AP classes or dual enrollment?

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AP classes or dual enrollment?

Harper Wood, North Staff Writer

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College is an insanely stressful thing to think about for the majority of high school students. It seems both hauntingly close and impossibly far away. It is the next step in education and in life, and many students struggle to make decisions for their future and achieve the credits and requirements they need or want to get into and succeed in the colleges of their choice.

One decision students face is what advanced classes to take, if any. Schools such as North offer both AP classes and dual enrollment.

AP classes are advanced placement, college level classes in the high school. In addition to preparing students for more difficult college coursework and looking good on college applications, AP classes can help students earn college credits and skip introductory classes in university. This can help students save a good amount of money by providing them the opportunity to take fewer introductory classes with steep costs.

There is one qualifier on these benefits, though. Students can only receive college credits and many of the other benefits of AP courses if they score well on a test: the AP exam at the end of the year. One test is the difference between the benefits of a full year of difficult studies and complete squandering of a student’s hard work. Additionally, some colleges require scores higher on the AP tests’ 1-5 range, demanding students must not only pass with a three, but earn a four or a five to get credit in college for the class.

Dual enrollment classes are college courses that students in high school can take. This is sometimes called concurrent enrollment, and it offers students the opportunity to take real college courses for college credit, which can help them save time and money later. Students are required to pass the course to get this credit, but it doesn’t hinge on a single exam. Concurrent enrollment provides a fairly genuine college experience for students and makes a good transition.

There are, as always, some drawbacks. Certain colleges will not accept credits from dual enrollment while they will accept AP credits, and vice versa. Additionally, grades in concurrent classes are college grades, and will go on a student’s college record.

The general consensus seems to be that neither AP classes nor dual enrollment classes are more beneficial to students. It depends greatly on the colleges the student is interested in attending, and what classes those colleges are more likely to value or accept credit for. A student should probably consider their interests and consult a counselor about what courses would be best for them.

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