Dual enrollment programs are the best way to earn college credit


Photo courtesy of Montgomery College

On May 17th, 2022, graduating seniors from MCPS were honored in a dual enrollment recognition ceremony.

By Brianna Frank, Advertising & Subscriptions Manager

Most WCHS students take Advanced Placement (AP) classes to earn college credit, but few students take Dual Enrollment (DE) courses. While the DE program is not promoted as often as AP classes, it is a great opportunity for students to expand their academic careers. It offers additional opportunities for those looking to earn college credit and take rigorous courses. DE courses are more beneficial than AP classes for students and should be promoted more in the school environment. 

In a dual-enrollment program, high school students can take college-level courses, through colleges, to earn college and high school credit. AP classes are courses taken within the school that allow students to earn college credit if the exam is passed. While both types of courses are rigorous, they are quite different. 

Students can sign up for AP classes the same way they sign up for regular classes. But for DE classes, students will need to register through their counselor and meet the prerequisites needed for the course they choose. DE is a longer process compared to AP but the end results are worth it. DE courses can be taken through Montgomery College and they are taken outside of normal school hours but students can get an abbreviated schedule. 

The AP class format is more structured than a typical DE course. AP classes are structured to prepare students for the AP exam since you need a high score on the AP exam to earn college credit. AP exams are extremely stressful and the studying process often includes textbooks that cost a lot of money. Unlike AP classes, to earn college credit through DE courses, you only need a passing grade in the class. DE classes, in general, are not as time-consuming as AP classes. 

For students planning on going to college, DE is especially helpful. College tuition is an expensive investment and earning college credits that can later be transferred to the college of your choice may let a student graduate earlier and save on the cost of tuition. Even though some DE courses cost money, AP exams can get expensive, costing $93 for most exams, and many AP credits aren’t accepted by colleges.  

DE courses cover a variety of subjects that are not offered at WCHS. Exposure to diverse coursework can also help students formulate clearer academic and educational goals to choose their future major. Course offerings for students taking AP classes are limited to whatever the school offers. The 38 available AP courses available at Churchill are essentially incomparable to the 477 DE courses approved by MCPS. 

Early exposure to a college workload in high school can help prepare students for higher education. Learners who participate in a dual-enrollment program at a local college get to meet real college professors and students. They get the opportunity to adjust to the academic rigor of college classes along with extracurricular activities. 

Therefore, Dual Enrollment can lead students toward an overall better educational experience. Before signing up for AP classes, check out the opportunities that Dual Enrollment offers!