Dual Enrollment vs. AP Courses
Q: How do Dual Enrollment and AP differ?
A: Dual enrollment is not a test-based program. Your ability to earn college credits is not based on a single high-stakes test, but rather on the entirety of work completed over the course of a semester.
Dual enrollment typically allows students to accumulate more college credit than AP. Students who attend DEP full-time may complete their entire freshman year of college before graduating from high school. Students who begin DEP as juniors may complete nearly two years of college coursework.
Dual enrollment allows students to experience college life and academics by spending time on a college campus. DEP eases the transition to college, allowing students to experience college while still living at home with the support system of family and friends.
AP courses are like a college course; DEP courses are college courses.
Q: Are Dual Enrollment and AP courses mutually exclusive?
A: No! Many part-time DEP students also take AP courses at their high schools. Taking an AP course at your high school and college courses at KSU that aren't available through the AP program demonstrates to admissions offices that you are choosing the most rigorous path to college. Some students come to DEP already having completed AP courses at their high schools, and have scored a 3 or higher to exempt an introductory college course. These students can continue their progression to more advanced college courses through DEP. Students without AP experience can demonstrate that they are ready for college level work through DEP. Both AP and DEP help students build a track record of advanced aptitude and ability.
Q: What can I expect a college honors class to be like, compared to a high school honors or AP course?
A: DEP students have the option of taking regular college courses or Honors college courses. The University Honors Program at Kennesaw State is built around small class-size environments of DEP and University Honors students who are similarly motivated and academically focused. Honors classes are taught by Honors Faculty members who are selected for their outstanding teaching and expertise in their disciplines. Honors classes often emphasize in-depth classroom discussion following the Socratic method. Students tell us they find the pace of college Honors courses more relaxed than AP courses, with fewer, but more heavily weighted assignments and tests spread throughout the semester, rather than in-class daily work and frequent quizzes. Increased expectations for quality work are balanced by pacing that allows more time to complete major assignments and prepare for tests. A typical college course grading formula might be based on three to four tests and two major papers, projects or presentations. Honors English courses require four papers. There are no "daily work" grades in college.
Q: What kind of student is a good fit for DEP?
A: There are many different reasons why students choose DEP. DEP is a great option for:
- Advanced students who have exhausted the curriculum in a particular subject at their high schools or home school programs. Students can continue in more advanced coursework at KSU.
- Students wishing to study a subject not available in the high school, such as Arabic, Japanese, Russian, philosophy, anthropology, political science or public speaking.
- Students wishing to get a headstart in the courses they'll need for college rather than taking non-academic high school electives.
- Students wishing to shorten their amount of time in college before med school, law school, or other graduate programs.
- Students who feel overwhelmed by the nightly workload of advanced high school courses.
- Solid "B" students looking to distinguish their academic profiles.
- Students who would like to get a fresh start in an academically-focused environment free of cliques and high school drama.
- Students planning to attend an out-of-state or private college who want to save money by shaving a year or semester off of college tuition and room and board expenses.
- Students who want to "dip their toes" in the college environment and just take a course or two to see what college is like.
Q: What kind of student might be better off sticking with AP?
A: Students without reliable transportation to campus, Students without the maturity to attend class and complete assignments without the close level of supervision provided by the high school environment, and Students planning to attend a college that will not accept college courses taken while in high school. While the vast majority of public colleges and universities in the U.S. (and all public institutions in Georgia) accept dual enrollment credits, some private colleges do not. Some private colleges also do not accept AP credits. It is each student's responsibility to contact their schools of choice to ascertain their policy on dual enrollment and AP credits.
Q: Will I receive extra quality points on my high school transcript for Dual Enrollment courses?
A: Some school districts, including Cherokee, Cobb and Fulton, have policies that allow the awarding of extra quality points for specified dual enrollment courses. Check with your school system for its policy. Students in the running for valedictorian or salutatorian will want to strategically choose those courses that will earn extra quality points.
Q: What do college admissions offices prefer - AP or Dual Enrollment?
A: It is always best for students to ask this question directly of their colleges of choice, because there is no "blanket" answer adopted by all colleges. In general, admissions offices weigh grades and the level of rigor of courses most heavily. Students seeking admission to highly selective colleges and universities should have transcripts that demonstrate that they have pursued a rigorous path to college. As the only non-residential honors dual enrollment program in the state, and one of few in the nation, KSU's DEP provides students with opportunities to demonstrate success in challenging academic coursework by selecting honors classes, completing courses more advanced than what is available in the high school, taking college courses rather than P.E. or other non-academic electives at the high school, and earning superior grades in college classes. In admissions calculations, some colleges, including UGA, do not add extra quality points to dual enrollment course grades. Other colleges, including Georgia Tech, add .5 quality points to dual enrollment grades. Inquire with your college of choice about its policy.
Q: How do AP and DEP credits transfer to other colleges?
A: In the case of AP, colleges award students college credit for AP exams which meet their minimum score requirements, which may vary between institutions. The grade earned in high school AP courses is not transferred; just the credits are awarded. In the case of DEP, most colleges transfer the grade earned in the college course. Some colleges treat dual enrollment courses like AP courses and transfer the credit, but not the grade. Students should contact their college of choice if they have questions about its policy.
Q: Does choosing AP or DEP make any difference in my HOPE calculation?
A: Effective Fall 2013, the Georgia Student Finance Commission converts numeric grades on high school transcripts to a 4.0 scale, and then adds an extra .50 weight to grades earned in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and dual enrollment courses, up to a maximum of a 4.00 grade. It is possible to maximize your HOPE GPA by taking all dual enrollment courses or by taking a combination of AP, IB and dual enrollment courses, all which receive the extra .50 weight.
Q: How does KSU coordinate with my high school?
A: KSU's DEP program enjoys long-standing relationships with many high schools and their counseling staffs in Cobb, Cherokee, Paulding and Bartow counties. We find that those high schools that have the most students in DEP are also the most active in promoting it, because they have come to know the quality of KSU's program and the positive outcomes for their students. KSU will automatically send your grades to your high school each semester so that they can be incorporated into your high school transcript. We also provide certificates to high schools to distribute to DEP students at honors nights or year-end events. Each year, DEP provides informational handouts to high schools and offers to send a representative to their campus to speak to students and counselors. Many high schools are now posting this information on their Counseling office websites. DEP is a partnership between the high school and KSU, and we encourage you to contact both KSU's Dual Enrollment program and your counselor if you have questions.