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Is it advisable to take dual enrollment while I enter the senior year of highschool?

Is it advisable to take dual enrollment while I enter the senior year of high school?

My school doesn't offer many AP classes, and I'm trying to challenge myself academically. Is it advisable for me to take community college classes during my senior year, and how will it affect my college applications?

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Rube’s Answer

Hi Erica,

If you are looking for a challenge or want to get ahead in your college education, I strongly recommend taking classes at a community college. Taking classes at a community college will stand out in college applications because it shows motivation to excel. This also comes with other benefits, such as reducing the number of core classes you must take in college, which could save you money.

The equivalent of an AP class is a college-level class. While a senior in AP and community college classes reap the same benefits by creating a way to obtain college credits without college, taking community college classes to prepare you for college life. This may make the transition a whole lot smoother.

Good Luck!
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Rebecca’s Answer

Hi Erica!

As long as you feel confident and comfortable that you could handle the course load, taking college courses during your senior year of high school would definitely make you stand out as a college applicant. And depending on how many college courses you take, it could potentially allow you to graduate from college early.

Best of luck!
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Alexandra’s Answer, CareerVillage.org Team

Hi Erica,

This very much depends on exactly what your plans are for college. Since you mentioned that your school doesn't offer "many" AP tests, I'd very much recommend you exhaust those options before considering dual enrollment.

I was unanimously advised by my high school teachers and counselors to opt for AP or IB tests over dual enrollment courses. Why? AP and IB tests are more widely accepted for college credit than dual enrollment. This is because they are standardized, and the college granting the credit knows exactly what education you received in that subject. With dual enrollment, every institution teaches & assesses the subject a little bit differently, so colleges tend not to "trust" dual enrollment credits as much as AP/IB.

Another possible advantage to AP/IB: it is possible to self-study and get college credit without taking the class. The colleges you apply to will look at one thing only: your score on the AP test. Technically, this means you would only need to take the AP test (and do well!) to earn the credit. While I do NOT recommend this 99% of the time, I have to mention it because I did it myself for one course. My high school did not offer AP English Language, only English literature. Having been an editor by passion for several years up to that point, I decided to sign up to take the AP Language test without taking the class. I DID self-study with the Baron's prep guide, though, just to make sure I didn't go in totally blind. It was quite funny, because I was the only person in the testing room and the test proctor was very confused. When I explained to her that the school didn't offer the class, she kind of laughed to herself, probably thinking I must be one of those really stuck-up know-it-all types. (The joke was on her, though, because I got a 4 on the exam, and ultimately 6 college credits for that AP test alone.)

Other upsides to AP over dual enrollment: no worrying about travel to/from class, you get to take a challenging course and have the support of peers you already know, lots of test prep & online resources available, etc.

Hope this helps! I'm curious what AP courses you high school does offer, even if it isn't very many. However few, they will likely still be worth it!
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Faiyaz’s Answer

I believe there are more pros to dual enrollment than there are cons. In my experience, dual enrollment classes allow you to start earning college credits as a high schooler. This would help with financials when you start college as you would have some of the core college classes already out of the way. Also in my experience, dual enrollment classes are actually much easier than AP classes since there is not AP exam at the end of the year which is a gamble since you get credits if you only score above a certain score. The con I see to dual enrollment is that you may not get the full 100% high school experience as you would be taking some college classes but you can overcome this but getting involved in extracurricular activities at your high school. I personally would recommended dual enrollment to student who strive to get a head start and also who want to save $$$
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Emily’s Answer

Hi Erica,

I believe dual enrollment is a great opportunity. I took dual enrollment courses my senior year instead of AP as it seemed like a better fit myself. I was able to complete all my required English and Social Studies courses my senior year and I believe it helped my college applications. It also helps you save money as you are actually taking the classes versus potentially failing the AP exam and receiving no college credits.
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Patrick’s Answer

I have friends who have done this, and it is helpful in a few ways. First, you are able to knock off some college credits, ultimately making the cost of your higher education slightly cheaper. I think this can also help your marketability of yourself to colleges and universities. If a school sees you taking college level classes already, they'll see that in a similar light as to what you said you are trying to do: challenge yourself academically.
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Steve’s Answer

Hey Erica - great question! and one that many people ask themselves. I'll tell you that you can get many schools of thought on this one, but here is mine...

