Dual Enrollment VS Advanced Placement

By: Priscilla Castro Sanchez and Kelci Grooms

Many high school students as they advance in their years tend to also advance in their school, taking on new or harder classes such as Advanced Placement (AP). However, many students also prefer to take on Dual Enrollment (DE). Dual Enrollment is taking college classes while still attending high school in order to obtain college credits at an earlier age. For many reasons, it could also be the better option. 

Advanced Placement (AP) classes are very similar to Dual Enrollment (DE) and are still good to take in high school. But DE is the smarter option. Less classes in college are required to be taken with dual- enrollment, therefore, it will save you on college costs. You’ll also be more likely to attend and graduate from college, as well as getting a jump start on your degree to enter the workforce sooner because of having most of your college classes out of the way. A study done in 2017 by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) reported that “80% of students who earned dual-enrollment credits in high school attended college.”  Dual enrollment courses include Humanities, English, Science, Social Studies, and more. DE also looks great on college applications. 

With having half of college already done in high school, it’ll be a breeze entering your new semester because you’ve been prepared, you have real-world experience, and not as many classes to balance with out already hectic schedule. That’s why dual-enrollment is the smarter option and although it is a bit more challenging, it’s definitely worth it.  

For years, students have been wondering whether Advanced Placement classes or Dual Enrollment is right for them. Although both can have many benefits to a high school student, Advanced Placement can be better for students because it allows students to acclimate to a college workload, while gaining a credit that is more universally accepted by colleges compared to Dual Enrollment. Advanced Placement classes are also more helpful for students who want to show off a specific academic strength, or learn more about a special interest. 

        AP gives students an advantage because colleges see it as a challenge. They signal to colleges that a student is taking the most challenging courses their school offers. Many colleges also believe AP courses achieve this goal better, because an AP class can be seen as more challenging than an intro-level college course. Colleges also prefer how AP can be judged on a more consistent scale, the national exam, whereas dual enrollment can be a bit more difficult to measure. It is not universal for colleges to accept DE, especially from students who live out-of-state. 

AP classes can also be more convenient for students. Generally, AP classes are taught at the high school students go to. This is different from dual enrollment courses, which are usually taught at a local community college. AP classes are also taught during the school day, unlike DE which can be taught early in the morning or late at night. This may require students to be spending extra time at school outside of their normal schedule.

AP classes are also useful for showing off specific academic skills a student may possess. For example, if a student is strong in science, taking an advanced placement science classes such as AP Biology and scoring well on the exam will show college admissions committees their skills. There are also many specialized AP classes available for students to explore a special interest. These classes include: computer science, psychology, music theory, art history, and more.

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