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I would like to get a head start into college. During the summer, should I take a few General Education (GE) classes or the ones that are related to my major?

#college-major #college #college-admissions #major

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Carmen ! I agree with the previous answer, I would advise against paying for college credits at the university you are attending because they can be expensive. If you do have to take any summer course I would first check out a community college (cc) and then see if the course can be transferred-usually the department you are taking the course for can tell you. Aside from that, there are courses in high school you can enroll in; I took English Composition 1 and 2 as a senior through my cc. My English teacher taught the course, I did pay 300 dollars because it was a college class but once again offered through a community college therefore cheaper. There are also EOF programs you can apply for through the FAFSA which I believe does a 6 week early introduction for incoming college students. I would inquire more about that too! Overall, I think it's fine to wait as well, but if you do want to, then maybe begin with general education classes. I only say this because prerequisites for major classes are important and if many are taken at a cc, it can be frowned up by graduate programs in the future if you choose to apply. It isn't bad per se but I know from applying to medical school that for prereqs like chemistry or biology, one or two is ok but if you begin to take more at a cc it may raise questions as to why? Just some things to keep in mind and a little piece of advice. I hope this helps!

I wish you the best future undergrad!
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Yasemin. I will consider CC general ed classes! Carmen L.
Thank you comment icon You're welcome! Yasemin G.
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Lisa’s Answer

Hi Carmen!

The quick answer is- it depends!

Assuming you’re in HS, it depends on your current grade in HS, for example, and the courses you have taken to meet your college requirements (A-G) AND graduation requirements (they are not always the same). So, please check with your high school counselor to ensure you’re on track for both.

Secondly, if you are planning to or are taking AP/IB courses and exams in HS, you will be on track for gaining college credits. So, be sure to check with your HS counselor first to avoid taking classes you don’t need this summer.

You may also need your HS counselor’s permission to enroll in college courses if you plan to use those same college credits to fulfill your HS graduation requirements as well.

If you have cleared everything with your HS and counselor, then, yes, you can either take GEs at a local community college or university OR you can enroll in a university/ college summer program that gives you research and college courses at the same time. The latter experience may be offered through a top tiered university like Harvard, Stanford or Berkeley or via a community college (I.e., a bridge or upward bound program) if available. Summer programs may be pricey but many schools may offer to cover some of your costs for attending.

These summer program opportunities may provide a more guided path into college, be based on your intended college major, and offer tons of experience and activities to better prepare you for college (including travel and research experience).

So talk with your HS counselor first to ensure you’re taking the right GEs, if approved, and then look around for local and National summer programs as well. Always discuss with your counselor and parents/ adults in your life.

Finally, If you are also planning to take the SAT/ACT you may also want to stay away from College Core courses like Math, English and Sciences. Instead, check with your counselor about taking humanities, history, government, computer and some social and behavioral sciences. You may also consider doing a SAT/ACT test-prep program in the summer if you will be applying to universities that are not test-blind or test optional. Or enroll in a college essay writing workshop, if needed.

In any case, and whatever you end up doing, do enjoy your summer and I hope you do something you are seriously passionate about.

I hope this helps!
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Lisa! Carmen L.
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RAVI’s Answer

It is commendable that you are planning to get a head start.

If you have the ability take AP/IB courses in your high school take them as help get credits at college level, waive some key course etc.
Keep the courses in general education/core courses that apply in most colleges. But it won't hurt to take classes in your major also.

AP/IB courses in MATH, Second Language (Spanish/French etc), Social studies, Physics, Chemistry, Biology courses etc. you not only advanced knowledge and prep you for college, it will also help prep you to get waivers and additional credits in college on the core requirements.

You can also take classes at your community college. They are usually honored in your state colleges and universities. But they may not be honored in private colleges or out of state colleges.

Depending on which university you are planning to apply, reach out the respective admission department and ask specifics of the courses and credits they will apply both from your high school and community college.

Some of the high schools let you take limited number of community college classes for few gifted students instead of the classes at the high school, and they are free. Depends on your school, CC, and state guidelines. Check them out.

Even while you are in your college, many colleges let you take some core courses in the CC, particularly during summer months that will help you save a lot of money and help you graduate earlier.

My daughter did take advantage of all of the above and graduated early. Saved a lot of money in the bargain as well.

Best wishes to you!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, RAVI! Carmen L.
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Safwan’s Answer

I absolutely recommend taking summer classes like chemistry, calculus, or an english class as those are general education classes in college that most freshmen have to suffer through. It'll save you time and effort to take those classes and get through them early.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for your advice, Safwan! Carmen L.
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Naomi’s Answer

You will need to complete pre-requisites likely before you can take courses related to your major. If you are getting a head start, you might think about taking them at a community college which is likely cheaper than a 4 year college/university. You can transfer the credits when you start at your school of choice.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Naomi! That helps a lot. Carmen L.
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