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December 01, 2008


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Be careful with AP credits and classes in high schoool sponsored by local colleges. Most schools have a limit on the amount you can use towards your degree. I took 4 classes and could only use 1. So I had paid extra for the college credit on ones I couldn't use.

I like the idea of a student working on ways to save money for college as opposed to parents aiming to cover all costs for the child/student.

I know many parents who have gone into massive debt trying to finance a child's undergraduate education.

Good for him. Interesting that he's starting graduate study ... not sure how many employers would see this experience as a plus in the interviewing process.

I would look at this as an interesting story, but NOT a "How-to" lesson. Most people would really struggle with loading up on credits both in High School and college and could put themselves in a dangerous (academic and financial) position by doing so.

Secondly, going to a less expensive school is not always the best long-term decision. It is fine if you are just going to college to "check the box" of having a degree. However, if you are serious about a particular field or your education, I think it is best for students to attend the best school for their major that they can afford and get into, and this will reap more long-term career (& consequently financial) rewards.

My youngest sister turned to scholarships after her financial aid fell through right before the semester (she's currently at a 2-year community college). I helped edit her essays and we filled out a bunch of applications. We were really happy when she got enough small scholarships to more than cover her for the entire school year!

So far she's even made a little money since she gets a check for whatever isn't used for tuition and books through the school (we're using that to get her a decent laptop). We use for her books and so far we've either been able to sell them back to the school bookstore for a profit or resell them when she's done.

Our parents can't help and she's determined to do it on her own, especially now that she knows it can be done.

Good caution re: AP courses.

Here are some other ones:

1. Go to a state/public school! a) Chances are they will accept your AP credits b) paying $ for private school basically amounts to a prettier campus and alumni with the hookup but the amount of alumni at a state school compensates for the quality at a private.

2. Go to college in high school. Your HS may have a program to allow you to go but if not demand it. You will at least get done earlier increasing the amount of time that you earn money before you retire and best case scenario HS will pay for it.

3. Go to college during the summer semester. The faster you complete college the earlier you will earn money and the longer you can earn money.

An achievable goal graduate college when most are finishing their sophomore year. You will be buying a house when the rest of your high school graduating class is buying a pizza and a case of beer with the rugby team.

Looking back on my college career, I wish I would have done the three things I outlined in addition to Banh's additional classes each semester. The usual 15 credits wasn't particularly challenging and a couple more classes would still afford most people between a B and A average if they paid attention.

Smart move. If you have a strong career focus (a necessity today) you can also save on tuition by choosing an independent two-year college with good career placement. There are some great ones out there. You don't need a four-year degree and there are many alternatives to community college.

AP credits are good, but don't miss on some obvious problems. In all likelihood it will mean you will be paying upperclassman tuition earlier than normal. So unless you have enough credits that will actually help you graduate earlier, this is not a cost saving strategy. It can in fact increase your costs. Depending on where you go, and what requirements they have and what you major in, AP credits will have varied impact in actually getting you done early. Bottom line -- don't assume AP credits by themselves are a cost savings strategy. They only result in that if you in fact graduate early.

Good suggestions.

Re AP credits and high school credits for college credit - Also consider that these are usually only tranferrable in-state. My wife found out the hard way when she went back to get a teaching degree and could not use most of a year of courses she had taken AP. Colleges in the state her high school was in would take them, but other colleges outside that state would not.

The student in the featured article may actually have to back to undergrad (at least if he wants to be a patent attorney like he says he does). He simply went a too fast for his own good (lack of time to plan) and is going down a path that doesn't really help him for applying for that sort of job.

It doesn't say what degree he obtained, but I highly doubt it was one of the degrees required to be a patent attorney, which are engineering or hard science degrees (physics/chemistry/biology), which mostly do not allow you to transfer a ton AP credits, since they require a lot of high level science and math courses that simply aren't obtainable through AP. I am guessing he is still 40-50 credits short for those sorts of degrees.

Remarkable progress nonetheless, if he wanted to be a professor or a researcher, I don't think he would have to go back at all.

I took a ton of AP classes in high school and got all 4's and 5's on the exams, it only got me out of 1 class in college. I was given college credit for all of them, but it didn't get me out of the required classes. I graduated with 120 credits more than I needed as a result. Also, figure out what you want to do from the start. I switched majors after two years, so it took 5 years to graduate. It paid off cause I switched to engineering and had a job before I even graduated. I also paid very little for my education, I had a full merit scholarship for 4 years and a grant which covered most of my 5th year. So get good grades!

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