Ambitious high school students with an aptitude for math and technology may consider earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science before graduating high school. Several programs allow motivated teens to complete a CS degree and accelerate their education.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick overview: Through dual enrollment, AP credits, and early college high schools, some students graduate high school already holding a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
This guide covers different options for completing a CS bachelor’s degree program prior to finishing high school. We’ll look at early college programs, credit by exam, and dual enrollment opportunities to help academically gifted students earn a full computer science degree.
Dual Enrollment for CS Courses
Take college CS classes while in high school
One option for students interested in earning a CS bachelor’s degree in high school is through dual enrollment programs. These programs allow high school students to take college-level CS courses while still in high school, giving them a head start on their college education.
By taking these courses, students can gain valuable knowledge and skills in computer science, which will give them a solid foundation for their future studies and career in the field.
Credit counts for both high school and college
One of the major benefits of dual enrollment for CS courses is that the credits earned count towards both high school graduation requirements and college degree requirements. This means that students can simultaneously fulfill their high school graduation requirements while earning college credits at the same time.
It’s a win-win situation, as students save time and effort by completing two sets of requirements with a single course.
Saves time and money compared to post-high school
Another advantage of earning a CS bachelor’s degree in high school through dual enrollment is the potential for significant time and cost savings. By taking college courses while still in high school, students can potentially graduate from college earlier, which allows them to enter the workforce or pursue higher-level studies sooner.
Additionally, earning college credits while in high school can also lead to cost savings, as students may be able to graduate from college with fewer credits to complete, reducing their overall tuition expenses.
Dual enrollment for CS courses is an excellent opportunity for motivated high school students looking to get a head start on their CS education. By taking advantage of these programs, students can gain valuable knowledge and skills, earn college credits, and potentially save time and money in the long run.
So why wait until after high school to start your CS journey when you can start now?
Earning College Credit by Exam
One of the ways to earn college credit while still in high school is through exams such as the AP Computer Science and CLEP exams. These exams offer an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in specific subject areas, including computer science.
AP Computer Science and CLEP exams
The AP Computer Science exam is offered by the College Board and allows students to showcase their understanding of computer science principles and programming concepts. By earning a passing score on this exam, students can earn college credits that can be applied towards their bachelor’s degree.
Similarly, the CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) exams provide an opportunity for students to earn college credit by demonstrating their proficiency in specific subject areas.
Passing scores earn credits at many colleges
Many colleges and universities accept passing scores on the AP Computer Science and CLEP exams as a way to earn college credit. This means that students who perform well on these exams can potentially skip introductory-level computer science courses in college, allowing them to dive into more advanced coursework right from the start.
According to the College Board, over 2,000 colleges and universities across the United States accept AP exam scores for college credit. Similarly, the American Council on Education (ACE) recommends credit for a variety of CLEP exams, including computer science.
This wide acceptance of exam scores provides students with the opportunity to save time and money by earning college credit while still in high school.
Allows testing out of intro CS courses
By earning college credit through exams like the AP Computer Science and CLEP exams, students can potentially test out of introductory computer science courses in college. This not only saves time but also allows students to focus on more advanced and specialized coursework in their chosen field of study.
Testing out of introductory courses can be particularly advantageous for students who have already gained a solid foundation in computer science through high school courses, internships, or self-study.
It gives them the opportunity to take on more challenging coursework, engage in research projects, or pursue internships and job opportunities in the field.
Early and Middle College High Schools
Early and Middle College High Schools offer a unique opportunity for high school students to earn associate’s or bachelor’s degrees while still in high school. These innovative programs allow students to take college-level courses and earn college credits that can be applied towards their degree.
Earn associate’s or bachelor’s degrees
One of the main benefits of Early and Middle College High Schools is the ability for students to earn associate’s or bachelor’s degrees while still in high school. This not only gives students a head start on their college education but also allows them to save time and money in the long run.
According to a study conducted by the American Institutes for Research, students who participate in Early College High School programs are more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college compared to their peers.
Smaller, focused environments
Early and Middle College High Schools typically have smaller class sizes and a more focused learning environment. This allows students to receive individualized attention from teachers and develop closer relationships with their peers.
Research has shown that smaller class sizes can lead to higher academic achievement and increased student engagement. Students in these programs also have access to specialized resources and support services to help them succeed academically.
Mentoring and internships
Another key aspect of Early and Middle College High Schools is the emphasis on mentoring and internships. Students in these programs have the opportunity to work closely with mentors who can provide guidance and support throughout their educational journey.
Additionally, many of these schools partner with local businesses and organizations to offer internships and work-based learning experiences. This gives students the chance to gain real-world experience in their chosen field and build valuable connections that can benefit them in the future.
Online CS Bachelor’s Degree Programs
Online CS bachelor’s degree programs offer students the opportunity to earn a valuable degree from the comfort of their own homes. These programs are designed to provide high school students with the chance to start their college education early and gain a competitive edge in the field of computer science.
Complete courses remotely
One of the key advantages of online CS bachelor’s degree programs is the ability to complete courses remotely. Students can access lectures, assignments, and resources online, allowing them to study at their own pace and from any location with an internet connection.
This flexibility is particularly beneficial for high school students who may have other commitments such as extracurricular activities or part-time jobs.
Moreover, online programs often offer interactive forums and discussion boards that allow students to collaborate with their peers and engage in meaningful discussions about course material. This virtual learning environment can enhance the educational experience and provide a sense of community, despite the physical distance between students.
Flexibility for motivated students
Online CS bachelor’s degree programs provide a great deal of flexibility for motivated students. High school students who are eager to challenge themselves academically and dive deeper into the field of computer science can take advantage of this flexibility to pursue their passion.
With the ability to complete courses at their own pace, motivated students can accelerate their progress and potentially graduate earlier than their peers. This can open up a world of opportunities, including internships, job placements, or further education in the field of computer science.
Common for early college students
Online CS bachelor’s degree programs are becoming increasingly common among early college students. These programs allow high school students to earn college credits while still attending high school, giving them a head start on their higher education journey.
Many colleges and universities have recognized the value of offering online CS bachelor’s degree programs to high school students, as it helps them attract top talent and cultivate a diverse student body.
Some institutions even offer specific scholarships or financial aid opportunities for high school students enrolled in these programs.
Through a combination of dual enrollment, CLEP/AP credit, focused early college high school programs and online CS degrees, it’s possible for academically advanced students to graduate high school with a full bachelor’s degree in computer science.
These accelerated programs allow motivated teens to get a head start on their college education and launch their tech career sooner.