Frequently Asked Questions

Distance Learning at Patrick Henry College
Distance Learning


Do you have questions about the Distance Learning program?  You’re in good company!  There are lots of people just like you who are looking at our programs, and the questions below are the common ones we hear.  If you share these thoughts, we hope that the answers below are insightful and helpful to you!

If you have further questions, always feel free to contact The Office of Admissions for more information!

Why should I take PHC’s Distance Learning course instead of one from some other college?
Our DL classes, just like our on-campus classes, are grounded in the Word of God and the classical liberal arts. There is no shortage of institutions offering online classes in, for example, American history; but with PHC DL classes you can study history at a place that combines a commitment to the Scriptures with academic excellence—and with classmates who share your convictions.

Not only that, PHC’s new low DL tuition rate of $430 per credit means that you don’t have to choose between quality and affordability.

Who should enroll in PHC Distance Learning courses?
If you fit into one of these categories, you could really benefit from PHC DL courses:

-high school juniors and seniors (at least 16 years old) considering attending PHC in the future

-college-age students wanting to get started on PHC’s core curriculum from home

-students wanting solid, liberal arts classes from a biblical perspective but committed to jobs, ministries, or other responsibilities where they now live

-anyone interested in learning about the subjects we offer from excellent and well-qualified professors committed to a biblical worldview

I’m still in high school; how does a PHC online course compare to an Advanced Placement® high school course in the same subject?

Advanced Placement® (AP®) high school courses are available from a variety of providers, such as HSLDA’s Online Academy, and may be less expensive than PHC courses. However, there are a number of other factors to consider before making a decision.

Content and difficultyAP® courses generally are less detailed and cover less content than PHC Distance Learning classes, which closely mirror the content in our on-campus courses. PHC Distance Learning courses demand a somewhat higher level of analytical performance than AP® courses on papers and other assignments to earn top grades. Both courses will be challenging but manageable for diligent high school students.

Duration: AP® courses generally last the whole academic year; whether you earn 3 or 6 PHC college credits depends upon the course; 3-credit PHC classes last for one semester.

College credit: Many colleges will accept AP® courses for college credit, including PHC. However, PHC requires students to receive at least a 3 on the AP® exam to have the course fulfill a core curriculum requirement and in some courses a 4 or 5. Students who take the comparable PHC course must receive a passing grade to fulfill the core curriculum requirement.

If you take PHC’s course, with a passing grade you’re guaranteed that the course will apply to your PHC program. Additionally, you’ll have a more expansive knowledge of the topic and engage with the material on a deeper level.

Click here to see how a given AP® course might apply toward your PHC program, and what score you’d need on you AP® exam.

Transferability:  AP® high school courses are accepted for college credit at many colleges. Students should determine, when considering an AP®
course, whether and how a given course applies toward their anticipated college program graduation requirements. For example, an AP®
math course might not apply toward a college history degree, or apply only as an open elective. All PHC Distance Learning courses apply directly to PHC’s core curriculum requirements.

Important: Students anticipating transferring PHC credit to another institution (in the U.S. or internationally) should know that decisions regarding transferability are made solely by the receiving institution. PHC is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), a federally-recognized accrediting agency. Some institutions accept PHC credits into their programs, others may not. We advise students hoping to transfer PHC credits to check with the receiving institution before enrolling with PHC Distance Learning. Students with questions should contact the Office of the Registrar or their academic adviser.

How do I know if I’m ready for a PHC Distance Learning course?

PHC is known as an academically rigorous place, and it’s true that our students work pretty hard.

That’s why you can succeed here, too.

The students who thrive are those who are ready to learn all that God has for them. So, if you:

-have completed high school coursework indicating your readiness for college-level classes

- possess solid writing skills and are capable of reading and analyzing college-level texts

-are looking for rigorous college academics combined with a strong biblical worldview

-are disciplined, able to work on your own and meet deadlines, and prepared to spend 10-15 hours per week per course on reading and other assignments

-like interacting with other students online
then you are ready to study with PHC. You don’t have to be brilliant—you just have to be ready to learn.

I’d like to take a dual-enrollment college class online; do PHC courses qualify?

That is up to your high school. Homeschool families, of course, can choose to make us part of their high school curriculum. For private high schools, talk to your high school administrators about us and encourage them to contact us.

How does the application process work?

You’ll have an admissions counselor to walk you through the process.

You apply for acceptance into the college as either a degree seeking or a non-degree seeking student. Non-degree seeking applicants provide us with basic information about yourself, SAT or ACT test scores and other evidence of academic preparation, and affirm the PHC Statement of Faith. Most DL students apply initially as non-degree seeking students.

Degree seeking applicants provide that information and a bit more, such as an essay describing your faith history and an interview with an admissions counselor.

Once admitted to take Distance Learning courses, you will register for the courses of your choice through our online student portal. After your registration is confirmed you will have access to our online course platform to view the course syllabus (which lists course learning objectives, assignments, and deadlines) and the course materials.

Our courses operate on fall, spring, and summer semester schedules. See the academic calendar in the college catalog for details.

What is it like to take a PHC Distance Learning course?

Each course is a little different depending on the instructor and the course material.

You will receive a syllabus that sets out course schedule and describes the topics to be covered each week, the learning objectives, the assignments, and other things you need to know to do well in the course.

In most courses you will participate in scheduled weekly online discussions, and complete readings or view video or audio lectures online in preparation for the discussions.

You may also complete tests, quizzes, reading reports, research papers, and a variety of other assignments according to the course syllabus. Professors often require students to post a certain number of comments each week on a discussion board, for example.

Just like an on-campus class, you will have to “attend” some things online at set times but much of the work you do on your own by the assignment deadline. Some assignments you need to keep up with weekly (such as readings or discussion boards) and some things you need to plan ahead and work on early so you can complete them on time (such as research papers). Expect to spend 10-15 hours per course on both types of assignments.

If I take a PHC DL course, does that mean I’m automatically accepted into PHC?

PHC, like most colleges, has two categories of students: degree-seeking and non-degree seeking.

You can take PHC DL classes as a non-degree seeking student; the application process for non-degree seeking students is much shorter and less rigorous than the process for degree-seeking students. You’re welcome to apply in either category to take DL classes, but most DL students will apply as non-degree seeking.

Non-degree seeking students who may later wish to apply for degree seeking status at PHC should consult with their academic advisor soon after acceptance. Completed PHC DL coursework may serve as evidence of academic ability, but does not guarantee admission into the degree-seeking program. We suggest you take a few Distance Learning courses as a non-degree seeking student and if PHC looks like a good option for you, apply for degree-seeking status. It doesn’t commit you to attending PHC, but if accepted it does ensure that, when you’re ready to come to campus, you’ve been accepted.

I’m living overseas—can I take PHC DL classes?

Yes, PHC welcomes all eligible, Christian students of at least 16 years of age to apply for admission into the distance learning program.  


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