Pre-College Program
Abilene Christian University

Rising Scholars Online provides high school students the opportunity to get a head start on their college courses. These courses can fulfill general education requirements towards your ACU degree and are transferable to other institutions. 

All Rising Scholars Online courses are 3 credit hours

Rising Scholars Online provides high school students the opportunity to get a head start on their college courses. These courses can fulfill general education requirements towards your ACU degree and are transferable to other institutions. 

All Rising Scholars Online courses are 3 credit hours

Main Content
Young woman in an art museum taking a photo on her phone of a piece of art

Earn College Credits

in High School

It’s never too early to begin thinking about college. Enroll in an online course and earn three hours of college credit this summer.


Why Enroll in Rising Scholars Online

Save money!

$795 | 3 credit hours
Rising Scholars Online courses are offered at a discounted rate of $795 per 3 hour course, so enrolling online can save you more than $4,000 per course!

Special Benefit

Incoming seniors who earn a B or higher in their Rising Scholars Online course receive guaranteed admission and priority scholarship consideration for ACU for Fall 2025.

Flexible Learning

Learn from anywhere and on your schedule.

Course Schedule: Asynchronous (no set meeting times and students can set a personalized schedule)*
Mode of Learning: Online, with opportunities for students to engage in small group discussion on their own time.

*Although there is flexibility for structuring your study and completion of course assignments during the week, modules and assignments will be due weekly.

2024 Summer Offerings

We offer a variety of courses to high school students, both on our Abilene campus and online. ACU is pleased to offer two online courses this summer.

Introduction to Psychology

PSYC 120 (3 credit hours)

Have you ever felt that life was a journey? In Intro to Psychology: Rest for the Restless Heart, you’ll explore the science of psychology as it relates to human behavior and development, mental processes, social interaction and emotional experience.

Registration Deadline: May 24, 2024
Course Begins: June 10, 2024
Course Ends: July 28, 2024

Degree Fulfillment: PSYC 120 fulfills ACU’s general education requirement for social sciences.

What will you learn?

Video preview for ACU's Rising Scholars Online pre college intro to psychology class

Journey into American Music

MUSM 240 (3 credit hours)

Explore America’s musical past through performances of artists like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Miley Cyrus and more. On the road, you’ll learn not only about their music but also about significant issues in American culture during the past century.

Registration Deadline | May 24, 2024
Course Begins | June 10, 2024
Course Ends | July 28, 2024

Degree Fulfillment: MUSM 240 currently fulfills ACU’s general education requirement for a free elective. It is anticipated to fulfill the requirement for cultural awareness and/or humanities beginning in the 2024-25 catalog.

What will you learn?

Video preview for ACU's Rising Scholars Online Journey to Music course

World History

HIST 131 (3 credit hours)

In Global Connections since 1400, students discover the intensifying processes of interactions between diverse peoples, cultures, and economies right up to the present.

Registration Deadline: May 24, 2024
Course Begins: June 3, 2024
Course Ends: June 28, 2024

Degree Fulfillment: HIST 131 can fulfill ACU’s general education requirement for History, Humanities or Cultural Literacy.

What will you learn?

Video preview for ACU's Rising Scholars Online World History course

Introduction to Psychology

Rest for the Restless Heart

What will you learn?

Over these seven weeks, you will learn from ACU faculty Dr. Richard Beck and Rachel Riley, engage in thoughtful discussions with your peers, and reflect on the weekly topics. Students will complete each module at their own pace from week to week. There will not be set online meeting times, but students will engage in small group discussions on their own schedule. Students can expect a time commitment of 10-12 hours per week to complete the course. 


  • Basic theories, concepts and findings in the field of psychology.
  • Major concepts, terminology and theories across different focuses in psychology.
  • Application of insights and findings from psychology to promote emotional, relational and spiritual well-being in everyday life.

Enroll Today!

Final course grades will be determined by:

  • Quizzes (6) –12%
  • Discussions (6) –16%
  • Assignments (12) – 42%
  • Reflection papers (7) – 30%

Module 1

Mind, Body and Soul

Explore the relationship between our body and mind and how the brain is connected to our thoughts, feelings and behavior.

Module 2

The Divine Spark

Examine intelligence, memory and learning and the critical part each play in helping us understand our lives and the world.

Module 3

The Journey of Life

Identify how we can honor and describe the themes around our life’s development – how we grow and develop physically, morally and cognitively.

Module 4

Search for the Self

Consider different ways personality and motivation have been theorized to understand how your personality affects the way you relate to others and how you might evaluate yourself.

Module 5

The Science of Love and Hate

Learn about the dark side of social life. Explore prejudice, discrimination and group hostility.

Module 6

Brokenness and Healing

Discover tools and techniques to help our culture engage in conversations that both raise awareness and encourage interventions in mental health.

Module 7

The Outward Turn – “Until They Rest in Thee”

Explore how psychology illuminates and intersects with your journey toward spiritual and emotional wholeness.

Journey Into American Music

What will you learn?

This course uses what you might call “case-study pedagogy.”  Each module begins with the case, narrated in a documentary-style film lasting about half an hour. The cases consists of live music performances in the United States during the past century – performances that have attained an iconic status in America’s collective cultural memory. These specific cases were chosen because each stands as an exceptional moment in American music and, indeed, often in American history, and they provide fascinating inroads into America’s cultural past.

