competition when it comes to college admission? Start college courses while you’re still in high school. A few online high schools offer dual enrollment courses, allowing you to receive college credit from a local community college. You don’t have to drive to your local campus anymore to get the benefits. Better yet, ASU Prep Digital offers concurrent enrollment, allowing students anywhere in the world to be enrolled in both high school and Arizona State University classes at the same time. These University courses count for high school and college credit. And because ASU is a Level 1 Research University, the credits transfer anywhere. Completing these online courses will prove to any college admissions staff you’re ready for the challenge and will save you time and money when you arrive on campus with some of your courses already done.

We understand if you still have fears about taking online courses. While online learning isn’t for everyone, taking even a few virtual high school courses can help you catch up, get ahead or jump start your GPA. Educate yourself about your options and what online learning is really like.

ASU Prep Digital is one way to get there. Learn more, at



Originally published on September 7, 2017

Take The Stress Out of Freshman Year With Concurrent Enrollment

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Planning Ahead Can Pay Off, Literally.

How To Avoid Repeating Your High School Senior Year During Your Freshman Year of College

For most students, the transition from high school to college can be a scary one. And who can blame them: going to college means adopting a brand-new, independent lifestyle—one with a much heavier workload than many high schoolers are used to. What’s more, college prerequisite courses are often duplicates of AP, IB, or higher-level classes offered in high schools. With all those changes in tow, who would want to take on more than is necessary?

In his New York Times article, Tamar Lewin delves into a report by Complete College America to find that the amount of work required to obtain a four-year degree is more than most students can manage. “At most public universities, only 19 percent of full-time students earn a bachelor’s degree in four years, the report found. Even at state flagship universities — selective, research-intensive institutions — only 36 percent of full-time students complete their bachelor’s degree on time,” says Lewin.

Thankfully, technology gives us innovative ways to tackle these sort of problems. Enter concurrent enrollment. ASU Prep Digital’s concurrent enrollment option allows high school students to take college courses that earn them a two-birds-one-stone credit. Completing a concurrent enrollment class gets you closer to earning your high-school diploma and fulfills college prerequisites. In fact, you can get up to two years of college credits done before you even set foot on campus by taking concurrent enrollment courses throughout your high school career.

Here are some of the concurrent enrollment courses ASU Prep Digital offers that can give you a stress-relieving college jumpstart:

College Algebra

Knock out those math credits in high school and college. This course teaches you all you need to know about linear and quadratic functions, systems of linear equations, logarithmic and exponential functions, sequences, series, and combinatorics. What’s more, you can learn it all in the comfort of your own casa.

Communications in Business and the Professions

Thinking about getting a business degree? Get ahead of your major by taking this class. This course qualifies as an elective, so even if you aren’t sure a business degree is your calling, you can use the credit to fulfill elective prerequisites at the college of your choice.

Art in My World

Try this class if you like the sound of a creative elective. The course covers basic concepts and fundamental questions that provide insight into art. Students receive elective credit at both high school and college levels.

First Year Composition

Double up on English credits by taking this class. By completing this course, you get credit in both 12th grade English and English 101. Develop your literary skills with an in-depth look into articles, speeches, rhetoric and more.

Global History to 1500

History courses are required in both high school and college, so why not get credit for both concurrently? In Global History to 1500, you learn about the ideas, events, and people from the first civilizations to the Mongol invasions of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. You also get credit for Ancient and Medieval History in high school and social studies in college.

These are only a handful of examples. With over 60 courses to choose from, there are dozens of opportunities to earn college credit and finish your four-year degree in half the time (and double the chill). 

Download our free Course Name Cross Reference Guide to see which high school courses you can replace with ASU Prep Digital courses that will earn you double the credit in half the time.

Not to mention, getting a few credits out of the way in high school means you won’t have to pay for those courses when you get to college. Read more about how concurrent enrollment courses save time and money.

Still have questions about concurrent enrollment? Learn more about what it is and how it’s different from dual enrollment.


4 Ways High School Students Can Cut Future College Tuition Costs in Half

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If you are like many high school students today, you may be dreading the thought of paying for college. We don’t blame you. It can be a scary proposition. From navigating financial aid to the student loans that can follow you long after graduation, student debt is daunting. Fortunately, we have some good news for high school students. There are several ways to beat the system and reduce your future tuition costs while you are still in high school (possibly even cut tuition costs in half)!

