Preparing for the future: AP classes versus dual credit courses


Laci Roberts

Students have to make the decision to take AP or dual enrolment classes for college credit

Laci Roberts, Copy Editor

When looking to receive college credit in high school there are many options that a student can take, such as Advanced Placement (AP) classes or college classes. Each choice has a different impact on a student’s future.

AP classes are a form of college credit for high schoolers. This class,  created by the College Board, leads to a test at the end of the year. The score on this placement exam can determine if a student can receive college credit for the class.

Around 60% of all high schools in the US offer AP classes to their students. These classes are made to help students receive some higher-level learning in high school. The exams are not required but do take place in May at a cost of $94.

AP classes relate to college credit by allowing students to “test out” of a class and therefore skip it in college. The test is scored on a five-point scale and different colleges require different scores to skip a class. These tests and classes do not affect a student’s college GPA.

College classes taken in high school are a little bit of a different story. These classes are normally taken through a surrounding community college. For college credit classes at PV, they are taken through Scott Community College.

The grade that a student receives in this class is put on their respective college transcript. Therefore, the work a student puts in in high school can dramatically affect their college career. If a student drops this class after a certain point it can go in as a withdrawal on their college transcript. This can affect scholarship opportunities in the future.

Even with this drawback there are a ton of advantages to a college class. These classes count as a college class without an outside final test. An advantage of these classes is to get started on college in high school and to save some money in the future.

Mike Zimmer, the director of secondary education for Pleasant Valley, evaluates both sides when looking at AP classes versus college classes Iowa’s three main public universities. “Iowa State University College of Engineering recommends taking AP Calc A/B but as a high-quality preparatory Calculus class for their Engineering courses. They do not want AP used to ‘skip’ any of their courses,” explained Zimmer.

For another Iowa school Zimmer stated, “On the other hand, the University of Northern Iowa will accept an AP Language/Comp score of 3 to fulfill one of their general education requirements after the student pays a course conversion fee.” A student can decide if they want to take an AP course or a college class by looking at the schools they are interested in and seeing what best fits.

Senior Madeline Budan believes doing research is crucial when choosing what type of course to take. “I have taken both AP and college classes in my high school career. When deciding on what to take I would make sure that the person knows what they are getting into,” Budan said.

The classes students take in high school can significantly impact their future and college career. It is important for students to understand the different ways these classes can help them as they move forward in their academic career.