Dual Enrollment vs. AP

“Should I take Dual Enrollment or AP” is a common question
asked by juniors and seniors when choosing classes, but what really is the difference between to two courses?
Both AP and Dual Enrollment classes serve as a way for students to earn college credits before graduating from high school. The main difference between the two is that AP requires you to take and pass an exam to receive credit; while in Dual Enrollment, you must earn a C or higher to receive PVCC credit.
“The rigor for the two classes is very similar, we [ask the students for] a lot of the same kind of homework,” history teacher Ted Thill said, who teaches both AP and the Dual Enrollment courses.
AP and Dual Enrollment classes are different than regular classes because they are taught as college courses, according to Thill.
Many students, before signing up to take an AP or Dual Enrollment class, are unsure which to take and wonder, which one is better? “Often, AP courses and Dual Enrollment courses are held in the same regard by a school, both are seen as the best available courses,” UVA Assistant Dean of Admission Pierce Coughter said via email.
In addition, students also wonder which class they would perform better in. In AP, teachers focus more on skills for the AP exam such as short answer questions that are open answer and higher level opposed to Dual Enrollment which does not, according to Thill.
To some students, it is more important to be guaranteed credit and in addition, to not have to worry about the end of the year exam. “[I didn’t take AP] because I didn’t want to take the AP test,” junior Lauren Love said.
Students should also consider how they perform on high stakes testing since colleges are now decreasing their acceptances of AP courses. “Most schools are shifting to systems where you have to get higher scores to get credit, fours and fives,” Thill said.
Students should also consider other classes they may be taking and the workload that will come with them. “[In AP U.S. History] we outline about one chapter every week and a half or so and that can take me a long time, four to six hours,” junior Catie Grebe said.
Colleges do like to see AP and Dual Enrollment classes on college applications because it shows that the student is willing to push themselves beyond the regular curriculum. “We’re looking for students to challenge themselves with the most rigorous coursework available to them at their institutions,” Coughter said.