How? Let’s break it down…


Bachelor degree programs require you to take a minimum of 120+ credit-hours. In-state tuition prices vary across the U.S., but the average cost per credit-hour taken at a public 4-year college is $325. At $325 per credit for 120+ credits, you are looking at about $31,200 in tuition costs, if you take only 8 semesters to complete your degree. Unfortunately, that number does not even include student fees, textbooks or living expenses and paying for out-of-state student tuition. Attending a private 4-year college will usually cost you even more.

If you’re a high school student, here are 4 things you can do now to reduce your tuition costs in the future:


Scholarships and Financial Aid

We’ll start with the one you’ve probably heard of. Apply for scholarships and financial aid. Even as a sophomore or junior in high school, you can start seeking out scholarship opportunities. We know what you’re thinking, “applying to scholarships takes forever!” Well, think about it this way. Various private scholarships set their deadlines throughout the year, so consider scholarship searching your pre-college part-time job. Let’s say it takes you 10 hours to apply for 10 different scholarships and you are selected to receive only 1 scholarship worth $1,000. That means, you just got paid at a rate of $100 per hour and you have another honor to add to your resume. It’s hard to beat that, even as a high school student working a low wage job.

Financial aid can feel like a pain to apply for, but it’s an important step. To be considered for federal financial aid, you must file your FASFA before the priority deadline.

AP Exams

Yep, AP exams are more than just a way to boost your GPA! They are also one path to reducing your future tuition costs. How does it work? Anyone can test out of introductory college classes by taking AP exams while in high school. Each AP exam will cost a minimum of $94 in the U.S. (and $123 outside of the U.S.), though your school may charge a higher fee to cover their proctoring and administration costs.

Things to know about AP exams:

The AP program was designed to prepare students to be successful in college. That is why taking AP courses looks good on transcripts for college applications.

You do not have to take AP classes to take the AP exams. You can find exam preparation study guides, books, and other resources available for purchase online.

AP credit transfer policies are different at each university and can even differ among program departments. Some schools, such as Brown University and Dartmouth College, will allow you to skip introductory courses in exchange for AP credit, but will not count your AP credits towards your 120+ credits required for graduation. According to a 2013 survey by the College Board, 68% of transfer policies give AP course credit for an exam score of 3 or better. Be sure to check whether your AP credits will count towards your degree before you consider AP exams as a way to save on college tuition.

Important to note: transferring into a 4-year college with AP credits does not guarantee that you will save money by graduating sooner. Research has shown that students who take AP exams are more likely to finish college on time (in four years instead of taking longer) than their peers who did not take the exams. If you graduate in four years (instead of 4+ years), you will save money by avoiding additional semesters of tuition.

Whereas AP exams might not save you time in college, they can help you skip some of the large lecture introductory courses. They may also create the room in your schedule to switch to a different major or to participate in a study abroad program.

Dual Enrollment Courses

Another option is to take dual enrollment credits that count towards your high school diploma and your bachelor’s degree. Dual enrollment credits are often available through your local community college, which will charge you a set amount per credit-hour taken. Community college prices vary from state to state and range from $52 per credit-hour (CA) to $291 per credit-hour (NH).

Now, let’s say you’re a high school student who plans on attending a public 4-year college after graduation. If you take 30 dual enrollment credits at $86 per credit-hour, you could potentially save $278 per dual enrollment credit hour that you transfer to a 4-year public college (a total of $8,340 saved).

A few things to keep in mind:

Dual enrollment classes are often held at the community college campus, but in some cases, they may be taught at your high school.

Dual enrollment programs can sometimes over promise, saying that students can get a jump-start on college by transferring up to two years’ worth of credits. However, not all 4-year colleges accept all community college dual enrollment credits. Some 4-year college programs will allow you to transfer the credits, but will not count them toward your required 120+ for graduation. Check the transfer policies of your desired 4-year college before you decide if dual enrollment is right for you.

Dual enrollment programs will save you more or less depending on the state you live in. For example, two years of dual enrollment credits transferred to an AZ public university will save a student approximately $16,680 in college tuition.  For states such as Nevada, Florida, and Kansas, two years of dual enrollment courses will save between $2,000 to $4,000.

If you plan on including your dual enrollment classes in your college application, it is important to earn good grades. However, remember that the grades you earn in dual enrollment classes will not count towards your GPA at the 4-year college.

Many students find that transitioning to a 4-year college from high school or community college is a challenging experience. If you choose to take all your “easy” college classes as dual enrollment courses while you are in high school, you will not be able to count on these courses to help pad your GPA at the 4-year college. As a result, your transition to the 4-year college may be more difficult especially if you start your 1st semester by taking mostly junior level courses.

