Schools across the country offer dual enrollment and concurrent enrollment programs to encourage more high school students to continue their education after graduation. College credit is earned while they’re still in high school, so it’s not just a taste of what it’s like to be in college. Graduating high school with 20 or 30 college credits is not uncommon.

In addition to lowering total education costs and increasing GPAs in their first year of college, these programs have the potential to accelerate students’ completion of their undergraduate degrees and get them accepted into graduate school more quickly. On the downside, a high school junior may not be college-ready because of a lack of exposure to the core curriculum.

Additionally, many parents are unsure if dual enrollment or regular AP classes are the best options for their children’s future.

Does It Make A Difference?

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For high school students, there are a variety of strategies to prepare for college. AP, Dual Enrollment, Concurrent Enrollment, and even the International Baccalaureate (IB) are all available, as are some schools’ IB courses. Determine which classes are most useful for your student with this information.

Advanced Placement (AP)

The College Board also creates and administers the SAT and SAT Subject Tests and oversees AP classes. Because the program’s headquarters are in the United States, the majority of schools and universities there accept AP courses as part of their demanding and college-level curriculum.

These classes often require more work, independent learning, and higher-level thinking than traditional high school courses. At the end of the course, students are given a final exam to demonstrate their understanding of a specific topic.

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There are several universities that require students to score at least four out of five on an AP exam in order to be considered for admission.

Only a 5 is accepted for college credit at some schools, and no AP courses are accepted for credit at some of the most prestigious institutions. While these courses are expected to be on a student’s transcript by admissions staff at these colleges, they are not required.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

The Worldwide Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program is international for teenagers aged 16 to 19, but it is less widespread in American high schools than AP courses.4 Interdisciplinarity is a key component of this approach since it aims to foster mutual respect and understanding between people from different cultural backgrounds. To graduate from an IB program, students must complete two years of curriculum and acquire an IB diploma.

Learn how to do research and serve your community as part of the program. Most college admissions officers advise IB students to finish the entire program to obtain their diplomas.

Dual/Concurrent Credit

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When a student completes a dual or concurrent credit course, they receive college credit for the work they have done. Most dual credit courses require students to enroll at a local community college and attend the courses online or in person. In the meantime, certified teachers often take concurrent credit courses in high school.

Suppose you’re taking a dual or concurrent credit class at a community college such as Columbus State University, Central Ohio Technical College in Ohio, Houston Community-University, or Lone Star College in Texas. In that case, you’re likely to receive college credit.

It is hoped that the credits earned in these courses can be transferable to other institutions and universities.

The dual credit programs are popular with parents because their children can receive college credit while still in high school.

This can be a time and money saver for the student and their family.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are advantages and disadvantages to consider when deciding whether or not your student should pursue dual enrollment. According to most admissions counselors, taking AP, IB, or dual enrollment classes can be extremely beneficial to a student if they prepare ahead.

Determine what colleges and universities your child is interested in recommending to you. If you’re considering dual enrollment, here are some additional considerations.

Dual Enrollment's Benefits:

1. Cost-Effective

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A major benefit of dual enrollment is that it reduces college costs. Many public school districts around the country provide dual enrollment and pay for the tuition and books associated with those classes. Students can afford to go to college more easily due to this. Reduced education costs are another benefit of this method. Students can avoid taking on additional debt in the future.

2. State Colleges Accept Credits

Most states’ public institutions will accept the credits earned by high school students in dual credit and concurrent credit courses. In addition, the credit may be accepted by a few regional private colleges. However, you should double-check this information in advance just to be safe.

3. Increases Self-Belief

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One of the advantages of dual enrollment is that students begin to see themselves as college-capable when they enroll in the courses. The students are more confidence in their ability to excel in college-level courses as a result.

4. Affordability of College

Many students, especially those who are low-income, first-generation, or of a minority background, can benefit from dual enrollment. In addition to making it easier for them to enroll, the program offered via their high school is frequently completely supported by their district. Dual enrollment is a lifeline for some kids who would otherwise be unable to afford college.

5. Exploration Is Possible.

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Since kids are taking college courses while still in high school, they can test out other fields of study to see if they enjoy them or not.

Some nursing students may change their minds about their career choice because of this experience and instead decide to pursue a degree in another field of study.

Dual enrollment is a great way for high school students to get a taste of college life before committing to a full-time program.

6. Graduating Early Or Obtaining Two Degrees Is An Option.

Because students begin accruing college credit in high school, they often arrive at college with a large portion of the required courses already completed. Due to this, there is additional time for electives and double majors. Students who start college as sophomores rather than first-year students are more likely to graduate on time.

