This academic year is half over. If you have not already started thinking about classes for next year, you will soon. There are a lot of options available to you, AP and Dual Enrollment included. Not familiar with those? Let me help you out.
What are they?
Advanced Placement (AP) is a nationwide curriculum created by The College Board. These are classes that are designed to be more rigorous, so you’ll need to plan more study time. Some advisors will suggest that you only take one or two each year. Typically, these classes are open to juniors and seniors in high school, although I took my first AP class as a sophomore. There is an exam offered at the end of the AP class, and your test score is shared with your high school and the colleges you select.
Dual Enrollment, sometimes called Dual Credit, is where you take a college course and get college credit while you are still in high school. These classes typically replace the course offered at your high school. Sophomores, juniors and seniors are usually eligible, but I know a young lady who is enrolled in two of these as a high school freshman. Don’t miss this detail: this is a college class and you will be expected to perform at that level.
How can I enroll?
With both programs, enrollment typically starts at your high school. You will want to talk to someone in your counseling office about your academic goals. It helps them to know where you will attend college and what you plan to major in. Don’t worry, you are not locked into these decisions. It just helps make sure you get into the right classes.
If your school does not offer the AP class you want, don’t fret. You can contact The College Board and ask if the AP class you want is offered as an internet course. This has become more popular over the years as rural schools seek to expand their course offerings.
If you are interested in Dual Enrollment but are having issues at your high school, you still have an option. Contact the college nearest you, community colleges are your best bet, and ask if they have anything to offer. If you have already picked a university to attend, contact them and ask what they suggest. A few schools have started offering their own intro courses to students who have applied early.
What’s in it for me?
With AP, the college you decide to attend may give you credit for entry-level classes based on your score on the exam. Ask your college about special perks for AP students, I was able to register early for classes, and I had a friend who got into the dorm he wanted because of his test scores. There are also scholarships available to you based on your performance and major.
Dual-enrollment is college credit, so just about every school will transfer in those credits. This means you don’t need to take some first-year intro classes, and you don’t have to pay for them! You are at the mercy of the college’s transfer protocol, so it’s wise to check with the college before you enroll. It is rare that they don’t transfer.
Why not take them?
For starters, the academic load is greater. You may not be ready for this level yet, your counselor can help you figure that out. If you are already in a college prep program you may not be eligible for these types of courses.
Cost is always something to think about. Consider the cost of the class when taking Dual Enrollment courses as well as the materials cost. There may also be transportation costs if you have to travel to the college to take the course. With AP, you might be on the hook for the cost of the exam at the end of the class. For those who qualify, there are scholarships available from many organizations and government entities to help you with both AP and Dual Enrollment costs.
You’ll want to consider the effect of these classes on college scholarships. This is something that surprised me in my research, but a number of students found out that they were not eligible for many scholarships because they completed Dual Enrollment classes. Because they had college credit they were not considered a “first-year” student. Some had enough credits to be a sophomore, but that meant they were not eligible for freshmen scholarships. Colleges are adapting their policies to prevent this, but don’t wait to find out, ask your college rep ASAP.
There you have it, what you need to know about AP and Dual Enrollment. They are great opportunities for you to show how smart and talented you are and get you better prepared for college. Stay connected to EducationQuest for tips on how to be successful.