What is a Dual Enrollment Class?

by | Sep 7, 2023


High school for many students is overwhelming when it comes to the choices in classes for students. It’s the first time where you can fill your schedule up with classes that you wish to take. While perusing the class list, I’m sure you have noticed the dual enrollment category for classes. We will be answering the question: what is a dual enrollment class, as well as what separates it from other classes that are available.

What Exactly is Dual Enrollment?

Dual enrollment features some distinct advantages over other classes like advanced placement. Before we begin lets first define dual enrollment classes. Tea.texas.gov defines a dual enrollment class as:

“… [a] system in which an eligible high school student enrolls in college course(s) and receives credit for the course(s) from both the college and high school”.

These classes allow you to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. These courses award college credit based on class completion instead of a test like how AP classes are structured. Each dual enrollment classroom has both a high school certified teacher and a college certified teacher. This presents a unique learning environment for the student, which can be offered in a variety of different ways. Depending on the class setup, students can take it online, at a local college, or at your school. Upon completion of the class, you are given a transcript from the college you took the course with.

Dual Enrollment Vs. Advanced Placement

Advanced placement classes are more common in most high schools. As early as middle school, students can begin taking pre-AP classes which is a great way to get prepped for the upcoming jump to AP classes. AP classes are very different with the presentation of material as the courses are ran by the college board. AP classes also have the most compatibility with universities when looking to get college credit. This is because most universities work with the college board on credits obtained in the AP classes. This is stark in contrast to dual enrollment classes where instead, the class is ran by the college you are taking it through. This means upon completing the dual enrollment class, you are given a college transcript!

The downside of AP classes is that they put a larger emphasis on passing the “AP test“. This exam is different from other exams you take in the class. The AP exam is taken at the end of the school year which tests you on all content learned in the course. The exam is scored based on a 1 – 5 scale with 5 being the best. The downside to an AP course is that college credit is only granted on passing the exam with a 3 or higher. This means that a student making an A in the class can still fail the exam and not get credit. The dual enrollment class voids this risk by awarding college credit upon passing the class.

Should I Take a Dual Enrollment Class?

Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and where you see yourself going after high school. If your plans are to attend a big university, It’s a good idea to consider the transfer requirements. This is important as you want to make sure that the university you hope to attend would accept the transfer credits. If they do not, you may want to consider an AP class instead.

If your plan is to attend a community college after high school, a dual enrollment class is the best option. When staying local, you’re probably looking into attending the college that the dual enrollment class is being taught from. This eliminates the risk of not being able to transfer credits as most community colleges accept the most variety of transfer credits.

It is a great option for many students that wish to get ahead on their college credits while in high school. It is less stressful than advanced placement classes and is more accurate to how a real college curriculum is taught. The downside is that not all universities accept transfer credits from community colleges. It’s important to do the research beforehand to make sure the credits you obtain would follow you to another college or university when transferring.

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