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Your Guide to Credit Recovery for High School

Are you close to graduating but missing a few credits? Whether you're planning to go to college, start a career, or just finish your high school diploma, Penn Foster High School can help you get the credits you need.
Lauren Ambrosio

Lauren Ambrosio

Being short a credit or two can be frustrating when you are ready to graduate and move forward with your life. Whether you’re college-bound, joining the workforce, or are an adult who needs a few more credits to get your diploma, credit recovery is an option to make up missing class credits. We chatted with Cathy Breymeier at Penn Foster High School about all things credit recovery: how it works, how to enroll, and how much it costs, and have put together a quick guide to help you navigate obtaining those final credits.

When is credit recovery necessary?

  • You’re transferring to another school but are lacking credits
  • Failing a subject and needing to retake it
  • Taking a year off due to illness or personal issues
  • Requiring extra courses to meet new state graduation requirements
  • Adjusting credits for students on different educational tracks


What are the benefits of credit recovery?

Cathy Breymeier, Manager of the High School Course Department at Penn Foster, has spent over a decade helping thousands of students find online solutions for high school.


She explains people utilize credit recovery in many different ways. “Sometimes we see adult learners enroll in our practical English course because they’re in line for promotion and/or just want to brush up on their grammar skills because they’ll be doing a lot of email communication.”


In other instances, "people enroll in credit recovery courses because they want to get into nursing school or some other kind of next step for their career. Sometimes life happens for people and they have to miss months or sometimes even years of school. It can be tough to get back on track, and an online option can be extremely helpful.”


Finally, Cathy points to a large number of students who work with their local public high schools to take summer school courses with Penn Foster High School. “Many students can’t attend summer school because they don’t have transportation, or they have a summer job. If the school allows it, we can work with the school to make sure we get that student’s transcript back by the time they need it.”


Who is eligible for credit recovery?

  • Traditional-aged high school students ages 14-18
  • Adults aged 18 to 21 who have not yet graduated from high school
  • Adults over 21 who have graduated but need additional high school credits they missed during their initial schooling
  • Suitable for those seeking to meet specific entrance requirements of post-secondary institutions


Read more: Beyond Graduation: How High School Prepares You for Success


How do you get lost, missed, or skipped credits back in high school?

"The key is to align with the school's academic track," says Cathy Breymeier, Manager of the High School Course Department at Penn Foster. This means getting caught up and back on track with your school’s graduation requirements. You can catch up on lost, missed, or skipped credits with credit recovery courses offered through an online program like Penn Foster.


The credit recovery process

  • Determine the missing credits through school records and consult with credit recovery providers.
  • Enroll in courses that fit your schedule and academic needs.
  • Complete the courses within set deadlines to guarantee credit acceptance.
  • Transfer the recovered credits back to your high school.


Read more: How to Stay Motivated in High School


Does credit recovery affect GPA in high school?

Cathy Breymeier, Manager of the High School Course Department at Penn Foster, explains that while credit recovery courses are listed on transcripts, they don't explicitly say they're for credit recovery.


Their impact on your GPA depends on the school's grading policy. Some schools do a one-for-one grade swap, replacing your failing or incomplete grade with your new one. Others may show a failing grade on the original course but then identify that you earned the course credit elsewhere.


No-cost online credit recovery programs for high school students

Penn Foster and other schools offer different options that can meet your needs. Some programs and classes are paid for by the student, but many traditional high schools partner with online high schools like Penn Foster to provide these types of classes to students at no cost.


Read more: Going Back to School as an Adult


How credit recovery works at Penn Foster

Penn Foster's approach to credit recovery ensures your courses are aligned with your graduation needs.


Penn Foster’s method for course selection is specific for each student and includes these steps:

  • We make sure the student picks the right course. Without support, students might find themselves taking the wrong course, wasting time and money.
  • Penn Foster offers a wide selection of courses from core subjects to specialized electives. Cathy Breymeier, Manager of the High School Course Department at Penn Foster, mentions unique electives like auto repair tech and medical office assistant, which were helpful for students who needed elective credits.
  • Penn Foster offers a variety of courses for different educational tracks.
  • Some states have unique education requirements. “In Oklahoma, for example,” explains Cathy, “students need specific state history courses that Penn Foster might not offer.”


Generally, for credit recovery, Penn Foster will also work directly with your current high school to ensure you get the classes and credits you need.


Learn more about credit recovery and take control of your education

If you’re missing a credit or two due to illness, family issues, moving, or you’re going back to school as an adult, getting your remaining credits in order to graduation doesn’t have to be difficult. At Penn Foster, instructors make sure you are provided with a curriculum tailored to your school’s requirements. Don’t let a failing or incomplete grade hold you back–call our credit recovery team at 1-800-961-6407 to learn more about how you can get back on track to earn your high school diploma.


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