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The Foothill Dragon Press

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Dual enrollment vs. advanced placement: Which class is more beneficial?

Audrey Yoong
Ventura College, the two-year institution of higher education, was established in 1925. It was the first college in the county when the junior college department was added to Ventura Union High School.

The College Board: an organization that takes students’ money and gives them a chance at obtaining college credit. Starting in early May, Advanced Placement (AP) students will be confined to the Ventura College Wright Event Center, where they will be tested for an entire year’s worth of coursework for two to three hours. Based on the major the student intends to pursue, a high score on AP exams won’t necessarily give them college credit but will instead be used to determine their placement or entirely disregarded. So, why do students keep taking AP classes when options such as dual enrollment are available?

Although the job of both AP and Dual Enrollment classes is to provide students with rigorous coursework that will prepare students for college, the two types of classes can have major differences. Here are both the advantages and disadvantages of adding AP class or Dual Enrollment to a student’s schedule. (Emilie Huovinen)

AP exams can be expensive for the average student, with each test being $98. To lower these costs, the College Board decided to allow eligible students to apply for a price reduction waiver, where the cost of an exam can be lowered to $53. Although it is still a hefty price that might force students to take fewer exams,  the Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) staff can encourage more students to take the exam. Although staff can not pressure students into taking the AP exam, Cherie Eulau states that a benefit of passing will be, “Hopefully having more room in your schedule later to take a class that you really wanted to that is maybe out of your major.”

Additionally, the registration date has continued to move earlier into the year with the most recent sign-up for AP exams being on Oct. 18, 2023. This early date required students to stick with a class before getting the essence of it, not yet knowing if they will be able to handle the course load or if they are interested enough to keep the class on their schedule.

AP classes were originally designed to prepare students for college-level coursework. The classes provided high school students a place to explore subjects they are interested in as well as an opportunity to discover majors and careers to pursue. However, AP classes have lately become another item to add to college applications. AP classes have become necessary for those wishing to attend a four-year university right after high school because of the grade bumps and rigorous coursework it offers.

With a smaller school like Foothill Tech, the amount of AP classes a student can take may be limited. It can be great to not overload students with difficult courses, but some may feel limited with the classes provided by the school. Although for students who want a more rigorous course load, Foothill Tech introduced their Advanced Studies Academy (ASA) for the class of 2027, where students that complete the entire course will be given 30 credits of transferable college credit, done completely with dual enrollment classes at Ventura College (VC).

Although it completely depends on the college that students are wanting to attend, oftentimes, “[the] AP exam can be cheaper than the cost of [a] course at college,” school counselor, Jane Napora said. But there can be many drawbacks that students also need to take into consideration such as, “time commitment [and the] stress of preparing for the AP exam.” 

On the other hand, taking a dual enrollment class can have many benefits, such as being shorter than an AP class, allowing students a potential free period. Its greatest benefit, however, is that it can, “start your college transcript—meaning you start taking GE classes,” school counselor Juana Vega stated. Yet, dual enrollment can also make students, “[miss] out on the FTHS class environment feel (for example if you take English V01A or B and are not enrolled in a senior class then you miss out on information that is provided in class)” said Vega. 

Ventura College’s Career Center is a service provided to help students make informed career decisions throughout their lifetime. The center offers students help with resumes, jobs and internships, interviewing and career planning. (Audrey Yoong)

Problems with dual enrollment can be seen in different ways. Although Braeden Elliott ‘24 thought his English class taken through VC was not difficult, “I was probably doing like five or six hours of work everyday for four weeks.” Elliot also agrees with Vega, touching on how he could read the books on his own but still feels as though, “There’s definitely a little bit about missing out on … getting that community feel.”

Additionally, the increase of students taking dual enrollment classes through the ASA Academy has led to some teachers having to make schedule adjustments to accommodate for a smaller class size, “So many of them are taking world history at the college … I have a class of 16 students and for me that’s not big enough, I actually could not run some simulations because that’s not enough students,” Eulau said. When students are not taking World History through Foothill Tech, they are not getting the history that goes with the English 10 class lessons either and, “Frankly those students aren’t making the connections” Eulau said.

Although no college is the same, colleges that are highly selective are more likely to accept AP credit compared to dual enrollment credit. School counselor Steven Boyd mentions that the reason for this is that “dual enrollment has … no standardized recognition like AP exams.” Boyd also criticizes the unchallenging aspects of dual enrollment by saying, “If a student knows that the classes at the community college are easier, so does UCLA.” 

Both dual enrollment and AP classes have their advantages but if a student is looking for college experience in high school then an AP course might slightly outweigh a dual enrollment class. The environment and support provided from an AP class and the difficulty of the course compared to a class through the local community college system can better help set a student up for success at a four year college. Ultimately it is up to the student and whatever works best for them and their schedule and dual enrollment makes classes far easier to take especially when students must make schedule changes to accommodate for certain classes.

What do you think?
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About the Contributors
Emilie Huovinen
Emilie Huovinen, Writer
I write articles not tragedies.
Audrey Yoong
Audrey Yoong, Photographer
I'm a first-year photographer who loves reading, golfing and trying new restaurants.

Comments (1)

Comments on articles are screened and those determined by editors to be crude, overly mean-spirited or that serve primarily as personal attacks will not be approved. The Editorial Review Board, made up of 11 student editors and a faculty adviser, make decisions on content.
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    Olivia BarloweMay 3, 2024 at 12:16 am

    Amazing Photo of the Career Center at Ventura College Audrey. Great Article enjoyed reading it. Love the pictures!