Dual Enrollment v. AP Classes- Which is better?


Ashleigh Stemple, Staff Writer

Dual Enrollment vs. AP

One of the main reasons high school students take AP classes is to get college credit. Yes, it offers an interesting challenge, and students tend to learn more in those classes, but the usual reason is that AP takes away some of the classes that are required in college. However, dual enrollment can offer the same opportunities. So, which one is better: AP or dual enrollment?

AP tests and scores have been drilled into the minds of basically every high school student. Teachers are always telling their students that colleges will only look for high AP scores on transcripts, but this isn’t always necessarily true. According to an article written by College Express, the majority of “college applications do not require or request AP exam scores.” These colleges will recognize that you’ve taken rigorous classes, but most don’t necessarily look for high scores on the AP test.

Unlike AP, dual enrollment doesn’t require a test that students take at the end of the course. All students need to do to receive college credit for the course that they’re taking is to pass the class. Dual enrollment will also introduce high school students to college-level coursework, as well as offer classes that may not be available in high school, as stated by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC).

On the other hand, most dual enrollment classes are located on a college campus, and students will have to leave their school to attend these classes, unless this course is taken online. AP classes are offered on campus for high school students, which is an added benefit. Dual enrollment also doesn’t add the same rigor as do AP classes; AP allows for students to think analytically, while dual enrollment doesn’t offer that same challenge.

A local high school student voiced her opinion on which classes she prefers. Alexandra Ashcraft, a student from Forsyth Central High School, said that she had taken an AP class before, but had never taken dual enrollment courses.

“[I prefer] AP because I’ve heard that dual enrollment [classes] are easier than AP classes, and AP has more rigor, which prepares you for college,” Ashcraft explained.

She continued, saying that students usually only take AP and dual enrollment classes to get college credit. She also believes that whether a college prefers to see AP classes or dual enrollment classes on a transcript depends on the college.

There is, however, a disadvantage in both courses: cost. Dual enrollment classes aren’t free, although some courses are offered without a fee. Usually, though, a student will have to pay a certain amount of money to take these classes. Some classes cost around seventy-five dollars, while others can cost up to four hundred, according to Education Week. AP classes don’t cost any money, but the AP exam does. AP exams cost ninety-four dollars per exam, as stated by the College Board. If a student is taking more than one of these exams, they will be paying at least two hundred dollars. However, Georgia does pay for one STEM class exam, so some students who are taking a STEM class won’t have to pay to take that exam.

Whether a student will choose AP classes or dual enrollment, they both offer a similar approach to introducing a student to college-level requirements, which will inevitably help them to lead a successful future. AP offers a challenging rigor that allows for a more realistic approach to college life, while dual enrollment allows students to comfortably switch from a high school student’s mindset to that of a college student’s.