Julian Hurt – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – Many Mustangs may hear about Advanced Placement (AP) and dual enrollment classes, and may wonder what they are. On top of that, many wonder which option they should take.

The College Board administers advanced placement classes, and students who pass the nationally administered final exam will earn college credits.

Dual enrolled students earn college credits for passing the course.  Students can even take the classes at local college campuses.

LRHS sophomore Tayla Rosenthal stated, “I’m taking a few AP classes. Even without the college credit, it’s a good idea to take hard classes to challenge yourself.”

Kathleen Soles teaches several AP classes at LRHS and pointed out a few differences from normal classes, “I would say the main differences are that the critical thinking skills are much higher and expectations are much higher. If the work isn’t done, success is very unlikely.”

Although AP and dual enrollment classes are very similar, there are some key differences between the two, besides the presence of AP exams. First, most AP courses are yearlong courses you would only take for a semester in college.   Dual enrolled classes may last just one semester.

Secondly, different colleges accept different courses. If an AP class doesn’t match the curriculum of a particular college, students won’t receive the credit for the class. Dual enrollment follows the same rule. Some students may find it difficult to transfer dual enrolled credits out of state.

Junior Ben Reichbach said, “I’m taking three AP classes and one dual. The reason I’m taking so much more AP is because my college of choice is out of state, and I think the credits I earn have more of a chance of applying if they’re AP.”

Despite the challenge, both of these classes are highly beneficial. Taking the classes can help students get into college. Students who pass AP and dual enrolled courses can impress colleges whether or not they accept the credit.

These classes also have weighted grades. This means that an A is worth five points, a B four, etc. If you took all AP and dual enrollment classes, you could obtain up to a 5.0 GPA.

In spite of all the benefits of taking these classes, they may not be for everyone. AP and dual enrollment courses require a lot of hard work and dedication, so someone who is busy all the time may find it difficult to keep up with the course. Mustangs can’t take the workload nonchalantly, and consider whether they’re willing to sacrifice free time and extracurricular activities in order to take these classes.

Soles also stated, “They’re (college-level classes) challenging because students are held to a college standard, and many are unaccustomed to that.” She also made sure to mention, “Taking these high-level classes is important for students regardless of actually earning the credit.”

Soles offers some advice for future AP and dual students “Make sure you complete your assignments and manage your time. If you get behind, make sure you ask your teacher for your options on getting caught up.”

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