Dual enrolment (DE) and Advanced Placement (AP) courses are available throughout high schools and colleges across america. They allow high school students that have met certain requirements to partake in courses that will give them college credits upon successful completion. There are numerous reasons for why students would like to achieve a bit of college success even before they are officially college students. Parents are excited about DE and AP courses as well, since it can save some serious time and money down the road.

Research has shown that dual enrollment courses assist high school students in the immediate future. In fact, college students who participated in dual enrollment courses had higher persistence and retention, a high grade point average, and of course higher credit accumulation from the credits they received (Karp et al., 2007). Dual enrollment courses are providing high school students an idea of what college life will be like, and they are responding to the challenge.

College degrees are taking longer and longer to attain for college students. The average length for acquiring a college degree for students that have not received college credits while in high school is 4.65 years, according to a national study (Adelman, 2006). However, for students that have taken DE courses or some similar program like AP, the average college degree is completed in 4.25 years. Once again though, if a student is focused and knows for sure the major they want to enter into, the college degree could take less time.

If a high school student already knows which college they will be attending once graduating from high school, it would be wise to take the DE courses there if at all possible. Sometimes there is concern about college credits transferring over to certain institutions. Any college student that has had to switch colleges in the past will confirm that credits don’t always transfer over. It is one frustrating aspect of college credits, so try to be as sure as possible that your dual enrollment credits will transfer over to your corresponding college.

When comparing the AP statistics from 2003 to 2013, there has indeed been quite a climb in awareness, according to the 2013 report from The College Board. The class of 2013 took about 3.2 million AP exams. The word is definitely spreading about the benefits of taking such courses while still in high school. The amount of high school students taking rigorous AP courses has almost doubled in that ten year span. Plus, the number of low-income students taking AP courses has more than quadrupled.

The class of 2013 achieved in total 1,000,135 more AP scores of 3, 4, or 5 and had an increase of 824,368 AP scores of 1 or 2. In other words, there was a greater increase from 2003 to 2013 in the scores of 3 or higher than in the scores of 1 or 2. This is definitely good news. The students are coming in more prepared than ever.

True Success Stories

On a popular social media site, a question was asked if people could share their own success stories with DE and AP programs. Below are just a few of the responses. Overall, they represent the majority of the responses.

“My son did a TON of dual enrolment while homeschooling, and got into Caltech, Harvey Mudd, Rice, Colorado College, Colorado School of Mines, Rose Hulman, and Case Western. He didn’t apply to any Ivies because he wanted a small school. The only school he was rejected from at all was Wash U, and that was after getting onto the wait-list, so they liked him well enough.I think a dual enrolment high school could be a great thing, and I can’t think of any drawbacks if you can handle any costs and transportation issues!”

“My daughter got her Associate of Arts degree before her high school diploma (because of DE and AP courses). Getting accepted by good colleges was NOT an issue. She will be graduating from a select college this spring with her BA (at 20 years old) and is waiting on grad school acceptances.”

“I did dual enrolment full time for two years at the University of Minnesota and am now at MIT. Contrary to the claims of some earlier posters, MIT accepts dual enrolment classes for transfer credit. I wouldn’t expect a lot of transfer credit though. I found dual enrolment to prepare me extremely well for success in upper division classes at MIT.”

“Son number two was not a “star” student. He was an average middle of the road guy. He took honours classes and two AP’s but did not do well enough on the AP exams to get credit. Our school system offered something called The College Experience. The kids could take classes at the community college..tuition, books, parking sticker all free. The classes counted as honours classes on their high school transcript as well as being transferable to our state universities. He did well in the two community college classes and was able to transfer the credit to his instate public university. It was nice to knock out two requirements ahead of time. And you couldn’t beat the price..free!”

“Daughter entered college one credit shy of sophomore standing thanks to DE. She got credit for all her classes, but only 9 hours (3 classes) were useful for her program. It gave her a little breathing room in a very full program so she could take for-credit voice lessons and sing in the choir. Like most high school students, she took what she could with an eye to what she thought she wanted to major in. When she changed majors, she lost a lot of the benefit as she needed different courses.”

“In my state, DE is free as long as the student earns a C or better. My city has DE offerings at both the community college and two LACs. DE and AP cannot both be offered by a high school. So there is no AP calculus of physics because those courses are DE. There is no DE chemistry because it’s offered AP. DE is preferred because most students attend state schools, and articulation agreements between them and the community colleges guarantee transfer.”

“Here is our experience – there are pros and cons to Dual Enrolment. Tuition and books are paid for under Florida state law, a nice perk. My child is taking AP and DE, and the reason for taking AP –wanted to have those specific teachers (very good). Reason for taking DE, did not want to basically repeat four years of high school classes in first two years of college (plus, ran out of advanced classes to take at HS). Florida has done exceptionally well in coordinating DE, and having a common course numbering system between community colleges and 4 year university, so the course content taught in College Algebra (MAC 1105) is the exact same at community college level and state university level. If you do graduate high school with an Associate of Arts degree, all state universities have to accept the entire degree. DE is not for everyone. Some HS students don’t grasp that this is a college grade and may stay on their college record (depending on state/school). No reminders from the professor to turn in homework! You can’t have a parent/teacher conference (well, guess you could try and get some raised eyebrows!!). And if you are going out of state, your classes that you took as a DE student you may not get credit for if you also used them to fulfil HS credit. Same thing with AP, some colleges accept, some don’t. So you may end up repeating those courses at college. If that is not a concern, then definitely DE is a valuable experience. My child (now a senior) is very glad to have taken DE simply for the fact of having college class experience, not to mention NOT having to repeat US History for the fourth time!”


Adelman, C. (2006). The toolbox revisited: Paths to degree completion from high school through college. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

Karp, M. M., Calcagno, J. C., Hughes, K. L., Jeong, D. W., & Bailey, T. R. (2007). The post-secondary achievement of participants in dual enrolment: An analysis of student outcomes in two states. St. Paul: University of Minnesota