Everyone always says that getting older means that you have to start making more choices yourself and becoming more independent. Well, this also applies to choosing your college courses. Dual credit, AP, pre AP, and CP classes are all levels of courses available to students at the high school level and it is up to them to decide which placement is best for them.
Dual credit is a program conjoined with the high schools and Collin County Community College and students can pay $106 per course per semester and receive high school and college credit at the same time by passing the courses with a 70 or above. Unlike AP, students are not required to pass an exam at the end of the year to
determine weather or not they receive the college credit along with the high school credit.
“I love dual credit because I’m actually in a college class and figuring out how to manage 2 classes before I even go off to college,” student Hannah Behrends said. “Its better than AP because I don’t have to take a dumb test at the end of the year to determine if my work this whole year will be worth it or not cause I get college credit just by passing the class.”
Dual credit is available for juniors for U.S History and seniors for English 1301, 1302, government, and macroeconomics. The classes are just like regular college courses where the students go in twice a week per class for an hour and fifteen minutes. Also, the workload varies depending on the professor and students are required to keep up with the class assignments and schedule with the syllabus or the online assignments that
teachers are starting to favor because of efficiency.
“I spend some nights with no college homework and some nights with 3 hours, it just depends what is due but you usually get a long time to get stuff done,” Hannah said. “I really recommend it because you learn so much so fast and its fun and nice to be treated like an adult with the professors and you get credit for high school and college which saves you money in the long run.”
Another option for high school classes is the AP, advanced placement, program which is designed to be a challenging course for students and is considered a college level course. At the end of the school year for every AP course you are taking you must take an exam to see if you have learned the necessary material to receive college credit.
These courses are weighted on a higher scale on students’ grade point average because they are more challenging classes and so the more AP classes you take, the more it can boost your GPA, whereas classes such as dual credit are weighted at the same level as pre AP and don’t count as much toward your grade point average.
“It challenges me to do better in school,” student Paige Falco said, “Even though it is a lot of work, I carry around a binder and a spiral for each one of my AP classes and I have six this year so it’s a lot and I have a calculus textbook, English books, pens, pencils, highlighters and I usually spend about five to six hours a night on homework its worth it because if helps your GPA, class rank, you get college credit, and you have really
Below the AP courses are the pre AP classes which are available to all students and is more a of a happy medium between the vigorous AP courses and the slower paced regular core classes. Pre AP is designed to prepare students for the AP courses and challenge students to study more and do a bit more homework than regular courses, but again, these classes are weighted on a scale that is higher than the regular core classes
and helps boost your GPA.
“I spend like an hour a day studying and the work load varies from nor very much to manageable.” student Ryan Mitchell said. “It is a good challenge in which I will benefit from in the future and I like it better than the classes because its not as hard as AP but not as slow paced as the regular core classes and still keeps me engaged.”
Finally, the regular core classes are the basis of the high school courses. These courses are slow-paced so that students have a better opportunity to absorb all of the information and not have as heavy of a work load. The classes are also challenging but allow students more time to do homework and learn the lessons in the curriculum and they are a part of the high school prerequisites to graduate.
“I like it better than AP because it isn’t as intense and is a little more easy going.” Christian Cortinas said. “I decided to stick with the regular core classes because I didn’t think I could handle the work load along with a job and stuff at home and it isn’t as much stress on me.”
Personally, I have always done pre AP and AP classes throughout high school up until this year -- when I decided to take regular pre calculus and dual credit for english, government, and macroeconomics and the pre AP and AP classes are more vigorous in class work and out of school assignments. Also, my weakest subject is math and with all of my extra curricular activities and deciding that my major in college will not be math-related in any way I love my regular class of pre calculus because it gives me more time to understand what is going on and I have done much better in math this year than any other year so far.
Dual credit for me has also been a major plus, because I tend to freak out when it comes to testing and I never do very well, so knowing that I can get college credit by just passing the course makes me feel so much better even if I do have to pay for it I would rather be positive that I will receive both college and high school credit than just one and studying and not passing the AP exam at the end of the year.
Choosing classes is totally up to the students and how much they can handle because the work load can be heavy, but if the student feels that they can handle seven AP courses then all the more power to them. However, if they feel that they can’t handle a lot of outside work because of work or involvement in extra curricular activities the regular core classes are a great option and all courses are accepted to the majority of
colleges in Texas, so don’t assume that if a student is not taking multiple AP classes that they can not be accepted to prestigious schools such as the University of Texas or A&M.
Teen Talk columnist Christine Baker is a senior at McKinney High School. Watch for her column on Fridays, as well as other various stories during the week.