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AP/IB or Dual Enrollment Community College Diploma

SueLyonSueLyon 5 replies1 threads New Member
We are fortunate to live in an area where kids can apply to various centers for high school. Some are geared toward particular fields like IT, medicine, art, education, and some are broader.

My 8th grader has an interest in IT, so we are pursuing that one. We are also considering an IB program.

But there is a third option that is a dual enrollment program with a local community college where students can earn an associate's degree while also getting their high school diploma. Students do also take some AP courses, but they take far more community college courses in 11th and 12th grades--they are taught at the high school. (Some of those students also take corresponding AP tests, but that's entirely optional.) The grades for the community college courses are weighted like AP courses. There are a few required summer courses and an online course to complete the program.

I talked to teachers and the counselor at the school. The dual enrollment and IB program are actually in the same high school. And they said that they felt each program was equally rigorous.

We were surprised that we liked the dual enrollment program so much. It was very diverse. I assume lots of kids like the idea of earning a lot of college credit to cut down on costs, although this is not a priority to us. It also offered more elective options than most of the centers. I think my kid would do well in a college format class. (I used to teach at the community college, so I know the work level.) We just generally liked the friendly and caring vibe.

But I do wonder how dual enrollment with community college would be perceived by colleges in comparison to an IB program or a program with lots of AP classes. It is technically the most rigorous program--but that is because it is the ONLY program the center offers.

Any thoughts?
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Replies to: AP/IB or Dual Enrollment Community College Diploma

  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6145 replies10 threads Senior Member
    One of the main reasons high-achieving students who have access to an IB Diploma program choose NOT to pursue it is that it includes many requirements and can make specialization challenging to impossible. The IBD is a degree -- you end up with two diplomas, one from your high school, the other from the IB -- and as such, the holder must have a certain level of proficiency in a broad range of subjects (as well as higher level in a few).

    Students who want more science or who hate FL, for example, may find other rigorous, but less "balanced and comprehensive " paths much more appealing. Nbl

    I admit, I love the IB program because it really encourages critical and interdisciplinary thinking, and it is regularly updated by educators around the world to ensure its relevance. With that said, it really isn't for everyone.

    I would map out a 4 year schedule for each option and see if anything leaps out suggesting one path over the other.
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  • SueLyonSueLyon 5 replies1 threads New Member
    edited December 2019
    Thanks! I actually did that. Maybe I should clarify. We kind of like the dual enrollment program, but I'm worried that colleges will perceive it as less rigorous than IB/AP and therefore my kid will have a harder time getting into competitive schools. I'm not talking about Harvard, but more like somewhat competitive private schools that aren't located in our area.

    It seems like a lot of kids at this center apply to mid level state schools, which makes sense because they are the most likely to accept their credits. But I wonder what would happen if our kid applies to a private school out of state that isn't familiar with our local CC. AP and IB are standardized.
    edited December 2019
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 33269 replies4000 threads Super Moderator
    If your child will attend a public in-state then the dual enrollment makes a lot of sense. Usually those classes will be accepted for credit while that is not necessarily so at Privates or going OOS. As far as whether AP/IB are perceived as being more rigorous than Dual Enrollment, I don't know, but if they are I think it might be more at the margins. Some colleges don't accept AP or IB for credit anyway.
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  • SueLyonSueLyon 5 replies1 threads New Member
    Thanks! And actually, at some of the top in state schools, they wouldn't count either because the schools have special classes for freshmen that don't exactly correlate. I think they end up counting more toward electives. So, I don't want to concern myself too much with that, since I really don't know where my kid will end up. The GOOD in-state schools in our state are VERY good and hugely competitive, and then there are lots I'm not very excited about. We would actually be taking our kid out of private school, so that would free up a lot of money that could go toward private college.

    We like the center idea, especially coming from a small private school environment. But we also recognize those kids will be very bright and motivated, and, assuming our kid can get in, will be in a pressure cooker environment. Our kid gets good grades and is a good student but not especially competitive. I wondered if the dual enrollment route might provide a rigorous education (our kid is really tired of behavior issues at school and wants to be around motivated students) with a little less of the hyper competitive atmosphere. But maybe I'm just looking for the best of both worlds.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79750 replies714 threads Senior Member
    Dual enrollment at a college campus will expose them to greater diversity in terms of traditional and non traditional college students as well as high school students. It will also be a taste of actual college, rather than just college level material that may be found in AP courses. If the student wants to go to professional school (e.g. medical or law), college courses taken while in high school and their grades will count when calculating college GPA for those applications.

    IB is generally considered to be a lot of work, and the curriculum for the full diploma is relatively rigid. Check which subjects are offered in which variants (SL or HL), since some IB programs offer only one variant of some courses.

