Sophomore year is coming to a close and you are almost halfway through high school. At this point, relatives and church leaders are asking, “What are you going to study?” and “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
If you don’t have an answer to those questions, you’re not alone. Many students find it difficult to choose a career path to pursue. But taking college classes through distance learning during high school helps answer some doubts and gets you ahead of the curve.
BJUOnline is a great resource for students looking to start their college education. The program is available in the U.S. to high school juniors and above. Classes offered are part of the BJU Core, a combination of liberal arts and Bible courses that prepare students for future careers.
Even if you don’t know what to major in yet, distance learning can still save you both time and money.
Check Your Schedule
Taking college courses is exciting, but don’t forget about your current studies. You must earn A’s and B’s in your high school courses to qualify for BJUOnline. And a college-level class usually take 5–15 hours of study per week. Put the two together and you can end up with an overloaded planner.
Make sure you have enough time to cover your current responsibilities before committing to harder coursework. Choose your credit load depending on your availability.
Dr. Gladie Stroup, director of BJU’s Center for Distance Learning, says, “I always recommend that [students] start out with just one course so they can learn how it goes. Our Bible courses are a very good place to start out.” Stroup says that students should increase their load depending on the time of the year. “[Don’t take] more than 9 credits at a time during the summer. During the school year, more than 12 tends to be a lot for students.”
BJU Core courses span from 100-level English to Christianity and the arts to hermeneutics. Taking online classes such as history of civilization or composition and grammar can shorten your time in school no matter which university you choose. You could complete your general education courses by the time you even begin college.
BJU Health Science student Alexis Amos will finish her normally four-year bachelor’s degree in two years because she took BJUOnline courses in high school.
There are a few classes in distance learning—such as principles of accounting, foundations of art and design, or theories of teaching and learning—that are major-specific. If a career really interests you but you’re not sure about it yet, taking one or two courses focused on the subject can give you a clearer idea and help you make better choices.
Consult Your School
Check with your high school’s administration about the possibility of dual credit. BJUOnline offers credit for both high school and college. Rachel LaBelle, a sophomore Biblical Counseling major, said taking dual credit “helped me learn how to do quality work at a college level, get used to using syllabi while I was still in high school and saved a lot of money.”
Taking advantage of dual credit gives you a smoother transition into college and saves you thousands of dollars in travel, tuition and room and board.
Once you’ve chosen a credit limit and which classes you’ll take, make a study plan. Set out time during the week to work and study for each class. Get an academic or online planner and organize your tasks. Form a habit of checking your planner daily or set notifications on your online version to help you keep track of deadlines.
Staying on top of both high school and online coursework can be complicated. Don’t procrastinate. Have a big paper due for early American literature? Schedule a daily or weekly amount of time to write in small increments. The same strategy works for tests and quizzes.
See Also: The Gift of Time
Ask for Help
Taking online classes can be hard when you have questions and the teacher isn’t there to answer them. Don’t stay quiet when you need help. You can contact the distance learning office by email or phone for help with course content. Amos says, “The videos are good and helpful, but sometimes it’s nice to have someone to answer your questions in real time . . .. Having someone to ask questions of was very helpful.”
BJUOnline offers great resources to further your education. College courses are demanding, but your attitude toward them will make a difference. Study hard, enjoy your classes, learn new things, and get started on your college experience. If you are up for the challenge, applying is simple and there’s a 50 percent discount for current high school juniors and seniors.