Many high school students in the south metro area will be starting a college transcript this year — and some of them barely have their driver’s licenses.

Students are earning college credit through an expanding array of free early college options without leaving their high schools. This year, at least a third of high schools in the south metro have begun offering ways to earn college credit or increased the options they already offered.
Increasingly, providing these opportunities — called concurrent or dual enrollment because students are enrolled both at their high school and in college — is seen as a requirement, because parents and students want the chance to get started on college coursework.

For decades, high schools in Minnesota have offered Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, rigorous classes that provide college credit if students pass a test. There’s also College in the Schools (CIS), a longtime University of Minnesota program that trains high school teachers to teach classes using the same content used in university classes. Students who complete requirements and receive a certain grade may qualify for credit. A student’s future college can choose whether to accept that credit. But schools that already provide these options are adding more ways for students to get ahead, through several different models.

Read more about the programs here