For some students, college doesn’t start when they set foot on campus. It starts in the halls of high school.
There are lots of different programs for students eager to get started with college work — Advanced Placement (AP), dual credit (DC), dual enrollment (DE), and International Baccalaureate (IB). Whether you are selecting among several programs offered at your school, or there is only college-credit option in your area, understanding what each program can offer will help you thrive in your academic setting.
Read on for an overview of these college-credit programs — and for the the benefits and drawbacks associated with each.
The Advanced Placment program dates back to the early 1950s, with a small pilot program in 11 courses. The College Board took control of the program in 1955, overseeing a set of regulated college-level classes in various subjects that allow students the opportunity to gain college credit depending on the score they receive on a given subject’s standardized exam — and on where they attend college. Under the guidance of Trevor Packer, who has led this program since 2003, the program has expanded to a greater number and range of schools across the U.S.
_Read this article The Benefit of AP Classes Beyond the Test for an argument why you should consider this option._
Dual credit, also referred to as concurrent enrollment, has been around since as early as 1959 at Saint Louis University. Dual credit is now offered by a variety of national, local, and community colleges.
Dual credit, at its core, is defined as an opportunity for high school students to take college-level courses taught by college-approved high school instructors for a reduced tuition rate at their schools. The course credit counts toward the student’s university transcript and toward fulfilling high school course requirements.
Dual enrollment allows students to take for-credit courses that supplement the high school curriculum on the campus of a university or college. Dual enrollment classes are taught by university faculty members and draw a mixture of high school and undergraduate students.
Dual enrollment has existed for many years and is a tried-and-tested way for high school students to gain college credit.
International Baccalaureate consists of curricula developed by the IB organization and taught by certified schools. While IB has multiple programs, typically three of the programs are considered to be higher-level and equivalent to college work. Students ultimately take a standardized test that can potentially fulfill college course requirements, depending on the the score earned.
_For further guidance, check out this article on how to decide whether to take IB or AP courses._
My advice to students is this: Always get credit however and wherever you can. While these programs vary in structure and approach, at the end of the day, they are all great ways for you to earn college credit before you matriculate.
About the IB. Retrieved June 3, 2015, from The International Baccalaureate Programme
What is Concurrent Enrollment? Retrieved June 3, 2015, from The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships