How to Catch Up in High School Credits?

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Are you a student who is searching for ways to get more high school credits? Did you fail a course, and now you need to make it up to graduate on time? Regardless of your circumstance, you have come to the right place. As a high school student, there is nothing worse than looking at your transcript and seeing that you don’t have enough credits to graduate. Right now, you are probably flipping out, but it’s going to be okay.

There are several things that you can do to get high school credit. However, it’s all about the amount of time that you have left to get them. You should be regularly checking in with your progress and ensuring that you are on the trajectory to graduate. High school’s goal is to graduate, and if you can’t do that, something is wrong.

With this article, we will not only provide you with insight on what to do if you seem to be coming up short, but we will also give you helpful information on actually understanding what your high school credits mean.  Keep reading for more.

What are High School Credits?What are High School Credits?

Before you can understand how high school credits are earned, you must understand what high school credits are.  These credits are formally known as Carnegie Units.  One Carnegie unit is denoted by the completion of one course taken over one year.  This unit can be further broken down into an hour of instruction every day for five days.  This can also be equated to seven thousand, two hundred minutes of instruction.  Classes that only last for one semester are generally worth half credit.

Your credits are used to determine if you have met all the requirements needed to graduate from high school.  Each course is worth specific numbers of credits, and these credits are only awarded upon successful completion of the course.  Some courses can be pass or fail, whereas others require students to receive a passing grade.

These credits are then used to determine if a person is eligible for graduation. Frequently these requirements will come from the state and not merely the school.  For example, in Illinois, 16 credits are needed to graduate from high school; however, there may also be other stipulations outside of these credits mandated for graduation.   These credits can vary based on your state and are generally outlined at the beginning of a student’s tenure in high school.

How Do Credits Work?

How Do Credits Work?

Each of your high school courses will have a set number of credits associated with them.   These are the number of units that you will receive upon its successful completion. During your Freshman year of high school, you will likely receive or have received a list of graduation requirements.  This listing will often include a sample schedule of how you can structure your courses and a recommended list of classes you can take.

Each semester as you choose courses, you will need to ensure that these classes align with your total credit goal.  If you fail a class, you will need to find a way to make up these courses in the summertime or outside your traditional schedule.  There will be a minimum number of credits you will need to receive each year before being promoted to the next grade.

Credits are most often received from courses taken at your high school; however, they can also be given from various sources.

How Do You Check How Many Credits You Have in High School?

How Do You Check How Many Credits You Have in High School?

Generally, when you begin high school, the school will outline everything you need to obtain your diploma and participate in commencement.  Throughout your tenure, you will have the option to check your high school credits online or via your transcripts, depending on your school’s availability.  If you have an older copy of your transcript, you can also see what credits you had at the time of its printing and also what credits were in progress at the time.  If you passed all of the in-progress courses, you could add these classes to your credit total.

However, without a transcript or online portal, you can always calculate your own credits.  To do so, all you need to do is know what classes you have taken.  Write down all of the classes that you have taken as well as their credit values.  Once you have written down all the course and their values, add up each of the values for the courses which you have completed.  This is your total credit number.  You can then compare this number to the number of credits that you should have to determine if you are on track for graduation.

What Happens If You Don't Have Enough Credits to Graduate in High School?

What Happens If You Don’t Have Enough Credits to Graduate in High School?

If you find that you don’t have enough credits to graduate, don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t even think about dropping out. There are several options and avenues which you can explore to ensure that you receive the total number of credits needed.  This can be via summer school, or if you are closer to graduation, this can be with the completion of an extra semester.

Several circumstances may contribute to students not having enough credits.  This can be illness within themselves or with family.  They can also not meet their credit needs do to the failure of a course.  Whatever the circumstances,  you don’t have to give up on high school just yet.  With your teachers’ help, guidance counselors, and a little bit of research, you can still graduate.

9 Ways to Catch Up on Credits in High School

9 Ways to Catch Up on Credits in High School

Imagine that it’s the end of your junior year, and you’re excited to start your senior year next fall.  However, you have just been alerted that you don’t have enough credits to officially become a senior.

Never fear, the educational system has made it easy to make up for credits that you may be missing.  There is now an abundance of options that allow you to receive high school credit from your high school or in a nontraditional setting.  The options listed below are all avenues that you can explore when looking for ways to catch up on credits that you may be lacking.

1. Credit Recovery Programs

One way to ensure that you have enough credit to graduate is to utilize a credit recovery program. If you have failed a course during the year and you have time in your summer to spare, many high schools offer this as an alternative to retaking a course during the school year. It is important to remember that these courses may move faster because they have a shortened period to cover all of the material.  Theses courses also do not generally come with letter grades but instead a grade of pass or fail.  Passing the course will provide you with the credit that you are lacking.

2. Online Courses or Online Credit Recovery High School

These programs work to help you obtain any credit that you may be missing outside of your high school. Many times you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home to complete the course. These online courses can be completed at your own pace and independent of your high school calendar. If you’re attempting to learn how to get high school credits fast, this is your best option.

3. Community College Enrollment

Another excellent option for making up credits is enrolling at your local community college. Many times high school students can earn high school credits from college in a variety of courses. To determine what courses your school offers, check with your school counselor. Some colleges even offer credit recovery programs for the high school.

Many times the main courses which are offered include core classes like math or science.  Depending on the requirements needed, you may also need to pass an admission screening to get into your required course.  Enrollment may be tedious, depending on the requirements needed for registration.  There may also be a cost associated with taking the course; however, some colleges waive this fee for specific high schools. However, application fees may still need to be covered by the student.

If you are taking an equivalent college course worth three credits, it essential to remember that this course will translate into one high school credit.  Before signing up or enrolling in any course, you will need to verify that your school’s credits are transferable.

4. Consider Taking Placement Exams

If you are looking to avoid sitting in a class that you do not feel is challenging enough or in a course where you will not learn any new information, testing out of the class may be an option. Often, students who are not enthusiastic about the material or who find it boring will not put much effort into the course. This can ultimately lead to them failing.

Placement tests can be a great way to avoid falling into this rut.  Reaching out to your high school counselor or the teachers of the course you are looking to place out are two great resources for finding answers regarding your options.

5. State Programs

Depending on the state you live in, there may be options for you to utilize when in need of extra credits. Some states offer free programs that only require you to verify residency to use them. However, you must stay on top of your timeline for these courses and programs, as many may have hard deadlines.

6. Extend your high school stay a semester

If you have found that you have exhausted all options for obtaining high school credit or you need more credits than you can acquire before the required deadline, you may have no other choice but to extend your high school stay an extra semester. If you are a senior seeking to participate in commencement, this may not be your best option. Before making any rash decisions, be sure to consult with your guidance counselor as you are not the first individual to be in a tight spot.  They will likely know what options can aid you the most.

7. Communicate with teachers early

If you know that you are struggling in a course, it’s essential to not wait until after you have failed the class to ask for help. Start asking for help early, as well as seeking out tutors who can help you avoid falling and losing out on the course credit. Be sure to exhaust all of your options before you allow yourself to fail a course.  Some teachers may even work with struggling students to provide extra help or even allow them to make up assignments.

8. Attend an Alternative School

Though it is not likely that you will love this option after spending so much time in high school, for students who have been consistently slacking and failing courses, this may be your best option. Alternative schools are designed to help struggling students obtain their diplomas. Your current credits will likely transfer and aid you in completing your education.

9. Obtain Your GED

If none of these are viable options, taking the GED may be another last resort. As a student who potentially has struggled significantly to keep up with your courses, this may be an excellent way to complete your education. However, before considering this, you will need to think about how it will affect your post-graduation options.  For example, if thinking about joining the military, students who obtain their GED need to score higher on entrance exams than students with a diploma.

How to Get High School Credit Over the Summer?

How to Get High School Credit Over the Summer?

One of the most common and traditional ways to gain credit for high school courses is to attend summer school.  Though many students are reluctant to sacrifice their summers to take classes, the sacrifice is well worth it.  Enrolling in summer school at your high school or in a program sponsored by your high school is one of the easiest ways to catch up in high school credits. Depending on your school’s rules, you may also have the ability to take multiple classes if needed.

Wrapping Things Up: How to Catch Up in High School Credits

If you do not have not enough credits to graduate high school, it’s important not to feel like this is the end of the world.  There are several avenues that you can explore before calling git quits.  Before officially knowing that you have credits that need to be made up, you will need to know exactly how many credits you already have versus how many are required. This can be checked using your transcript or calculating your credits based on the classes you have taken.

If you are looking to catch up in high school credits, doing things like taking a college course or even enrolling in online high school are excellent ways to ensure that you will not only graduate on time, but it won’t interfere with your studies at your high school.

Overall, before you throw in the towel, there are several options that you can explore to gain the credits you are missing.  Depending on the options that you choose, these items can aid in popularity and even price points.  No matter what you do, there is something on this list for everyone.

If you enjoyed this post, it’s one of many where we extensively detail the best tips for succeeding in high school.

> How Many Absences are Allowed in High School?

> How to Be Successful in High School: 71 Tips

> How to Homeschool High School?

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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