Students have lots of questions about college planning, and some CAA clients have recently asked whether they should take Advanced Placement (AP) or Dual Enrollment classes. They want to know the difference, which class colleges would rather see on their transcript, and ultimately, which is right for them. So, let’s discuss.   AP classes are meant to provide high school students with college-level coursework—something a bit more advanced than regular and Honors courses. There are over 30 courses available and the teachers must be AP certified to teach the specific class. In addition to the course, AP Exams are held every May, which can earn students a score of 1-5. Students that receive a score of three or higher can earn college credit at participating colleges. Anyone can take AP exams, which is good to know if you are home schooled or your high school does not offer AP or any other advanced coursework.   Dual Enrollment classes are college classes that also satisfy your high school graduation requirements. They are usually taught at a local community or junior college campus by a college professor, which means a change of scenery from the halls of your high school. Sometimes these classes are taught at your high school if teachers have the right credentials.  If you pass the class you earn high school and college credit. The best part—credits earned may be transferred to your bachelor’s degree program.  However, the participating college will use their transfer policy to determine how (and in rare cases, if) to apply your credit.   The strength of your high school curriculum is a very important factor in the college admissions process and taking classes like AP and Dual Enrollment shows admissions officers that you are ready for the challenges of college-level work. This means that colleges are likely to be happy with either option. However, don’t overdo a good thing!  CAA suggests that students considering a moderately difficult school take at least three AP or Dual Enrollment classes during high school and those considering one of the more selective colleges in the country (e.g. Harvard, Yale, etc.) should take at least eight.   Colleges are looking for students who take the most challenging courses available to them but also expect them to excel in those courses. Choose classes that appeal to you the most and be prepared for a challenge! To determine which is right for you, talk with your parents, high school guidance counselor, and/or the AP teacher/coordinator about your desire to stretch your educational boundaries.  And, if you’re a CAA client, give us a call.  We’d be happy to discuss your goals and options.

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