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11 Online Courses for High School Students

It’s never too early to start preparing for college. The college admissions process can be overwhelming, but there are ways to make it more manageable. Here are a few college prep courses we recommend for high school students looking to get a head start on their college journey.

» Looking for other online courses? Check out our resource page

Online college prep courses for high school students

One way to mitigate the stress of college in high school is to start preparing early. These courses address a variety of topics and are designed for current high school students.

1. How to Apply to College

(University of Pennsylvania)

This course is designed to provide students—particularly those that are the first in their family to attend college and those who are underrepresented in college—with valuable tools and information on how to apply to college. Throughout this course, expert educators collaborate with a variety of educational partners to make the college admissions process more achievable for all students. This course is 6 weeks long and takes about 17 hours to complete.

2. The Road to Selective College Admissions

(St. Margaret’s Episcopal School)

This course is designed to help 10th and 11th-grade students learn how to navigate college admissions. In addition to walking through the application process—standardized tests, essays, extracurricular activities—students will learn how to research colleges, network, and consider their finances. This course takes 1-2 hours per week, for 8 weeks, to complete.

3. How to Write an Essay

(University of California Berkeley)

Alongside the U.S. Department of State, UC Berkeley designed this course as an introduction to academic writing. Topics addressed include proper grammar, effective essay development, and productive self-editing. This course takes 5-6 hours per week, for 5 weeks, to complete.

4. Pre-University Calculus

(Delft University of Technology)

This course is designed to prepare students for college calculus courses. Students will gain a foundational understanding of mathematical definitions, concepts, and techniques. This course takes 6-8 hours per week, for 8 weeks, to complete.

Online AP courses for high school students

Taking AP courses in high school is one of the best ways to prepare for college, but it can be challenging. These free online courses issued by edX provide extra resources and guidance to pass AP Exams. Many of the courses meet the curricular expectations set by colleges and universities. to be authorized AP courses.

1. AP Macroeconomics

(Davidson Next)

This course is designed to teach students key AP Macroeconomics concepts. This course takes 2-4 hours per week, for 18 weeks, to complete.

2. Preparing the AP English Language and Composition Exam 

(Tennessee Board of Regents)

This course is designed to prepare students to take the English AP Language and Composition Exam.  Topics addressed include rhetorical strategies, reading and writing effectively, analyzing texts, and evaluating and incorporating sources. This course takes 10-15 hours per week, for 35 weeks, to complete.

3. Preparing for the AP Physics 1 Exam

(Boston University)

This course is designed to prepare students for the AP Physics Exam through interactive modules—videos, simulations, and online labs. A practice AP test is available at the end of the course. This course takes 5-6 hours per week, for 34 weeks, to complete.

4. Preparing for the AP Statistics Exam

(Tennesse Board of Regents)

This course is designed to prepare students for the AP Statistics Exam. Students will learn four broad conceptual statistical themes—exploring data, sampling and experimentation, anticipating patterns, and statistical inference. This course takes 10-15 hours per week, for 35 weeks, to complete.

5. AP Calculus BC

(Davidson Next)

This course is designed to prepare students—who have already taken or are currently enrolled in Calculus AB—for the AP Calculus BC Exam. Modules include videos, exam-style questions, and interactive activities. This course takes 2-4 per week, for 11 weeks, to complete.

6. AP Psychology – Course 1: What is Psychology?

(The University of British Columbia)

This course is the first in a 6-course sequence designed to introduce students to the field of psychology, as well as prepare students for the AP Psychology Exam. This course takes 8-12 hours per week, for 3 weeks, to complete.

7. AP Spanish Language and Culture

(Boston University)

This course is designed for students that have 3 years of high school Spanish or equivalent. This course is taught entirely in Spanish. It is intended as a resource for students who desire to take the AP Spanish Exam, but their school does not offer required courses or students who want some extra practice. This course takes 3-4 hours per week, for 12 weeks, to complete.

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