AP vs Dual Enrollment

AP vs Dual Enrollment

Aileen Resendiz

Signing up for classes is usually something that you pay no mind to; you sign up for whatever will get you the credits you need, and maybe something that sounds like it won’t be so much of a drag. However, for high-achieving students, choosing your classes is more like a process than anything else. Should you take that extra honors or AP class? Will the classes you choose have too much of a workload? How will these classes look to colleges? Should you take that dual class for college credit, or should you take that AP class to show that you’ve pushed yourself and can apply all that you’ve learned?


AP or dual is a dilemma that most honors students have to face. For example, when they get to Junior year, they have to choose whether they’d do ENH 110 or AP Literature and Composition. So when it comes down to AP vs dual, which is really the better class for you to take?


There are pros and cons to weigh when you make your choice. One thing most students consider when deciding between the two is their difficulty. For this criteria, AP clearly seems to be the harder option.


“The two classes are different, but AP is more rigorous than dual enrollment,” Ms. Borchers, an ENH 110 teacher here at Ridge, states. “This is specifically because dual enrollment courses are meant for all students whereas AP is intended for more advanced students.”


AP courses are aimed specifically for advanced students. If you have always been an honors student and plan to continue that trend throughout high school, then AP might be the way to go. However, if you’re more interested in taking a class that will get you college credit, dual seems to be the option for you. At least, it is in regards to dual’s level of difficulty.


Something that the two course types have in common is that money is usually involved in both. To get credit for an AP class, you’ll have to pay for the AP test, and this is slightly less than $100. So, if you really want your AP class to count, you’ll have to pay that amount for each class. It’s good to keep that in mind when making your schedule. However dual is more expensive, costing you around $255 for 3 credits, and a fee of $15 per semester.

AP may be more difficult than dual, but it can be much cheaper per class.


On the topics of tests and credits, it should be kept in mind that the AP test has much higher stakes than a dual enrollment class.


“Some kids take dual because they know it’s almost a guaranteed college credit. With AP, you only get the college credit if you pass the AP exam,” states Mr. Sabel, an AP English teacher at Ridge.


You must pass the AP test to earn credit for the whole course. So, even if you did well during the school year, you have to make sure that you do well on the test. Whereas for dual, you are guaranteed college credit, as long as you pass with at least a C.


Besides the lower stakes of dual enrollment classes, there are some more advantages to dual. The most obvious one being that you can complete college credits in high school, potentially shortening the amount of time you’ll spend in college. In a way, you’ll actually be paying a much cheaper cost for college credit than if you went to a typical American university. But, AP can be helpful with college as well.


“…these courses [AP] prepare you for college level work where much of the learning is placed back on the student as their responsibility,” says Mr. Rosinbum, one of our school’s AP US History (APUSH) teachers.


In the end, it’s not just about how these classes will look on your transcripts and how well they’ll prepare you for college. It’s more about you than anything else. Do you want something that’s not too difficult, but colleges will still happily welcome? Dual is your way, as long as you don’t forget about the cost of it! Do you want colleges to see that you are ready for a challenge? AP seems like the obvious choice; just remember you have to do well on the test or else it won’t count for anything! So, it all really comes down to your resources, your drive, and what you want when it comes to college. Don’t forget that it’s about you, so do what is best for you.