How I got two associates degrees in high school

My story

I’m finally graduating community college this month! It only seems like yesterday that I took my first community college class over the summer just to avoid a shitty precalc teacher at my high school, and just somehow, two years later, I’ve managed to get two degrees in Business Administration and Economics.

I didn’t have much insight when I first started taking classes. At first, I wanted to take classes after precalculus to help my GPA and take classes that my school didn’t necessarily offer. Fortunately, I started early enough that there was lots of time to make mistakes and change courses. Soon enough, I found myself being involved in so many courses that I started to bear a full time load at my local community college.

The best part is that I enjoyed every part of it. The ability to pick my own classes was a freedom I didn’t have in high school, and pretty soon, I had to start asking for unit overloads because I was taking too many units in high school.

With enough research (ahem RateMyProfessor), Chegg, and my co-valedictorian Yara, time flew by, and we eventually racked up enough units to hit the maximum credit limit, as well as earn the degree (including general education) and finish our lower divisions for our major.

Some tips

Unfortunately, if you’re from Alhambra, they don’t weigh the dual enrollment classes as APs anymore, but you can still get boatloads of credit from it. However, you should continue to do the classes not only to get a head start on your college classes, but for college app season, as colleges like to see the increased rigor, and UCs/CSUs recalculate your GPA anyway.

  • RateMyProfessor is your best friend!

Not all classes are made the same. Some professors go easier on the workload, lecture time, and just overall are a better pick compared to others. Don’t stick to one community college, and really try to find one that suits your needs, which leads me to the next point.

  • Unless you have a really flexible schedule, non-proctored, asynchronous / remote classes are your best friend.

This means you can do the class at your own schedule, whether that be during school, on vacation in another country, or just at the convenience of your own bed. Trying to get a flexible schedule means taking easier courses at the high school, and trying to do the bare minimum during senior year in favor of community college classes.

  • Carry over AP/IB credit.

Taking AP exams and carrying them over allows you to avoid classes that suck at community college. I personally self studied for AP Environmental Science, and that let me avoid having to take a lab in person at the college.

  • Don’t be intimidated by a “college class”.

Contrary to popular belief, a lot of the high school classes are much more difficult than the community college classes. Simply just don’t slack off and use good study habits. Make sure to prioritize what’s most important to get the most out of your time.

  • Do something you’re genuninely passionate about.

Sure, I mean a lot of my units did end up transferring over to Berkeley, but I originally started on this journey for self discovery. I wouldn’t have spent much of my time doing my homework at all if I wasn’t interested in it. I didn’t do CS for this exact reason - it’d be way too stressful with all the things I had going on the exact same time.

You don’t exactly have to know what you want to do. That’s what community college is for. Hope this helps!