7. More Likely to Persevere in Pursuit of Higher Education

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As opposed to students who did not participate in dual enrollment, those who took community college coursework were likelier to continue their college educations. Columbia University researchers found that 88 percent of dual enrollment students attended college after high school.

According to researchers, even the smallest advantage in high school can have a major impact on future educational decisions.

Negative Aspects Associated With Enrolling In Two Schools Simultaneously.

1. Credits Cannot Be Transferred.

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Private institutions may not always be able to accept dual credit courses from a local community college, so it’s important to check before enrolling. First and first, it is always a good idea to verify any information you may have. You should also be aware that many of your student’s hard-earned credits may not transfer if they want to go to institutions outside the state and you choose dual enrollment.

Credits acquired at a community college will not transfer to many selective universities, including those in the Ivy League. Then you might want to consider AP classes if your student seems to be heading that way.

2. The Rigor Is Difficult to Estimate.

It is widely accepted that AP courses are a good indicator of a school’s academic rigor and that these courses can be used to judge a school’s overall quality by its students. Because of the national examination, it is easier to evaluate the quality of an AP course than a dual credit course. There is still a strong preference for AP courses in some higher education institutions.

3. Transcripts Are Created For All Courses.

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No need to make your kid take a dual credit course if they do not want to or does not think they or can succeed in it. Every letter grade a pupil receives is recorded in their permanent record. As a result, a student’s prospects of being accepted to their chosen universities could be negatively impacted by bad performance in a specific topic.

You could miss out on internships and study-abroad opportunities if you aren’t careful.

Many schools and institutions plan their internship programs for the junior year, with application deadlines for the sophomore year of high school. The chances of a high school student missing out on these possibilities are greater if they start college as a junior.

4. Provide Less Repetition for the Student

While kids receive college credit for specific classes, some contend that they may miss out on critical repetition. To put it another way, if a high school English requirement is fulfilled through a dual credit composition course, the student has saved themselves an English class. This can have a substantial impact on some parents and educators.

5. There Are A Few Options Available.

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Dual enrollment has the potential to provide a broader range of options, although this is not always the case. Thus, the pupil is forced to accept what is presented. Even if they receive college credit for the course, they may not be able to take advantage of the full range of freshman-level courses at the university of their choice.

6. Decide on a Career Priority Early in Life

As an 18-year-old junior among 21-year-olds, students who have completed two years of college credit are entering college. If they are already immature for their age, their lack of maturity and experience may put them at a disadvantage in their classes. They are also compelled to choose a major before they have had a chance to mature.

7. Don't Take part in the College Application Process

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More than just a diploma is on the line regarding a college education. It’s also a moment for pupils to discover their identities and life goals. They could miss many important social and emotional development milestones if they rush this process. Thus, they begin their careers at a younger age with little knowledge and expertise.

8. Eligibility For Athletics May Be Affected.

For athletes, you must make sure that dual enrollment courses do not affect their high school athletic eligibility. A student-academic athlete’s eligibility may be affected if they enroll in college-level courses while being recruited by a university. 9 Before deciding on your child’s education, research your state is always a good idea.

How to Make a Final Decision

Many factors must be considered into account when deciding whether or not to enroll your child in dual or concurrent enrollment. Discovering what your student is interested in and where they want to go to school are the first steps in the planning process.

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You should remember that each institution has rules for determining what may and cannot be counted toward a student’s degree. For example, some of the most prestigious universities do not award college credit for AP tests; others do not accept dual enrollment credits.

Admissions officers admit they still like seeing AP courses on a student’s record. If they don’t credit the exam, they see the courses as a sign that the student can tackle difficult material. You should research which schools your child is interested in attending and see what standards they have and what they accept as credit. This will help you decide which solution is best for you.

When getting into an Ivy League institution, it’s ideal to have your student focus on AP classes while also taking some dual credit classes. Students planning to major in business or computer science in state schools might do better by taking dual and concurrent credit courses, with only a few APs sprinkled in. To be successful, you must begin your preparations as early as possible by conducting research, posing questions, and developing a strategy.

A counselor or professor at their selected college can help you, and your student figure out which path is best. When a student enrolls in college, the professor can help them plan their course of study to make well-informed decisions while still in high school.

A decision has been reached.

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One’s preferences play a large role in choosing advanced placement (AP) or dual enrollment classes. Remember that no two students are exactly alike. A student’s success will vary based on what works for them. You and your student should meet periodically with school counselors and administrators involved in the program so that you can make a decision that is both informed and comfortable for you and your teen.

Just because you want them to earn an associate’s degree and a high school diploma does not guarantee they will agree. Decide on something that everyone can agree on before moving forward. You’ll all be happier, and your pupil will do better in the long run.