One of the best decisions I could’ve made in high school was taking Advanced Placement (AP) and Dual Enrollment classes. AP classes are college-level courses offered in high school that allow you the opportunity to earn college credit after passing a final exam. Dual Enrollment classes are courses offered by local community colleges where you enroll but take the class at your high school and earn college credit.
I took AP Government and Dual Enrollment College Composition my senior year in high school. Both of these classes were very beneficial to me in many ways: I learned how to take notes from lectures with no PowerPoint to guide me, I learned how to properly study in a way that actually helped me, I learned how to keep up with the fast pace of my teachers, and I learned how to write at a higher level. Plus, in the end, I earned all of my credits that I transferred with me to Christopher Newport.
AP and Dual Enrollment classes are similar but different. In both cases, you are taking college-level courses as a high school student. However, AP classes are free and offered through your high school, while Dual Enrollment classes cost based on the community college you are using. In order to earn college credit from an AP class, you must pass an exam with a certain score determined by your desired university. To receive college credit from a Dual Enrollment class, you must pay the tuition cost in the beginning of the semester and simply pass the course with a C- or higher.
When I came to Christopher Newport as a freshman, I transferred over nine college credits with me: six from my Dual Enrollment class and three from my AP class. The benefits of coming into college with credits are amazing. I was able to register for classes earlier than other freshmen so I did not have to worry as much about classes I wanted to take being closed when it was time for me to register. I was also able to participate in the housing lottery earlier! Depending on how many credits I take each semester, I will be able to graduate early if I want to. But most importantly, taking these classes in high school saved me and my family so much money and time. Since I took those writing classes in high school and got the credits already, I only have to take two more writing classes instead of taking four in college when things start to get harder. If I am able to graduate a semester or two earlier, I save about $25,000.
If there is one thing that I would recommend to any high school student, I would definitely say take AP or Dual Enrollment classes. The more college credits you come in with, the merrier you will be.