The stress of deciding between AP or dual enrollment


Libby Kamp

Senior Raania Ahmad is studying for her dual enrollment classes in hopes of preparing herself well in college.

Libby Kamp , Sports Editor

Every school year, high school students take the time to choose their future courses that will set up their education not only for that year, but beyond high school. Advanced Placement (AP) and dual enrollment classes are both popular options that closely resemble, or are even identical, to college courses. Schools across the country offer such courses that can earn college credit, and PV is no exception. PVHS strongly suggests and recommends their students get an early start towards expediting college education. 

With the similarities the different course options share, it can be difficult to determine whether AP or dual credit courses are more beneficial. Many students are left with one overarching question: Which is the better option?

Dual credit courses tend to lead high schoolers to earlier success in education. These courses are provided to all students, usually with minimal prerequisites. Some dual enrollment courses are taught by college professors rather than high school educators.

Camryn Woods, a  PV graduate from the class of 2022, is a first year engineering student at Anderson University in South Carolina who took dual credit classes while in high school. “I would recommend dual enrollment classes as they have a higher acceptance rate for a variety of colleges. Some schools only have a minimum score requirement on AP exams making it harder.”

Although dual enrollment classes tend to be a better option for college, it can be hard to integrate them into students’ schedules. 

Taking AP courses gives students’ the opportunity to step into a reality life in college. With the heavy workload, students’ have the chance to prepare themselves for their future education. These courses also give students’ the chance to raise their GPA before heading to college. 

On the other hand, AP classes are standardized,  allowing students to easily fit them into their school day. Although some AP classes at PVHS may require students to have prerequisites, that’s no reason to disregard their benefits. 

AP classes spend the whole semester covering material for one exam that covers the entire course material. But is it worth the stress to study for one test the entire year just to have no guarantee that you will earn a passing score?

Woods recounted her experience with  taking AP classes and their corresponding tests, especially the stress that ensued. “Dual enrollment classes made me feel like I was learning more about the content rather than my AP classes, which were spending the whole semester studying and cramming for one test.” 

Although  the knowledge that AP classes are extremely difficult and one test determines whether a student will receive college credit,  PV English teacher Robyn Samuelson believes that, with dedication and hard work, AP courses can be valuable. 

As someone who teaches both dual enrollment and AP courses, Samuelson also noticed that students who come in with motivation and  are willing to work hard tend to have a higher success rate in both pathways. “Success in AP courses can be a huge booster to self-confidence.”

AP and dual enrollment courses are both good opportunities for high school students to get ahead while preparing for college. With meticulous dedication and work, both can give students a bright future. Even though learning can be different in both environments, a student who is eager to learn will be able to succeed in either path.

However, it is important that students can recognize which course environments best suit their needs and educational goals. With this knowledge, students can escape the stress of deciding between AP and dual credit classes.