AP Courses, Dual Enrollment, Dual Credit – What is the Difference

FPD offers multiple ways for students to earn college credit in high school, from AP courses to Dual Enrollment and Dual Credit. With so many options can come questions. What courses are best? What is the difference? Which ones should I take?

The answer depends on the student and the college they ultimately attend. Here is a review of the three options.

AP Courses:

Colleges consider AP courses and IB courses the gold standard for earning college credits. For that reason, they are most often recommended. AP courses are still the most widely accepted and the best indicator of a student’s strength of schedule on a college application.

Currently FPD has 19 AP courses and students have taken others through online sources. These courses are designed to mirror those in college and are taught by faculty who are AP certified. Selective colleges have told us they respect our AP program as a rigorous college-preparatory and college-level program. Therefore, most colleges do not hesitate to recognize and accept AP courses on a high school transcript if the student earns an appropriate score on the AP exam. However, that is the key, students must pass the AP exam at the end of the year in order to receive the college credit.

Dual Credit:

As the name implies, Dual Enrollment offers students the opportunity to be “enrolled” in college and high school at the same time. Credit depends only on the course grade. However, since the quality of dual enrollment courses vary widely, colleges may or may not accept them. These courses are not as widely accepted as AP courses.

FPD partnered with Colorado Christian University (CCU) in 2016 to offer a dual credit opportunity. FPD’s dual credit courses are part of our campus curriculum. Students do not travel offsite. Instead, CCU evaluated the curriculum and faculty qualifications for FPD courses and now offers a college credit option that can be transferred to any college that accepts dual credit. The approved courses are AP Calculus BC, AP English Language, AP Studio Art, and AP US Government. The cost is $200 per course (paid directly to CCU). They maintain the strength of schedule of an AP course while increasing the opportunity for college credit.

Dual Enrollment:

Dual Credit offers another option for student to gain college credit on campus at FPD. Like Dual Enrollment, Dual Credit does not depend on passing the AP Exam. Colleges treat Dual Credit the same as Dual Enrollment, although some distinguish between courses taught on the high school campus and those taught on a college campus.

The state of Georgia covers the cost of dual enrollment at approved institutions. FPD students may take select courses at Middle Georgia State University during the summer. An online application is required and students can talk to our College Counseling Department about the opportunity. Students must meet minimum SAT/ACT score and GPA requirements for this program. Also, choosing a dual enrollment option when AP courses are available may lower your strength of schedule evaluation by more selective colleges, including UGA.

If students or parents have any questions about these options, they are encouraged to talk to our College Counseling Department to decide what is the best option for them. While all of FPD’s programs are college-preparatory, each of these opportunities are a way for students to earn college credits prior to graduating from high school.

For more information on AP & Dual Enrollment, visit this article on the UGA Admissions blog.