3
7 months ago
Admissions Advice

Dual enrollment or AP?

I live in California and I hope to attend a UC university and most favorably UCI or UCLA. I have the option in my senior year to take either AP English literature and composition or ENGWR 300 and 302 offered by my local community college through dual enrollment. Both ENGWR 300 and 302 are transferrable to UC so I could get college credit from those. I'm wondering if I should take one or both community college classes or just the one AP class. I don't know which ones colleges prefer.

admissions
senior
3
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3 answers

2
7 months ago

My school doesn't offer AP, so the choice to take those two Composition classes was easy. If you are certain that you are going to matriculate at a UC, you are better off with dual enrollment, in my opinion. Because there's an articulation agreement where they have to accept your grade, and some of them (I'm looking at you, Cal!) don't accept AP credit.

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1
7 months ago

This can be a tough question to answer because it can come down to personal reasons but I am going to go the other direction with my answer here and I think you should take the AP class. My reasoning is based on the assumption you are trying to make your application as attractive as possible to get into UCI or UCLA but if you're confident you will gain acceptance to one of those already then my answer would change.

The reason why I suggest the AP is because in general colleges prefer AP classes over DE classes. Why? Consistency. Colleges know what to expect from a student when they take an AP exam. The curriculum is standardized so admission officers have a good understanding of what you are learning and they understand the AP tests (side note: they have less impact on your admission chances than you probably think). It's entirely possible you end up with an AP teacher who is bad and does a poor job teaching the class but the idea is that AOs can at least have some expectation of what you are learning. Compare this to a DE class where there can be a TON of variables which makes determining if the class prepared you for college more difficult.

Let me explain. The quality of community colleges can vary widely. The quality of instructor can vary widely. The quality of the curriculum can vary widely and the amount you cover for that curriculum can vary as well. Combine all of these things and suddenly, as an AO, you don't know if you should be impressed by the student who got a B in ENGWR 300 or not. There are just too many variables and it can be more risky for an AO to take a chance with DE classes. With an AP class the AO knows what to expect from you meanwhile with a DE class an AO is basically in the dark. They know the name and grade you got in the class but they aren't necessarily going to know what you learned, how well you learned it, and if that B you got was because the CC generally grades hard or because you slacked off and were actually the only person who didn't get an A in the class.

Am I explaining that OK? Let me know if you have questions, happy to clarify anything I posted.

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7 months ago[edited]

This really depends on your GPA! AP Classes can raise your GPA, so if it's less than optimal, take APs. Otherwise, it might be better to take a dual enrollment class just because it shows you're ready for a college-level class. Once again, it'll depend on your final grade for the course and level difficulty, but it seems 300 is quite a high-level course for a high schooler! Go for it, and if you take both, that'd be a plus too!

Additionally, and this might be hard, could you take one AP class and also one college class? That might be best of both worlds. I've take quite a few APs as well as dual enrollment courses so it should be doable!

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