Taking College Classes in High School
Archived Q&A and Reviews
- High school sophomore wants to take a college class over the summer
- Concurrent Enrollment in BHS & Berkeley Community College
- Taking college-level math in high school
- Enrolling in college courses concurrently with BHS
- 8th grader taking math at Vista
- Taking college classes concurrently with high school
Our BHS student, a sophomore, is thinking about taking a class at Berkeley City College in the summer. Does anyone have experience with this? We're wondering how many classes are offered in the summer (chemistry is a subject of interest), whether it's hard to get into them and just how it works for a high schooler to be in the BCC environment. Our student is mature and motivated--is BCC a welcoming place for high school kids? Thanks for any info! BHS parent
You should be aware that basic classes at community colleges are often at an easier level than the corresponding classes in high school. For example, a student who did not take or do well in Chemistry in high school may need an easier course, not a more demanding one. Anon
My daughter (10th grade) took ASL at BCC, two evenings a week. The ages of the students in her class were quite diverse. College-aged kids to older adults and everyone was very kind to her. She had no problems. BCC won't take students younger than 10th grade. Check the BCC website for the summer course catalogue when it comes out. High school students have a later class enrollment date than everyone else, so are somewhat disadvantaged in getting the classes they want. Be ready to register on the first day summer registration is open to high school students. You will need a completed ''Concurrent Enrollment Form'' from BHS before you can register for a class at BCC.
So, 1) register at BCC on-line; 2) when the summer course schedule is available, figure out what class you want; 3) download the Concurrent Enrollment Form and fill it out 4) take it to BHS counsellor to sign; 5) bring completed Concurrent Enrollment Form and registration info (ID number) and BHS ID to the BCC office on the first day HS students can enroll in classes.
Also, your student may have to take placement tests in math and/or English depending on the class desired, and I'm pretty sure these placement tests need to be completed before enrollment. Lots of info on BCC site, but this is a multi-step process. Good luck! Good experience at BCC
Generally BCC classes are much less rigorous than BHS classes, so he shouldn't take a class that is a prerequisite for a BHS class (i.e. math or foreign langauge). Since chem is a stand-alone class that would probably work out. anon
My daughter will be entering Berkeley High School in the fall. She needs to take ASL at Berkeley Community College. In order to register, she needs a concurrent enrollment form signed by BHS. BHS says they do not sign concurrent enrollment forms for students still in middle school. The BCC class begins BEFORE BHS begins - never mind it will be full long before then. Has anyone figured out how to get their student concurrently enrolled in her/his 9th grade year? Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Frustrated mom
I suggest that you politely ask berkeley high registrar, or other appropriate soul, ''at what point does the school district consider a student to be actually enrolled at bhs?''. Or alternatively, ''at what point is a student, who will go to bhs, no longer considered a middle school student?''. That will give you your target date and will provide them with a better concrete structure for answering your question. Be sympathetic to their conundrum., or you will get no where. Also, it may be of assistance if you explain to them why your student ''must'' take american sign language in her freshman year and why at berkeley city college. I imagine you have very good reasons for both these points. So provide the school with the information in a logical and professional and patient manner, and you are likely to get as reasonable a response as possible. There may also be s solution at the berkeley city college side of the issue, too. Remember to breath, say thank you. And then if you get no where, elevate ....politely Bhs parent
Dear frustrated mom, We were in a similar situation 4 years ago, and were told that the child cannot enroll before 10th grade, and needs the high-school principal's approval. You can try appealing to the Peralta Colleges administration. Good Luck
Hi. I'm looking for advice from parents of children who have taken college-level math in high school. Would you be willing to share your experiences with me? Please contact me off list. Thank you in advance. J.
If your child is ready for advanced courses have them take the classes through UC Berkeley, not community college or online because the content is not as advanced as high school honors math. The other alternative, which I think is better for most gifted students, is to join a math team/math circle where you get to do interesting problem solving. With a good leader the mathematics the students engage in takes them through some advanced topics like number theory, proof, combinatorics, and topology. If your student is likely to be a math/physics major in college it is much better to engage in deep mathematics, than have classes on a transcript. If your student is at BHS there is a math team that has done very well in competitions. If K exists, then?
