Should I Take AP Or Dual Enrollment Courses?


By Dr. Tracy Jackson, Supervisor of Counseling and Guidance. Follow her on twitter or on her blog: The Extraordinary School Counselor!

Its course request time! In many high schools across America this time of year is all about selecting courses for next school year. One common question I hear is should I take Advanced Placement (AP) courses or Dual Enrollment (DE) courses? The honest answer is…there is no right or wrong answer. It all depends upon the learner.

What is Advanced Placement?

Advanced Placement courses are undergraduate or college-level courses taught by your high school teachers at your high school. All AP teachers receive the same training and teach the same content all around the country. This is beneficial if you plan on transferring schools, as you should not have a problem entering the course at your new school.

APs College Benefits

Once you complete an AP course, you have the option to take the AP test for that specific subject area for a fee. Many colleges will accept your AP test score if you earn a 3, 4, or 5 on the test. If they accept the score, they will either give you elective credit for the course or regular credit. Either way, that is one less course you have to take when enrolled in college. Which score they accept, however, differs from college to college; so it is best to check with the institution before you automatically assume you will receive credit. Many experts say that just taking an AP course and the AP test is the best preparation you can receive before attending college.

What is Dual Enrollment?

Dual Enrollment courses are undergraduate or college-level courses taught by your high school teachers at your high school or by college instructors at your high school or at the local college/university. So you may or may not be in classes with your fellow classmates. You could potentially be in classes with other college freshman. DE courses differ from institution to institution and from instructor to instructor, so if you transfer to or from another school, the content may or may not be the same. Also, there is usually a fee (tuition) associated with DE courses. The exams in DE courses are made up by the instructor, based on what you learned during the semester. Moreover, since DE classes are typically only 1 semesters long, you may have to take two DE course to equal one high school credit.

DE’s College Benefits

The great thing about DE courses is that you really are a college student! At the end of the class, you will receive a college transcript with your grade and grade point average. If you do not plan to enroll in the college or university from where you completed the DE course, you will need to check if another college or university will accept the transfer credit.

Either way, you cannot lose by taking an AP or DE course. They are both great options for preparing you for the demands of college coursework and potentially saving you money by allowing you to earn college credit in high school.



TracyJackson-4x5Dr. Tracy L. Jackson is the Supervisor of Counseling and Guidance for a major NY school district. She has been a school counselor since 1997 with experience at the elementary, middle & high school levels. Dr. Jackson has provided numerous presentations to parents and students on college and career readiness.