    In terms of transfer credit, take a look at what colleges of interest accept from each option.
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  • bopperbopper 14209 replies100 threadsForum Champion CWRU Forum Champion
    edited December 2019
    On this topic in general:

    AP/IB vs Dual Enrollment (DE)

    AP/IB
    1) AP tests are well known nationally and are uniform across the nation
    2) You can look on any college’s website and see what credit you will get for what scores on the AP/IB tests
    3) AP/IB Courses are given at your High School


    DE
    1) There are more of a variety of DE courses available at a CC
    2) DE courses will count for your college GPA…make sure to do well.
    3) Private and Out of State Colleges may or may not give you credit. They may not give credit for courses taken to fulfill HS requirements. You do not know what credit you can get ahead of time.
    4) Public In-state schools will give you credit for DE courses. You may be able to get up to 2 years of credits.
    5) DE classes may be taken at the local Community College…how will transportation work?
    6) For DE classes, the “grade” doesn’t rely on one test on one day but over a whole semester.
    7) DE spring breaks may not line up with HS breaks


    My thoughts are:
    If you are taking the "typical" courses, stick with AP/IB.
    If you need to take Calc 3, then think about DE.

    If you are going to a public University, consider DE.


    If you do DE, make sure you are taking the right courses to prepare yourself for the major of choice.
    I was interviewing a student who was applying to my alma mater for nursing, and she was very proud that she was taking Sociology and Psychology in Community College. College courses! But she should have been taking AP Bio (or even DE Bio) to prepare herself. She was not admitted.

    So better to take AP Calc than Statistics 101 in CC for an engineering major.

    edited December 2019
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6145 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @bopper is on the mark about checking what the school offers for SL and HL. With that said, HL math may well be beyond a Calc 3 level. (It is at our school. )

    I would say that most private colleges would recognize what the IB is. In fact, there is a decent list of ones that will give a year of placement for the IBD. DE credit is more variable. In some places, it is very rigorous and very much on par with what a student at a 4 year college would be doing (and that's why those students can transfer so easily for their last 2 years). At other places, it may cater to a very different segment of the academic population. You may want to ask each school for its school profile if it's not readily available.

    Reading your posts, part of the dilemma revolves around how the DE program is presented to colleges who don't know it.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79750 replies714 threads Senior Member
    IB math has four typical variants, based on SL versus HL, and AA versus AI. There is also a further math HL. The courses may also have local option topics.

    Due to IB math courses not being aligned with typical US high school and college math courses, one should not rely on advanced placement beyond single variable calculus for an IB math HL score (US universities typically give no advanced placement for SL).
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  • SueLyonSueLyon 5 replies1 threads New Member
    Hi! Sorry! Maybe this wasn’t clear. The classes aren’t taken AT the community college. They are taught by high school teachers who are also certified to teach college level courses. And they are taught AT the high school with other high school students in the program. There is a prescribed set of courses that very closely matches up to the high school curriculum, which is why they can get credit for both and graduate with an associate’s degree. The difference is that each class is a semester vs. one year, but they add up to a full program. (There is room for a few electives...more than IB but probably fewer than a general curriculum.)

    I know that IB is considered a rigorous program, and the students in the program have gotten into good colleges. What I’m not as sure about is how a dual enrollment PROGRAM might be perceived vs. a more standardized curriculum like AP or IB.

    And maybe there is no definite answer for this. It likely depends on the school. But it’s something we really want to think about because we don’t want our kid to get to senior year and find that a lot of colleges will look at this kind of program as being inferior. I’m almost considering making an appointment with a college counselor just to discuss this.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8305 replies70 threads Senior Member
    I think you are right and that it very much depends on the school. At my D's HS, the AP track was much more rigorous than the DE track. Weighed the same in terms of GPA calculations, but not considered the same when the GC designated the amount of course rigor to colleges.

    You've gotten good advice - I would talk to the GC and see what kind of information they send to colleges about the DE program.

    I will also add that at my D's OOS public flagship, the AP courses were easily transferrable but the DE classes were highly scrutinized. She knew prior to committing what would count for APs but didn't know until a week before she registered for classes if her DE courses would transfer.

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  • SueLyonSueLyon 5 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you. :) It’s helpful to know this, and it’s definitely something we are thinking about. We are still in the application process, and we plan to go forward with the application, but if gets in, we will really have to think about the reputation of the program and if it’s worth taking a different route.
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  • momtogirls2momtogirls2 858 replies4 threads Member
    I have done a lot of research on dual enrollment and my daughter did two years - she earned 62 credits I think but did not go for an associates. She didn't take any ap classes. I can also tell you that two years worth of credits does not necessarily translate into two full years of credit though it might. For instance since she took a math class every semester her junior and senior year but only one of the classes really was needed for college graduation requirements. Basically you may get free elective credit that isn't needed for anything. Of course some majors do need more math classes.

