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Earn college credits before high school diploma

This fall, District 206 will be experiencing a lot of changes. Alexandria Area High School will finally open its doors, elementary schools will be starting earlier, secondary schools will be starting later, and new Academic Academies will be in place.

With all change comes questions. One concern that can be put to rest is whether or not high school students will still have the opportunity to earn college credits before graduation.

The good news is that the current options in place at Jefferson High School will remain in place at AAHS. The even better news is that the new building will allow the students to have all these same opportunities without ever leaving campus.

The multiple opportunities to earn college credits within the high school setting includes College Level Exam Programs (CLEP), Project Lead The Way (PLTW) courses, dual credit, articulated credit courses, and the popular advanced placement (AP) courses.

Since 2010, JHS has increased the number of students participating in AP courses by 14 percent. Additionally, the percentage of students earning AP exam scores of three or more has increased by 2 percent. In November 2012, District 206 was one of 11 Minnesota school districts that were honored by the College Board with a place on the third annual AP District Honor Roll.

During the 2012-2013 school year, 148 students were enrolled in AP courses at JHS. Those same students accounted for 172 AP exams. AP courses are open to all students. With the new academies in place next year, AP courses can be used to meet core curriculum requirements or as global electives.

Students and families can save a significant amount of money by taking AP and other courses that provide college credits. While the AP exams cost money to take, the state of Minnesota pays a portion of the fee.

While the college credits earned in high school still depend on the post-secondary school the students decide to attend, 90 percent of four-year institutions in the United States accept AP exam scores of three or more.

Annie Harman
Annie Harman is a reporter for Echo Press and The Osakis Review. She grew up in Detroit Lakes and graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire with a degree in print journalism and history in May 2012. Follow her on Twitter at annieharman
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