There’s no doubting the fact that as a high school student, earning early college credit can help you out in the short-term. Not only will it help you get into top colleges and universities, but it can also save you a significant amount of time and money towards your college degree. Early college credit programs are also an investment in your future, however. Whether you plan to apply for graduate school or get a job after graduation, the fact that you got a jumpstart on college during your high school years will pay off long-term. Specifically, this track record of going above and beyond will speak volumes to potential employers and graduate school admissions officers alike. Here are just some of the things you can expect to come out in translation as a result of taking on both high school and college classes simultaneously:
1. You’re A Real Go-Getter
Too many students choose to take the easy route during their high school years. Think about how many of your friends choose to just skate by, earning mediocre grades or taking less challenging courses than they’re capable of. Earning college credits in high school isn’t required, so if you decide to go the extra mile to achieve these early college credits, that says a lot about you –not only as a student but also as a person and a potential employee. No matter what your goals are after high school, the fact that you went above and beyond will put a spotlight on your go-getter attitude. Graduate schools and employers look for people just like you to achieve great things in their academic programs/business propositions.
2. You Have a Good Track Record
Another thing grad schools and employers are looking for in their top candidates is predictability. Usually, school admissions officers and hiring managers don’t like to take chances on candidates who may not work out. Instead, they want the surest bet they can find. Taking early college credits is a good indication that you’re one of these sure bets. Why? Because most early college programs require that you meet certain eligibility criteria, which often includes an above-average GPA. The fact that you’re able to manage your high school courses plus college classes and keep your head above water academically is a sign to colleges and employers that you have what it takes to continue on the path to success. Essentially, your academic background positions you as a low risk, which can work in your favor when it comes to getting into a competitive college or scoring a coveted position in the corporate world.
3. You Have Excellent Time Management Skills
There are only so many hours in a day, and high school alone fills up most of those. Some students can succeed in their high school classes and take on additional college-level classes shows that they know how to make the most of the time available to them. Having excellent time management skills isn’t just impressive—it’s a necessity, especially in graduate school and in the workplace. Graduate students are required to put in numerous hours of research and writing in addition to their normal coursework, for instance. In the workplace, good time management equals high productivity, which increases a company’s profits. It’s easy to see why managing your time well is an attractive quality to potential employers and graduate school admissions officers.
4. You’re Not Afraid of a Challenge
It takes a lot of confidence for a high school student to take on college-level courses such as Advanced Placement (AP) classes or dual /concurrent enrollment courses. You’re essentially signing up for something that is above your skill level. These collegiate classes require you to stretch beyond your comfort zone and open your mind to higher-level concepts than perhaps you’re used to dealing with as a high school student. The fact that you’re willing to take up the challenge shows future employers and admissions counselors that you’re confident in your abilities and won’t shy away from a difficult task. It’s a promising indicator that you’ll be able to face additional challenges that arise in graduate school or at work.
5. You’re A Hard Worker
College credits don’t earn themselves, especially during the already-busy high school years. Mastering both high school and college-level classes at the same time proves that you have an impeccable work ethic. This is something that employers in particular find especially attractive when interviewing prospective new-hires. Graduate school admissions officers also look for a solid work ethic in a potential candidate as a sign that they’ll survive the rigors of graduate work. Whether it’s long hours poring over research or late nights at the office, earning early college credit now can prove you can work hard enough to succeed down the line.
6. You’re Goal-Oriented
Not many students willingly juggle high school and college classes unless they have their eye on the prize. It’s not something you do for the fun of it or because you like spending your Friday nights with your precalculus textbook. On the contrary, high school students who pursue early college credits usually know exactly what they’re doing and why. Their goal-oriented nature keeps them going when things get tough. This is exactly the kind of attitude admissions counselors and hiring managers like to see when interviewing potential candidates. The ability to set and achieve goals breeds a cycle of ongoing success, whether in academia or the workplace.
7. You’re Serious About Your Future
You may have heard the saying, “time is money.” It’s a popular phrase because it’s true. There’s nothing college admissions counselors or hiring managers hate more than wasted time. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for them to spend many hours interviewing candidates who obviously lack a clear plan for their futures. For many of these individuals, the process of getting a job or pursuing a degree seems like the next logical step; it’s not part of a bigger strategy for future success. Earning college credits during high school shows that you’re serious about your future, and you’ve taken the time to think things through, however. This is precisely what schools and businesses are looking for in their most successful candidates.
8. You’re Practical
Earning college credit in high school isn’t just a good idea. As these programs become more flexible and accessible for the average student, it’s become the only practical choice for college-bound students. That’s because colleges and universities offer these college credits at a drastically discounted rate for students who are still in high school. Sometimes, these students pay nothing due to their school districts picking up the tab for them. Thus, taking advantage of these cost-saving opportunities while working towards your degree shows future employers and admissions officers you’ve got a practical worldview. This can come in handy as you’re working toward a graduate degree and is indispensable in a corporate setting. Hiring managers in the business and finance sectors may take a particularly favorable view of this early college strategy.
9. You Like Learning New Things
You may think that you’re done with learning altogether when you graduate from high school or college. Think again. Whether you decide to go to grad school or enter the workforce, learning is a lifelong process either way. Graduate admissions officers and prospective employers alike want to see that you can embrace the process of learning new things, whether its an advanced academic subject or a new office technology. Taking both college and high school classes before your graduation shows that you’re an enthusiastic learner who is open to new ideas and developments both in the workplace and in the classroom.
10. You’re Self-Reliant
High school teachers have been known to coddle their students to some degree, extending deadlines for late assignments and providing extra credit opportunities to raise failing grades, for example. In college, this isn’t the case. Professors are typically more demanding. Thus, students taking college courses will be more self-reliant by necessity. In these higher-level courses, you may find yourself very much on your own. Learning to navigate such a situation is a worthwhile experience, though, especially toward the end of your high school years when you’re starting to spread your wings. Earning early college credit can help you prove to graduate schools and prospective employers that you can perform with little oversight from others. This makes you an asset in the workplace and positions you for success in the classroom as well.
Success usually does breed success, and nowhere is this more apparent than in your early college endeavors. As it turns out, starting work toward a college degree while still in high school has benefits beyond racking up college credits. In fact, it sends a powerful message about the type of person you are and increases your college admissions and job prospects long-term. It’s just one more reason to consider early college opportunities as part of your high school curriculum.
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