    However since you are talking about taking dual enrollment at a high school taught be high school teachers it may be viewed as different than taking college classes on a college campus taught by college professors mixed in with almost all college students. I don't know if they view it less rigorous for admissions but if the goal is credit for classes it can make a big difference at some schools.

    My daughter was considered a freshman at all the schools in terms of merit scholarships but credit wise was considered a junior which really only made a different when it came to registration starting 2nd semester and picking housing. She was invited directly into or to apply for the honors program at all the schools she applied to. However it is easier to do at some schools vs others if doing less than 4 years.

    If your do go with DE my tip is to save every syllabus because they might be asked for. My daughter had to submit 3 of them. Colleges do not give a formal evaluation of college credits taken during high school until after matriculation hopefully before registering for classes. However some colleges do have a way of checking what classes they have accepted from the dual enrollment school in the past to at least provide some guidance often under the transfer section. No matter how your high school does the grades or lists or the transcripts you still need to submit a transcript from the college itself to the school you are applying to.

    It isn't uncommon either when the time comes to matriculate at a 4 year school for them to ask a high school to verify which classes were needed for high school graduation. It is fine if you do your research and know what you getting into but one of the boys who did dual enrollment with my daughter and earned an associate's degree was shocked to find out after he matriculated that they wouldn't accept many of his credits since for example he took freshman English but it counted as his high school English requirement as well.

    Here is an example from NYU

    College Courses Taken While in High School
    Credit may be awarded if:

    Received a grade of “B” or better
    NYU offers corresponding courses
    In most cases, courses were taken at a college/university, with college/university students, and taught by college/university faculty.
    Courses were not used to satisfy high school graduation requirements


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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79750 replies714 threads Senior Member
    In state public universities are likely to be more generous with dual enrollment credit associated with same state community colleges (but with some exceptions, such as University of Michigan being stingy even with Michigan community colleges).

    They are also more likely to have articulation listings for same state community colleges so that prospective students can tell what community college courses count (or do not count) for what course or requirement (particularly important for transfer students, but useful for dual enrollment high school students).
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  • SueLyonSueLyon 5 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you for the information! I'm less concerned with how many courses will count toward college requirements and more concerned with how a dual enrollment program will be perceived by college admissions vs. a student who took a lot of AP classes (or was in an IB program). (As far as I can tell from reading lots of posts, there's great debate about whether AP or IB is "better," but colleges tend to look favorably on both of them.)

    On one hand, to complete the entire associate's degree takes a lot of work. There are some summer classes involved. And, of course, the grades will actually count IN college, so that's something to think about that (What if my kids bombs a class?). So, you would think that colleges would look favorably on a program like that.

    But, on the other hand, they may see the dual enrollment program as being less rigorous than AP/IB because it is essentially community college, just taught on a high school campus. Students don't have to pass any final test like in AP or IB. They just have to get a good grade in the class. (I think there is a minimum GPA to complete the program.) They can CHOOSE to take AP tests, but that's MORE work.

    I did talk with the GC, and she said that how it was perceived simply depended on the college. So, I don't know. Maybe it's foolish to take the risk knowing that private schools are an option for our kid.

    It would seem like the most obvious fit for this kind of program is a motivated kid who knows he or she wants to go to an in state school and isn't particularly concerned about going to the "best" in state school.

    It's likely to help with college costs. It's not necessarily where the most intellectually advanced students would go. But, because of that, it seems like fewer of the "top" students apply to this program, which might mean there's more room for a good student to stand out and not feel like they are in a pressure cooker with everyone being very competitive with one another.

    Honestly, I can't believe I'm thinking about this stuff now.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79750 replies714 threads Senior Member
    SueLyon wrote: »
    But, on the other hand, they may see the dual enrollment program as being less rigorous than AP/IB because it is essentially community college, just taught on a high school campus. Students don't have to pass any final test like in AP or IB. They just have to get a good grade in the class. (I think there is a minimum GPA to complete the program.) They can CHOOSE to take AP tests, but that's MORE work.

    College courses have final exams, but they may not necessarily be the only thing that counts in the grade, like with an AP test being the only thing that determines the AP "grade" (score).

