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07/05/2020 at 07:10PM[edited]

Will earning an Associate Degree in High School help or hurt my application to competitive Colleges?
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Background: I am a 10th grader in a public high school beginning to take Dual Enrollment classes at my local Community College toward the end of earning an A.S. in Computer Science. I am pretty interested in CS, but I am also interested in Law and Music, and I am usually an A-/B+ student in STEM subjects. I want to earn this degree because CS is an extremely applicable and relevant skill to have, and can still be applied to the other subjects I am interested in. I am also interested in what the rigor of these courses has to offer for my personal and academic growth. Is completing this degree for these reasons going to help my application to competitive colleges, or is my time better spent elsewhere? Thanks! :)

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07/05/2020 at 07:26PM

Hi! I honestly don’t know if an AS is considered highly or not by ivy-league level colleges. I do know that you should use this time productively, and unless you can use the experience of studying at AS to combine with something else that is equally as impressive as a ‘hook’ or something to mention on your essay, this might not be worth it. Just earning an A.S. while in high school isn’t gonna be the boost you need to be accepted to an ivy. Most of the time, people complete a college degree in high school either to 1) raise their GPA, 2) make up for failed classes, 3) lower cost of college by getting intro “credits”/courses out of the way. Ivy League universities will not acknowledge these credits so you won’t get any aid/course exemption from them, just so you know, so you won’t have any eligibility for #3. I personally think it’s a good idea since it will teach you many valuable skills and also weed out your interests and disinterests. What I will comment on is that if you are going for ivy-league level colleges and you have B+ and A- grades, unless they are in AP classes you are going to be at a disadvantage. Ivy league and elite colleges want to see high grades ESPECIALLY in the field you are interested in, and since Comp Sci falls under the STEM area math and science courses should be your strong point, not your weakness. I would recommend putting some extra effort into those classes to maintain top grades which will give you that competitive edge. Ideally you should have straight A+ and As in mostly AP and honors classes to be eligible for a Ivy. I won’t tell you whether to do this or not, but these are all things you should consider. I do think you should spend a lot of time developing stem or compsci related interests i f that is what you want to study in college so that your profile m matches up with it, and if you choose to take the AS courses, so that you an tie this into some of you other interests to write a compelling essay.

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Accepted Answer
[🎤 AUTHOR]@mike0807/06/2020 at 01:17AM [edited]

Thanks for the information! Just to clarify - all my class averages are A range, and my unweighted GPA is 4.17 (because of A+s). I just feel as though STEM subjects are harder (to me) than Social Sciences (I should have been clearer on that in my question).

With this clarification, would this degree be beneficial if applying to out-of-state public schools, such as the UC system, or when applying to colleges that are less competitive than Ivys/top 10 schools, but that are still selective?

@crsgo042207/06/2020 at 01:59PM

sure, it would help to have it rather than not. BUT there are many other activities you can pursue with the same time commitment (instead of the college degree) that would give you the prestige/honor/boost needed for ivy level schools. it’s really up to you to weigh the pros and cons but i think you can do it as a supplement to other activities

@adri07/12/2020 at 11:59PM

For the UC system, note that they do accept up to 60 credits (I believe) from community college. So you can clear your gen ed requirements and potentially graduate in 3 years. In fact, one student I know who went to UC Berkeley to study Data Science is going to graduate in 2 years!!!! because of the credit they got from the A.S.

It definitely helps, not just for admission purposes!

@adri07/13/2020 at 12:00AM

Also I checked certain Ivy League/similar caliber universities... they cap at 30 credits (except for Stanford which doesn't accept any)... and the community college classes have to pass a rigor test.