Preparing for College, AP vs Dual Enrollment

AP Courses versus Dual Enrollment Courses: Decide for Yourself

I am in an Advanced Placement Workshop in Chapel Hill, NC and boy have I been enlightened. Being a proponent of Dual Enrollment for years, after this workshop, I have changed my mind. FYI: Dual enrollment students are students enrolled in high school while also taking a few community college courses at the same time. AP students are enrolled in advanced high school courses where they could earn a college credit by scoring 3 or higher on their exams.

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So I felt it was my duty to share with parents and students of Middle and High school the advantage of AP courses. I mentioned middle school so that they could start thinking ahead because the GPA from 8th grade could help qualify or disqualify students for an AP course in 9th grade.

AP Information

  1. Advance Placement courses provides greater educational outcomes for student. Did you know that when students apply to college, having AP courses listed on their transcripts makes them more competitive?
  2. Ap students who score 3 or higher on exams, are more likely than dual enrollment students to earn a college degree within four years, which could save students/families time and money in the long run. Did you know that when students have a choice between going to a community college to take a basic “core” classes or a high school AP core course, the AP course will provide more rigor? This is huge because AP courses was made to prepare students to think more critically, and complete challenging assignments.
  3. AP students have higher college GPAs than dual enrollment students.  Did you know that if an admission team is looking at a dual enrollment student versus an AP students’ transcript, the AP student will look more appealing because of the level of rigor in AP courses?

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What the critics say!

  1. Why should my child take an AP course when they can go ahead and take a core class at the community college and have it count as a college credit automatically? My answer: You should have your child take the AP course because it is more rigorous, it will look better to college admission teams, and statistically AP students will finish college on time due to being able to handle more challenging material.
  2. Wouldn’t a college be more likely to take a dual enrollment student over an AP student, since the dual enrollment student has already taken basic community college courses? My answer: No! There are a lot of admission teams (who wouldn’t admit it in public 😉 and research that shows that most dual enrollment students still has to be remediated once they enter college where as, AP students do not. (This even includes the ones who score under 3 on their exams) because of their rigorous curriculum.

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AP Student Takeaways

  1. AP Students who score a 3 or higher on the exam will get to count that credit as a college credit.
  2. AP Students who score under a 3 on the exam will get to have it on their transcript which will still help with college admissions.
  3. AP students have a higher success rate to complete college on time.
  4. AP students are more likely to out-perform dual enrollment students their first year in college.

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AP Exam and Curriculum Takeaways

  1. Courses and exams are developed by representatives from colleges and universities across the nation and align with standards set by well respected liberal arts and research institutions.
  2. AP teachers’ syllabi go a review by college faculty ensuring consistency in quality and expectations across AP courses.
  3. AP exams provides a standard means of comparison between AP courses nationwide.
  4. AP exams provide external validation of teaching and learning in the classroom. The exams are scores by college professors and expert teachers, not the students’ personal teacher.

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AP vs Dual Enrollment Programs

Dual enrollment programs do not have any external measures, such as a standardized assessment to measure and ensure consistency in quality. It is for this reason it is difficult for admission officers and college faculty to gauge the quality of any given dual enrollment course. http://www.ncappartnership.org/ap-research.html

Access to challenging work is essential for college and career readiness. So parents and students, consider AP classes, you will not regret it, it will only benefit you!

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It is the belief that students should challenge themselves and take courses for which they are academically prepared and motivated. ~College Board

 

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