I'm a big advocate for constantly pushing yourself to be a lifelong learner and challenge yourself, so from that perspective, I think its great. HOWEVER, it is also important to know your limits and make sure that you are setting yourself up for success. A big part of that is mental health. If adding AP classes and that extra workload are going to significantly impact your stress level and ability to do the best you can at your other workload and extracurricular activities, then don't. It's not worth it. AP classes do help on the application process to universities, but at the end of the day, your mental health and wellbeing outlive 4 years of college.
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Priya’s Answer

Hi Erica, if you feel you are up for it, go for it! Think seriously if you will have the energy for it as you apply to colleges as well. Remember a grade you make in college will remain on your transcript (unless retaken at certain colleges) so you will want to do as well as you can in those classes. That being said, it can be a great leg-up into working on your basics. Look at you go-getter :)! Whatever you decide, you are having some great considerations and thoughts and that itself is worth it!
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Priya! Erica
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Sikawayi’s Answer

Hello Erica, thank you for your question. I understand you want to get ahead so will have an advantage when you enter into college, but there are other ways to get ahead right where you are. If they don't offer AP classes in your school, then talk with your guidance counselor and ask can you drop your extra-curricular classes and add classes that may be more advanced that you haven't taken. When you do make your decision, just remember there are pros and cons to everything you do talk to your parents about it then move forward. Best of luck
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Yusuf’s Answer

Hi Erica,

I strongly recommend you take classes at community college if you can. It will definitely look great on college applications, and it will show them that you are able to take on a huge workload and still excel as a student. Taking this path will also help you in saving a lot of money as college is very expensive. There are still a lot of other things that you have to take into account, but as long as you think you can handle the workload definitely go for it! Good luck!
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Kentrice’s Answer

Hello Erica,
If you are looking to get ahead I defiantly would. It can be challenging but also very rewarding. It will take discipline and motivation to get through it. I think it is great. I did it and I know a few others that have and they were able to get to their career faster. I think it will be a great idea.
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Raegan’s Answer

Hi Erica!

My high school did dual credit with out local community college. If your school doesn’t offer this you could speak with either the advising, student services, or register departments at a community college. They can help provide you with the necessary steps towards dual enrollment. I remember for our school we had to pass a certain test before we could officially be in the class.
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Stuart’s Answer

You will need to talk with your high school advisor to get clearance to take dual enrolled classes (we had to in Florida). You will also need to make sure that the college where you take the dual-enrolled class is approved at the university you attend after high school. Unlike AP classes, your grade will count, so make sure you take a class where you can get a good grade, also credits / grade dual-enroll classes cannot be switched to a gen-ed class like AP
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Dawnyale’s Answer

Hello Erica!

I think it's wonderful you're thinking ahead and planning out your future now. Taking community college courses while in your senior year is a great way to not only complete some of your basics during an academic year that's normally a bit light, but it's also important to determine what you really want to do. Many people change majors several times in college as they learn more about the requirements to their major, workforce projections and their own needs for their careers. Starting early will help you make those decisions sooner than most and can be really impactful for your career.

If you can take a few classes, definitely do it as it will put you ahead of the curve and help you determine a path forward early on. However, I also advise you to try to enjoy your senior year too. This is the last time you'll be a kid and many adults look back at their senior year with fond memories they've created with their families and friends. If you're able to balance the extra classes with the joy of a year that will pass by quickly with your loved ones, I'd say go for it.

Good luck to you!
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Gabriel’s Answer

Please take this with a grain of salt...what you do in high school leads to college. And as long as you finish and get the degree, you'll find a way to be brilliant! Not sure of your specific college aspirations - and that might help guide the discussion. I have never worked in admissions, but I know it varies from school to school.

For what it's worth...20 years in financial aid at a university...look at what major you want to pursue in college. If it's a niche position (like medical or law) think about the schools you wish to attend. There is often an emphasis on ACT/SAT/GRE scores when it comes to in-school scholarships.

As for community college classes...it will show you are motivated...and transfer credit will help and save money in the long run. But again...depends on what your endgame is.

Sorry I can't be more helpful - but the fact that you're asking this question shows that you're on the right path. I wish you the best of luck.

You can do this!
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Mareysha’s Answer

Hi Erica,

I would suggest to dual enroll. AP classes are great but they really benefit the High School more then the student. In order for the AP class to count on your college transcript you must take and pass the test at the end of the year in High School. Very few students actually pass this test. In the end the AP class only benefits a student by the weighted high school GPA. Dual enrolling can allow you to complete your general ed courses earlier so that when you do graduate high school you can quickly get into your core classes of your choice of degree. Financially, this will help you as well. I dual enrolled in high school and did not have to pay for the college courses. I hope this helps.
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