AP's or Dual Enrollment? What is Best?

Dear UnMazed-

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My daughter is going to be a junior in the fall and has taken rigorous courses to date. This summer she is taking philosophy and theatre appreciation at PBSC. Are these good electives ? She has taken 3 APs so far and is taking 5 APs in the fall. Is it prefable to colleges if Dual enrollment is at PBSC or FAU ?

I have to say these are my favorite questions to answer! Developing a student's academic pathways are important to ensure they are maximizing their time and energy where it belongs!

First of all- congrats on having a daughter that is taking rigorous courses and challenging herself! She is already setting herself up for success!

Second of all- The answer to your question- it depends! Primarily- where does she see herself during and after high school? Do have a 529 and is she aiming for Bright Futures- then she is probably more likely to stay in-state.  Does she intend to go out-of-state? Is it her passion to attend an Ivy League school? Does she like her high school environment? Is she very active in clubs and leadership opportunities at her high school? These are all questions that go into making this decision. I will give you a few pointers and let you decide from there.

1. Colleges look at ALL grades in college-level courses- they truly aren't distinguishing between Dual Enrollment, IB, AICE, or AP- they want students to be successful in any of these methods that are available to them. I have seen students with AA degrees be accepted in all top Ivies with substantial scholarships and financial aid. But note with ANY accelerated credit- most of the top performing schools state "that's what got you in", but the credit most likely won't transfer from any of these programs. Here in Florida, state law prevents colleges from picking and choosing what college credit to give. The main difference- AP, AICE, and IB do not create a college transcript or gpa. All increase her recalculated gpa to improve admissions and scholarship opportunities. The thing here is to stay focused on core classes (English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Foreign Language) and electives like theater are to either pursue her passion or check out majors (computer science, business, etc). Do them in balance.

2. If your student is very involved in her school then staying and taking the AP's give her great options of excelling and accelerating. If she is more academically focused and wants a more independent academic life, then DE would be a great fit. There are some great academic opportunities at the college, but she will have to actively seek them out (Honors, research, club, trips, etc).

3. Think of where you can best maximize time- Dual enrollment Composition I is a 1 semester course. So in one year she can get both Composition I and Composition II credits (6 total) in the same amount of time as she would be sitting in her AP English Language class with possible 3 college credits (Composition I equivalent). So check the college she is interested in, and see their conversion acceleration chart (this AP=this course). Use this to plan out her junior and senior year. If you can do it 1 semester at the college, but it takes a year in AP- do the DE class instead.

4. Between the state college and state university- it truly depends. Our state college (Florida SouthWestern State College) has a very large dual enrollment population (20%) so there are more increased services and support for these students. Whereas, our local university, Florida Gulf Coast University, only has 200 DE students and limits enrollment. Both are great programs and can continue to support your daughter. It comes down to where she can be her best self.


For others looking for information, check out these other articles on DE, AP, IB, and AICE-

So You Want to Dual Enroll?

AP, IB, Dual Enrollment- Determining What is Best for you!

Acceleration Credits- Learn from Admissions How they Transfer (webinar!)

I hope that helps. I would suggest, getting College UnMazed: Your Guide Through the Florida College & University System, as will greatly help answer all these questions- and more!