We have a child who will be starting 9th grade in the Fall and may be starting Berkeley High. She's academically advanced and some of her teachers say that she's ready for college work. We've already looked on line at the UCB extension and concurrent enrollment web site (which basically says talk to your high school counselor). Does anyone have experience with having their child registered at BHS and taking college courses at UCB extension or Berkeley City College? How does one go about doing that? Is there anyone we can contact directly about possibly enrolling a high school freshman? Thanks! M.
A few thoughts on concurrent enrollment, at UC as a high school student, which my son has done.
* Exactly what are you trying to accomplish here? Is it the education or the prestige? Are you sure that an AP course at BHS would not be sufficient. (although you daughter might feel more at ease with college kids than seniors at BHS and getting into the right AP might also be an issue.)
* To put it another way, the transition to high school is already a big enough transition. For my own child I would not have him or her stressing about a college course while adjusting to high school. For a freshman, one big transition is enough.
* There are a lot of smart, hard-working kids at Berkeley High and Oakland Tech, for example, some of whom top out in math and have to go outside to get more advanced Math, but this does not sound like your issue.
*Enrolling at UC is an expensive proposition via UC Extension. The cheapest way is to take fewer credits than the course actually gives, provided the instructor agrees. Thus your daughter could get credit for 1 unit in a 4 unit course. (But that does not look as good on the transcripts and you child still has to do 4 units of work. As I remember we paid about 500 per unit!)
* As an alumnus interviewer for an Ivy League school, I have talked to kids who started taking College courses really young. It was interesting, but frankly, I was not all that impressed. (I had done the same thing.) What was interesting were the students that placed in the Intel science fair, (a nuclear reactor for goodness sakes! I'm not joking.)
Or had choreographed a number of dance performances.
* What about community colleges or online programs. We were quite happy with Johns Hopkins online courses for High School kids for our family. Stanford also has similar programs. (Although, regarding the community colleges, these days it is hard to get some classes you want.)
* Better yet, you could have your child adjust to BHS and do an enrichment over the summer. Some programs--COSMOS, Stanford, Johns Hopkins--are residential and your daughter will be with high achieving kids her own age.
* Or you might have you daughter find a mentor professor or graduate student on (UC) campus in her field and promote that intellectual relationship. You would have to be careful on that one, but that could really be a incredibly positive experience. nr
My son went to Berkeley High and he did this. Yes, she should talk to her counselor. They have a form that has to be filled out. It was a lot of bureaucracy to go through but worth it for our son. Francesca
My son and his friend, entering Albany High School, are planning/hoping to take intermediate algebra in summer school, after taking algebra I this year. It meets 4 nights per week, and I've told him to expect about 3 hours homework per day. Has anyone had kids who have (1) done intermediate algebra at Vista after high school algebra 1, and (2) done a summer course of this type? Both kids are bright, good in math, like it fast-paced, and enjoy it. They like the idea of doing it at night and still having some day time to play, we parents like the idea of them being busy, engaged, and out in the world on their own in a safe way, but I'm just a little worried that the jump from high school to college math will be much greater than we expect, and the pace will be more than they're up to. Finally (3) what type of students are they likely to find in a summer night course? Dana
I don't know what Albany does; however, BHS requires students who take math courses at Vista (and elsewhere) to pass our final exams before we permit them to proceed to the next course. Community College courses that parallel high school courses are designed for a student population that did not take these courses in high school. They also cover the material in half the time that the parallel high school class has to cover the subject matter. As a consequence, the CC course often covers less material less deeply than does the parallel high school course. this can have serious consequences for students who are trying to accelerate so that they can take even more math.
