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


High school students have great opportunities to obtain college credits, often for free, even before graduating! Earning college credit in high school is beneficial for multiple reasons.

1) Cost Savings: School districts often pick up the tab for tuition and books. Sometimes there are some small fees, but at a fraction of the cost what a student would pay after graduating high school, including room and board, tuition, fees, books, and other expenses.

2)  Time Savings: In Florida, it was found that less than 67 percent of Florida college students graduate in six years, according to the Florida Board of Governor’s Accountability Rate. While not widely discussed, college is taking longer to get through as students change their degrees, have trouble meeting prerequisites, or enter into programs that are longer. Having a student be able to focus on the generalized core courses or electives to determine their major, these credits can save students a substantial amount of time and stress.

3) Smaller Classes: The generalized core courses at most universities often are large lecture halls filled with 100-300 students and taught by professor's assistance. Taking these courses in high school or on a state college's campus guarantees small numbers and more personalized attention.

4) Career Focus: The college course work allows students to see how they might enjoy specific career fields. Advanced lab reports, research, hands-on projects, and in-depth teaching provides more opportunities for exploration into various career fields. Dual-Enrollment often offers industry certifications that can be directly employable after high school or with additional semester or two.

5) Rigor & Independence: One of the benefits I often hear from students is that these courses allow them to be treated as college-students. Students learn to better navigate the academic skills, such as time management, study skills, test preparation, and note taking, to be a more successful student. Having both rigor and independence can be highly motivating for students to excel.

Those are the key similarities to Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Dual-Enrollment, but there are some vital differences parents and students should know to make the best choice for them. 

Ap, IB, DE Chart

While all three programs have strong advantages and some disadvantages, the best start is to talk your school counselor what is available to you. As well, talking with other parents and students about course offerings, pros and cons, and access will greatly help your student be successful. Utilize the College UnMazed: Academic Planning, online course, as your path to ensuring you maximize your high school opportunities!