    If the college course covers the same material as the AP course, then taking the AP test should not require much more work.
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  • MistySteel27MistySteel27 43 replies0 threads Junior Member
    It can depend on your state cc system. My local cc issues the DE transcript and has agreements with many colleges in our surrounding states public and private. For instance: NJ cc class would be accepted at Drexel in PA because of their agreement but may be used as placement only for certain programs. Since Drexel recognizes the rigors of NJ cc I’m sure they look favorably on it. From what I’ve read about some of the PA cc’s not being very well regarded they may not view the DE as favorably where IB/AP would be the better choice.
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  • helpingmom40helpingmom40 199 replies6 threads Junior Member
    I applaud you for looking into this in advance! D20 thought IB was the way to go until we started looking into it. The issues weren’t with the program per se but our school was pretty new to it and did a poor job with implementation and now that she sees some serious flaws, she is happy she walked away. That being said, she signed up for a few DE classes (which we had to pay for) when she wasn’t sure what she was looking for in terms of colleges and took a handful of AP classes. Now that she has applied to all of her schools, we can see that in the long run, it won’t really matter. The highly selective private colleges on her list don’t give any credit for DE classes taught in the HS by HS teachers, they give minimal credit for AP scores (she has all 5s so far), and they only give credit for high scores on HL IB classes but many of the ones they consider aren’t even offered by our HS and the ones that are offered do not generate high enough scores for the students to count anyway.

    Wow! I didn’t mean for that to sound like a negative rant at all! My point is to review the classes offered by all three avenues and choose what looks most likely to align with interests, not based on potential college credit. D has been able to choose the classes she wants every step of the way and routinely checks with her GC to see that she is meeting the benchmark for “most demanding curriculum”. She finds out tonight about her ED school so I may have a different outlook tomorrow...
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  • elena13elena13 956 replies15 threads Member
    Since you are saying that you're not especially concerned about the credit-earning issue, it seems like it would be helpful to talk to the counselor/director of the DE program and find out more about the types of colleges kids in that program have applied to and been accepted to over the past few years. Also, even though you are several years away from the college application process and don't know what your son will want, it also could be helpful to choose a handful of private colleges you think could possibly be a good fit, and call an admissions officer from each to get their opinions about how they perceive AP/IB vs. DE. I know it can be very different from one area or state to another, but in our area the DE classes I've seen kids take (some kids from our high school and several others I've worked with) seem much less rigorous than the AP/IB classes at our school. My S19 took several AP courses and also did the full IBD. At his school, all the kids applying to competitive colleges went that route vs. DE. However, your program does sound like a different set up than what we have.
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  • momtogirls2momtogirls2 858 replies4 threads Member
    One thing you can do is call several college admissions offices and get their take. My daughter and/or I spoke to tons before making the decision. I basically learned that while no one guarantees anything they view AP/IB/DE the same for admission standards though actual credit can vary. They accept the gc perspective on rigor vs coming up with their own so your own high school gc can help with that.

    I also found that some community colleges have matriculation agreements with private schools for certain majors. Other than the state school every private school said that they would transfer credits but they wouldn't use the gpa. My daughter's gpa was great but is not used at her current school.

    Since our de is not at our high school there are some other considerations. I found it a good choice for my oldest but now that my youngest is in 10th grade I don't find it as good of a choice for her. Thus far she hasn't seriously mentioned it. She is happy taking one de class this fall but won't do it in the spring because it is harder while she does a winter sport. Because we have a rotating schedule it is either all DE or just 1 a semester at night in addition to a full day of school.

    One factor which may be important for some people to consider is cost of DE classes. My daugher's were 100% free including book rentals. The only extra thing I paid for was $30 for a lab book because I felt it was much easier to be able to write in it. Anything else she would have needed at high school anyway. Actually I think the school charges towards AP tests (not full price) so that would have cost more. Location is also a factor for people doing DE on a college campus.
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  • racereerracereer 318 replies1 threads Member
    So my S19 did a program somewhat like this. He went to a regional Governor's STEM school his Jr. and Sr. year for his math and science classes. All these classes were dual enrolled at the local community college but taught on the campus of the Gov school. All the DE classes were weighted like an AP class and considered to be at or above AP level. The math was above since it went past calc BC (MV, LA, and DiffEQ). The science classes gave him more transfer credits than if he had taken the similar AP class/test. He was able to transfer almost all of his credits (+50) from OOS to Ga Tech. He did not get an associates, but entered as a sophomore and will be considered a Jr. credit wise next semester. From the college acceptances that came out of his Gov school class of 81 (every Ivy, MIT, Cal Tech, CMU, GT, Stanford, UCB, UVA, UNC, Duke, WashU, UT-A), I would say that the schools had no problem with classes compared to AP. Now many of the kids took the AP test for their equivalent subject knowing the might not be able to transfer credits.
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