2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Dual Enrollment Pathway

I chose to go the dual enrollment/running start pathway, rather than taking multiple AP's. I will finish an Associates's Degree and have over 90 college credits by the time I graduate high school next year. As someone who dreams of going to Brown; is it true that dual enrollment looks less impressive than AP classes? Will going this pathway lower my chances?

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Accepted Answer
2 years ago

This is my wholehearted response for you and anyone else interested in pursuing such a DE path toward a AA degree during HS.

I commend all such students like yourself that want to challenge themselves and get a leg up on the your competition and shorten your college experience to take advantage of the 90 credits you earned during high school. I also commend the collaboration of HSs offering these programs in conjunction with accredited local state colleges in your state.

If you remain in your state and leverage all your hard work and achievements and apply to a college that will honor and reward you with the possibility of shortening your Bachelors Degree to 2 years, then that is the best way to monetize and apply your credentials.

If you apply to Ivy League or Elite colleges for the same intention, you will find that their opinion of your efforts and reward mechanisms will not be the same because admission to these schools is a hybrid holistic process that suits them and their value proposition is completely different than the "running start pathways" program.

Ivy applicants and the families supporting their kids are painstakingly vying to get into the "ivory tower" in order participate and be mentored by the gatekeepers of these hallowed institutions as a rite of passage, for the best future work connections, to leave their mark and to earn something that has tangible clout and acquire a passport into elite grad schools, internships and coveted firms looking to hire such grads.

While all of these places are looking for not only the best students academically but are trying to build the best incoming Freshman class of unique, talented, "spikey", selfless humans, keep in mind that ALDCs, hook-applicants and top ranked paying students are your competition. While each of the Ivys and Elites will look at your transcript with an appreciation for what you have done, 99% of applicants regardless from where they apply will have a different academic narrative than you. Most admits will have a either impressive array of APs, IBs with a light sprinkling of Dual Enrollment class or perhaps some online college courses they took. They will not apply with a full Associate Degree or 90 college credits. If they attended a prestigious boarding school, their entire academic narrative may be proprietary course work, not APs or IBs because they have been feeder schools into the Ivy League for 225+ years. Schools like Deerfield and Choate that are clear feeders into Brown, do not even offer anything like an AP or an IB in their course catalog. Nevertheless, their students all self-study for the AP exams and submit their high exam scores on the Common App.

So the bottom line is that while you have exceeded that limits and boundaries of what most HS applicants have on their transcripts, these schools will evaluate you against their typical target student and take a big guess on whether your "course rigor" was say better, equivalent or worse than say someone graduating from a top Public school with APs/IBs or someone graduating from an elite Private School with their own proprietary mix of courses.

I see the outcomes as the following for you:

A. You will meet or exceed or miss the academic threshold provided that they can clearly delineate how your course work maps to their requirements of 4 years Math, 4 years English, 4 years Science, 3-4 years Language, 3-4 years Social Studies/History.

B. Then, they will evaluate your entire application against their own admissions rubric which will include UWGPA, (as mentioned already course rigor), Intellectual curiosity/vitality, test scores (SAT/ACT or APs/IBs), extra or co-curriculars, essays, recommendations and portfolio submissions (if you are submitting such a thing), and in Brown's case, the Brown video.

C. You may get admitted however Brown will not give you college credit for your DE coursework. The way I interpreted their AP policy is that while they may allow you to use your AP work to place you into a higher level class or satisfy a core requirement, you still have to take the full load of college credits to earn your degree. This is why Brown is not particularly a favorite Ivy to apply to for those HS students that have 10-15 AP courses that earned mostly 5s on the AP exam. The other Ivys including Harvard, Cornell, UPenn, Princeton give you full college credit for getting a 5 in most of the APs. I think Columbia and Yale are a bit more stingy and Brown is the worst for APs.


So, while some of this information is not necessarily what you want to read after you've done all this good work, I will say that I don't think you will be penalized for your efforts on the academic front. Rather, if you or your parents have had some sort of expectation that you could attend an Ivy/Elite college and get a degree in 2 years, I don't think that is the case.

D. The worst possible outcome which may only apply to a few elite institutions is that since you have an AA degree, they may view you as a transfer candidate and that has it's own set of transfer admissions criteria to follow. I've read at at some schools may consider you a transfer if you have more than 1 or 2 semesters worth of college credits. At Brown, you are ineligible to apply as a transfer student if you attended an early college or DE AA degree program.

Hope this is helpful.

Good luck.

2 years ago

If you look at Brown's Common Data Set you can see that rigor, class rank, GPA, and test scores are really important to them (as well as other things). So, I'd say depending on the AP classes offered at your school, then maybe that was the more rigorous course load you could take. If you also kept up your GPA, test scores, and class rank, then I'd say you could be a competitive academic applicant. Also, if you really are concerned about AP classes then you could take some AP exams for subjects you think you'd do well in, just try and study for those tests. You could also try and take easy AP classes over the summer if your school offers that. But, I truly wouldn't worry about that. After academics, it just becomes about your essays and (for Brown) talent/ability, your personal qualities, and extracurriculars.

Brown's Common Data Set:


What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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