I received the following question on Facebook:
Is Dual Enrollment a better option than AP classes?
Great question! There is a growing trend to earn college credit early, but we should always step back and ask ourselves which tools best fits our circumstances (or if early credit even makes sense for your situation).
To best understand this question I want to quickly summarize what each of these tools are:
Dual Enrollment: Where you take a college course while still in high school, with the goal of earning both high school and college credit.
AP Classes: An advanced, college-level high school course created by College Board that is designed to prepare you to take an AP exam and possibly earn college credit.
AP Exams: A test that is designed to be taken at the end of
It's important to realize that while both of these tools have become increasingly popular, they still are very specialized college prep tools that are not required and do not make sense for...
There is a growing trend to utilize credit by examination, whether that's AP exams or CLEP tests or other tools like DSST exams.
But just because something is a trend doesn't mean it makes sense for you!
Here we'll take a look at the difference between the two exams and then some criteria for you to determine if these tools make sense for you:
College Board made a big announcement in January that they were going to be discontinuing the SAT Subject Tests, discontinuing the optional SAT essay, and also that they were going to continue working towards a digitally delivered version of the SAT.
What does this mean?
Dropped Subject Tests
The SAT Subject Tests were exams over individual subject areas that were used to supplement the primary SAT in the application process. Unlike the AP or CLEP tests, the SAT Subject Tests did not offer the possibility of earning students college credit.
The reality is fewer colleges have been requiring/recommending the SAT Subject tests anyways, with the ones who have been using the tests primarily being top-tier schools. So for most schools, this part of the announcement will not matter. College Board made this as a business decision, reflecting the fact that the demand for these tests was no longer there (amplified all the more by the COVID challenges to testing availability).
One of my recommendations if you decide to attempt credit by examination (using AP or CLEP tests) is to get a prep book (or online resource) and work through the book while completing your related high school subject.
With it being January and the start of a new semester, it's a great time to start preparing for the tests.
I won't get into the details about the AP & CLEP here, but rather want to point you to some awesome resources to help you be ready!
NOTE: though there are definite differences in the exam formats, resources to help you prepare for the AP can typically be used to prep for the CLEP and vice versa.
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