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College Coursework in High School

Are you earning college credit while you're in high school? Wonderful! While college credit isn't required for admission, taking college coursework during high school is a great way to prepare you for future college classes. Here are tips to help you plan for educational experiences that best fit with a future degree in engineering.

Time to Degree

students studying outside

It's important to keep in mind that an engineering curriculum is inherently sequential. Subjects build upon each other from course to course. For example, a student needs to master the content in general chemistry before moving on to organic chemistry.

This means that, in general, college coursework completed during high school doesn't significantly shorten an engineering student's time to graduation. However, if you take college coursework in high school, you will be better prepared to excel in these subjects during college. It also provides you with more flexibility to incorporate co-curricular opportunities, such as second majors, study abroad programs and minors.

If you aren't able to take any college-level coursework during high school, that's fine! Offerings vary from school to school. Instead, you should schedule classes at your high school that are connected to math, science and writing.

Yes, as an engineering student, you will be writing. Communication—whether technical, professional, or personal—is a critical skill to develop as you work toward your educational and professional goals.

Choosing Subjects

Engineering builds off the foundational disciplines of math and science. Taking classes in calculus, general chemistry and physics during high school can help you start building this foundation. When choosing a math class, look for a traditional, theory-based calculus course as opposed to a specialized version, such as business calculus. For physics, choose a calculus-based physics course, not algebra-based physics.

In addition to math and science, you can take classes that can apply to your General Education curriculum. The General Education is the part of your degree that provides the breadth to your college education. It incorporates coursework in the areas of writing, historical study, arts and humanities, social sciences, ethics and diversity. Courses such as writing, psychology, history and literature can often fulfill these degree requirements.

Finding Course Equivalencies

You can use the resources below to see if your local college or Advanced Placement program offers a course equivalent that is already approved as a direct equivalent to a course at Ohio State. In general, we recommend that you select courses in which an exact Ohio State course (department and course number) is listed as an equivalent. Try to avoid courses in which you will only receive general, special or technical credit. 

  • Advanced Placement Exams and Ohio State Course Credit: This chart shows you how Advanced Placement (AP) exams translate to course credit at Ohio State.
  • Ohio State Quick Equivalencies: Click to download a master spreadsheet of courses which have already been evaluated by Ohio State. You can sort by the institution through which you will be taking the course or the course at Ohio State for which you want to earn credit.
  • Transferology: This online portal can show you the amount of coursework that transfers between other institutions and Ohio State. Transferology is most useful to current college students who are researching how their college credit may apply to a degree at another institution, but you also can use it as you plan on exploring college credit in high school.

Recommendations for Engineering

Once you have decided on subjects, you will need to choose specific classes. But which ones? One good strategy is to review whether the class you want to take will transfer to Ohio State as a specific equivalent course. For example, Ohio State's first calculus course is called Math 1151. If you take class X through University Y, will it transfer to Ohio State as the equivalent of Math 1151?

Here are some general recommendations for Ohio State course equivalencies in math and science. Choose courses based on the topics you want to explore!

  • Traditional Calculus I: Math 1151
  • Traditional Calculus II: Math 1152
  • Traditional Calculus III: Math 2153
  • General Chemistry I: Chemistry 1210
  • General Chemistry II: Chemistry 1220
  • Calculus-Based Physics I: Physics 1250
  • Calculus-Based Physics II: Physics 1251
  • Computer Science and Engineering 1221 / 1222 /1223, if you are strongly interested in majors connected to computer science or programming

Also, here are some recommended Ohio State courses from the General Education curriculum.

  • Writing and Information Literacy: English 1110.01
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences: Psychology 1100, Economics 2001.01, Political Science 1100, Sociology 1101
  • Historical and Cultural Studies: History 1151, 1211, 1681
  • Literary, Visual and Performing Arts: English 2201, 2202, Classics 1101, 2220, Art 2100, History of Art 2002 

For most of these General Education categories, you will only need to complete one course. If you plan on taking a lot of General Education courses during high school, choose classes from a range of areas. For example, choose a history, a social science, a literature, etc. 

Transferring Credit to Ohio State

Once you have completed high school, you should transfer any college credit you've earned to Ohio State. This involves sending some type of official document to Ohio State that certifies your completion of the class or exam. 

  • Advanced Placement Exam Credit: When you take an Advanced Placement (AP) exam, you can list universities to which you want your exam scores sent. If you listed Ohio State, then the scores will automatically be sent in the summer, around July. If you didn't list Ohio State initially, no problem! You can contact the College Board, which administers AP exams and request your scores be sent to Ohio State.
  • Dual Enrollment or College Credit Plus: If you completed coursework through a partnership between your high school and a college or university, ask your high school guidance counselor about the process for sending your official transcript, including those courses, to Ohio State.
  • Other College Coursework: If you enrolled in coursework at a college or university on your own—meaning, it wasn't affiliated with your high school at all—you should contact that institution and request an official transcript be sent to Ohio State. If your institution offers electronic delivery of transcripts, that is the best option. It's faster and easier to process. If not, you can request your official transcript be sent to this address: 
    • The Ohio State University
      Undergraduate Admissions
      PO Box 182646
      Columbus, OH 43218-2646

We hope this helps with your planning during your high school years. Good luck with your courses and we will see you on campus soon!


Student testimonial: As a Buckeye engineer, I will create a world without disease." - Ian

Applying to Engineering:

High school seniors applying to the Columbus campus are encouraged to submit their complete admission application by November 1st. Capacity within Engineering fills quickly.