The benefits of starting college early—in high school

February 12, 2019 | The Wall Street Journal

Here’s one way to help students complete college on time, and with less debt: start earlier. As a result, some educators and policy makers are making college-level courses available to more high-school students.

Traditionally, only the most academically gifted high-school students have taken college-level classes. But growing use of dual-credit courses—college-level classes taken in high school that offer both high-school and college credit—is making that opportunity more widely available. Even high-school students who might need extra help with difficult subjects like math can now take dual-credit classes in some states. Other courses are teaching job skills that give high-school students a better idea of the career path they may ultimately choose.

“Exposure to even one dual-credit course has a positive impact on student success,” says David Troutman, an associate vice chancellor at the University of Texas System. University of Texas students who took dual-credit courses in high school were three times as likely to graduate as students who didn’t take college-credit courses in high school, according to a study by Dr. Troutman published in August. Dual-credit students in the study also had higher first-, second- and third-year GPAs.

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