Opinion: Dual Enrollment Is Better than Advanced Placement

"Hope College - Graves Hall" by Leo Herzog is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Henri Holland-Anderson, Writer

Advanced Placement (AP) classes are widely considered as the best and cheapest option for high school students to earn some college credit and prepare for college, but are they really worth it?

AP classes are an opportunity for high school students to earn college credit by taking a college level course and taking a test at the end of the year. The score you earn on the test determines whether or not you receive credit for a college course, depending on the university you choose to attend.

While Black River students are generally familiar with AP classes, there is a lesser-known alternative to AP classes: dual enrollment. Dual enrollment is a way to take advanced classes that a school doesn’t offer through the AP program. However, I believe it should be the first option for students. It involves taking real college classes, typically through a nearby college or online. 

Dual enrollment is a better way to earn college credits than AP, and there are many reasons, beyond basic academic ones.

Part of the allure of taking AP classes is that the tests are cheap, as they cost only $94 dollars. However, what most people do not know is that there are scholarships for dual-enrolled students, making the price of college classes more attainable. Hope College, a local liberal arts college, will offer up to 50% off the price of a college class, making the total cost anywhere from $250 to $1000.  

Additionally, price should not be a limiting factor, given the benefits of taking college classes.

Senior Maddy Ruhl states that, when compared to AP classes, college classes are easier to get credit in because “you don’t have to cram for a big test.” They also have “less homework” and “go at the pace of the professor.” She said she preferred this over AP classes, where a certain amount of content had to be learned before the big test. 

She went on to say that there are other benefits to taking college classes because “you can learn what college life is before you go to college and experience the atmosphere of a college class before you have to attend a college full time.” Learning how college classes run and how college students approach them gives dual enrollment students a critical perspective on college prior to their freshman year.

There are simply more benefits of taking college classes. The entire point of AP classes is to prepare students for college, and what better to do that than taking real college classes, where there are more options and the credit is based on your grade in the class, not just on one massive test.