In addition, parents need to be aware that selective colleges and universities expect students to take math throughout their high school careers. This is great for students who love math. It becomes a nightmare for students who thought they were accelerating to get out of math sooner. A student who takes math analysis (precalculus) as a 9th grader is headed for upper division math at Cal (community colleges don't offer upper division courses) before s/he graduates from high school. Some thrive--but many don't.
Judith Bodenhausen Math department Head, BHS
One more note about high school students attending Vista classes. While community college is a tremendous bargain to start with ($11 per unit), we were told that there is NO tuition for high school students at Vista. The only costs are for books (which may be horrid); registration is free and can be done online. Altogether a wonderful expenditure of our tax dollars. Stephen
My child is a senior at BHS this year and has only two more required courses to take. Although she has done quite well, she has not enjoyed her experience at BHS, and would like to take only the minimum courses still needed to graduate and then take two or three other classes at Vista or UCBerkeley through extension.
My questions are: 1) has anyone had any experience with this type of split schedule (i.e. half at BHS and half off campus); 2) can it be done under the "regular" BHS program? 3) Can it be done under the independent study program?
I would appreciate answers to these specific questions, as well as any advice on how to find a way to devise a "split" program.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Vista (located a couple blocks from BHS) offers an afternoon college with a full range of classes. They are usually listed in the back of their course catalog. The course catalog also lists the classes throughout with the comment -- Acceptable for UC/CSU or Acceptable for CSU.
Your daughter can take Vista classes by filling out a concurrent enrollment form. After she fills it out, she gets a counselor signature and then Ms. Mellion, the registrar, puts an official seal on it. She should take the classes for college credit rather than high school credit.
A couple years ago, some of my students took English 1A and did very well. That meant they had completed one semester of the UC freshman required English so that when they went to U.C. Davis and U.C. Berkeley they could start at the second semester English course, 1B. One of my students also started courses in his junior year with the idea that he would complete at least one year toward an AA by the time he left BHS. It was too much for him to accomplish that with double period science and higher math but he did complete 3-4 courses.
Vista classes may have already started so your daughter might want to get on this right away or she might want to wait until spring. Vista finals often conflict with BHS classes toward the middle of January but all my students who have done this have been able to work it out and "do it all."
As far as the minimum number of classes/periods, I really don't know what it is for this year. Last year it was at least 4 periods. I'm not sure who makes that decision but you might wish to check with Rory Bled, college advisor or Mary Ann Valles, VP in charge of student services. Rory makes the case that colleges look to make sure that the students are taking at least 4 college level courses per semester.
Cost of Vista classes for concurrent enrollment is 0, however there is a cost for books, etc. I was recently told that if a person wanted college credit that it would be the regular amount which is somewhere around $11-$13 a unit. (I haven't had the time to follow through on finding out if that is correct or not).
Hope this has been useful.
Flora Russ --
Computer Science Department and Computer Academy
Berkeley High School
Scheduling can be a bear, but it is worth the trouble. My daughter had to leave her BHS class early to get to her UC Berkeley class, and she got to BHS late after attending her Vista class, but her teachers seemed to understand. Her Vista teacher insisted that she be there during class time. UCB professors generally don't care, but it can be hard if a student misses too much lecture. I recommend studying the schedules carefully and being flexible about class choices.
I don't have direct experience with this in Berkeley. However, my understanding (as someone who is beginning the process of homeschooling a teen), is that your child can take classes at the local JC for FREE as long as they are a registered high school student. You need to get permission from some official at the high school. I believe there is a form (probably in the JC course catalog) that the school official needs to sign that gets turned in when the student registers for the college class(es).
BTW: I did something like this in my high school career in the late 70's (in San Jose). It is certainly feasible to do, though the differing academic schedules can cause some complications (competing finals schedules, for instance). I had to get special permission to be off campus for part of my high school day, in order to bike over to the JC, and then come back for my last class on the high school campus. It does take some discipline to pull it off, but it also gets you ahead in your college career. I definitely think it was a good idea for me, and it sounds like a good idea for your child.
Good luck! Dawn