  • Documentary introduction.
  • Explore a variety of source materials related to the case and its central theme(s).
  • Engage in discussions that invite diverse points of view. 

You will build skills for investigating the past on your own, so that you can analyze, evaluate and interpret historical materials within present contexts. In other words, you’ll learn practical higher-order learning skills that are relevant in your life and also transferable to investigating and understanding many topics besides music. Students can expect a time commitment of 18-20 hours per week to complete the course.

This course has no prerequisites and does not require a musical background. Some of the modules in this course discuss mature themes, and enrollment is limited to students entering their senior year of high school. 

Enroll Today!

Final course grade is determined by:

  • Weekly discussions.
  • Weekly assignments.
  • Final project.
  • No tests or quizzes.

Module 1

Beginning the Journey: Thinking Critically About Music

Prepare for the journey into American music by learning how to analyze musical style and how to think about music as culture.

Module 2

Finding America in the Music: Race in Performance

Travel back to Al Jolson singing Gershwin’s “Swanee” on Broadway in 1919 and Marian Anderson’s monumental Lincoln Memorial concert in 1939 exploring the roles of social inequity.

Module 3

Scandals of Early Rock and Roll: Elvis and the Beatles

Explore the impact of technology on American music culture and also how Christian beliefs and stances on race affected the consumption and reception of new musical styles.

Module 4

Anthems of Change: A Farm, an Opera House, a Prison

Explore three use case studies from the late 1960s and question the popularity and interpretation of music.

Module 5

Songs Heard ’round the World: Live Aid and Farm Aid

Learn about the impact of Live Aid and the hope to bring many of music’s greatest artists together simultaneously in two venues – one in London and another in Philadelphia – for a philanthropic purpose.

Module 6

Broadcasting Identity: From MTV to the VMAs

Immerse yourself in performances by Nirvana on MTV Unplugged in 1993 and Miley Cyrus on the VMAs in 2013, which might strike you as an odd pairing.

Module 7

Rewriting America: Hip Hop Comes to Broadway

Delve into the widely popular musical Hamilton and the truly remarkable accomplishment of universal acclaim, considering the musical rewrote the myth of the founding fathers.

World History

What will you learn?

Over these four weeks, you will learn from ACU faculty Dr. Ron Morgan, dialoguing with leaders, thinkers, and producers from all corners of the globe.

Topics (in 7 Modules):

  • The work of the historian: the questions they ask, the methods they apply
  • A periodization of the modern world: key turning points and change over time
  • Major historical figures and movements, technological shifts, global interactions that were both creative and conflictive


Final course grades will be determined by:

  • General Quizzes over course content –20%
  • Discussion Posts and student interactions about Primary Historical Written sources –30%
  • Analysis of Primary Historical artifacts (pottery, a drum, silver coins, etc.) – 20%
  • Map Study: Shifting national borders – 5%
  • Data Study: Demography of the Atlantic Slave Trade over 300+ years – 5%
· Final essay exam over major themes (e.g., the World Wars) – 20%


Introduction to the Course: Interpretive Framework & Historical Methodology

The course begins with attention to how historians approach their work before turning to an exercise in historical methodology.


Travelers Famous and Anonymous: Origins of the Early Modern World

Travelers were connecting the globe prior to Christopher Columbus. We get to know a few of those individuals: a European Catholic, a north African Muslim, a Chinese navigator. Then we consider the forced migration of millions of anonymous travelers.


Emancipations in the Atlantic World

The ideas of the Enlightenment spurred calls for “liberty” in North America, France, the Caribbean, and Spain’s colonies. And new readings of Christian scriptures contributed to moral calls for the end to slave trafficking in the Atlantic.


The European Moment in World History, 1750-1914

Innovations in technology and energy resources spurred the Industrial Revolution in Europe. New wealth and technological superiority allowed industrial powers (including the U.S.) to rise to a new position of dominance worldwide.


China, Japan and the West to the 1930s

One Chinese writer opined in 1898: “It is a principle that the new is strong but the old is weak.” This unit juxtaposes the very different fortunes of China and Japan, especially after the 1850s, and asks questions about why that occurred.


The Generation of the World Wars

Combustive forces that had been growing more intense during the late 19th century erupted, both in Europe and East Asia, in destructive wars that had reshaped the global order by 1945 and introduced new threats to human security and well-being.


Global Themes since 1945

The Cold War became the defining factor shaping not only U.S.-Soviet relations, but cultural, political and economic developments in every corner of the globe. With its demise in 1990, one scholar who sought to explain global events in the post-Cold War era described the moment as a “clash of civilizations.”

Female business professional taking a break from work, Bachelor of Science in Marketing - ACU alumni

Stay up to date with ACU admissions for events, contests and a glimpse into a day in the life of an ACU student

Instagram: @welcometoacu 

TikTok: @welcometoacu

YouTube: @youtube/acu

outdoor chapel

One of America’s Best Colleges

Best in the WestThis year, U.S. News & World Report, in its annual “Best Colleges” list, ranked ACU as #2 in “Most Innovative” and #16 in “Best Regional Universities” in the West and #9 in “Learning Communities” nationally. 

ACU students on campus

In our more than 116 year history, Abilene Christian University’s commitment to and excellence in education has been recognized by numerous organizations and publications. ACU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Additionally, our ACU Online programs have paved the way for top academic success.