Concurrent Enrollment Courses

Still paying attention? Good, because you’ll want to hear about this one. There are programs available now that provide high school students with the opportunity to take concurrent enrollment courses. This is a relatively new concept, pioneered by ASU Prep Digital, which allows students to take college courses online (on their own schedule) while they’re still in high school. How is it different from dual enrollment? Since concurrent courses are offered through a 4-year college or university, the concurrent enrollment credits you earn will be directly counted toward your bachelor’s degree. Not to mention, you can take these courses online. No more driving to your local community college. 

Things to know:

If after graduating high school you decide to attend a different 4-year college, transferring your concurrent enrollment credits will be a breeze. If your concurrent enrollment credits were taken at a top research (aka Research #1 or R1) university, such as ASU, your credits will transfer nearly anywhere. Therefore, you will not have to worry about whether these credits will transfer (like you do with dual enrollment credits) with you to another university.

ASU Prep Digital offers online concurrent enrollment courses for $600 per class (divided, this is just $200 per credit-hour). Compared to ASU (and other universities) tuition costs, which depend on your program of study, you can save between $210 and $245 per credit-hour by taking concurrent enrollment courses. Four semesters of concurrent enrollment credits can save an ASU student as much as $9,360 in tuition costs alone.

If you are able to fit a full 120+ credit-hours of concurrent enrollment courses into your high school years, you could save up to $18,720 at ASU, by spending $24,000 instead of the $42,720 you would spend on 8 semesters of tuition (that will cut your tuition nearly in half!)

Taking concurrent enrollment classes can save you money on college tuition if the program offers the courses for a reduced tuition price. Even if the concurrent enrollment program does not offer reduced tuition prices, taking concurrent enrollment courses may still save you money in the long run by: (1) accelerating your time to graduation, (2) getting you into the workforce faster, and (3) allowing you to absorb fewer tuition increases.

To learn more about concurrent enrollment and how you can take courses like these online, visit

Is Your High School Student Ready To Take College Classes?

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4 questions parents should ask themselves before enrolling their high school student in college classes.

Today, students have more opportunities than ever before. Including taking college courses while they are still in high school. This could be a great option for many students, especially those who are interested in earning college credits or those students who are already excelling in their high school courses. If you’re considering enrolling your high school student in college courses you might be wondering if they’re ready for the academic rigor of a college-level class. How can you tell? Unfortunately, there is no way to KNOW your child will be successful, but there are definite indicators that your child is probably ready to give it a try. 

Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to help assess whether your son or daughter is equipped to take college-level courses while still in high school:

  1. Is your child comfortable communicating with others in different environments?

If enrolled in a college-level course, your child will need to feel comfortable communicating with adults and classmates of varying ages. Is your child capable of communicating his/her needs with other adults and professors without your involvement? Your child’s level of emotional intelligence and social intelligence will usually outweigh his/her actual IQ when it comes to being successful in a college class.

  1. Does your child love to learn and pursue academic knowledge?

Is your child longing for more enrichment in an academic environment? There is a good chance that your child may be ready for college classes if he/she is the one asking you to enroll him/her. Your child should have a natural inquisitiveness that seeks knowledge and understanding at higher levels. 

  1. What drives your child to succeed?

Is your student intrinsically motivated? Meaning, can they be self-motivated. This may not be a trait that they already possess, but is one that they will have to learn to be successful in any college course (now or later). The reality is, students will need to take responsibility for themselves to learn and be successful. Is your child currently excelling academically and self-motivated? If so, they will likely already be successful at the next level. If they don’t yet, don’t be discouraged. Trying a college course now is a great way to introduce them to this idea before they have to dive in after high school graduation. Studies show that, students who take college courses while they are still in high school actually perform better in college. 

  1. Has your child established his/her own academic goals?

When considering early enrollment in college, it is important to determine academic goals. Of course, as a high school student, your child may not have chosen a major yet. But, like anything else in life, it always helps to set a specific intention. For example, talk to them about “why” they want to take a college course. What is their end-goal? Perhaps its to earn credits to help save time and money in their first year of college? Or to boost their GPA or even to graduate high school early? The rigors of college curriculum can take a toll when a student has no goal, but having a purpose in mind can help keep them focused. Remember, college classes will likely require more study time than high school level classes. The sacrifice of their time now will be worth it later, but they should feel that way too. 

Taking college classes while still in high school can be a great option for all different types of students. As a parent, it’s important that you can support your student along the way. 

Do you have more questions about taking college courses in high school? Check out a few more of our blog posts, like this one on the difference between concurrent enrollment and dual enrollment