Early Admit at Community College when in High School - is this good or bad when applying to University

Hi Everyone,

Need some advice.

My D is in high school. She has completed all requirements for high school and can technically graduate in 3 years from high school at the end of this year.

Her advisor is recommending that she early admit into Broward Community College. She will still be regarded as a high school student since she can only take Dual Enrollment approved courses.

She seems to be very inclined to do this.

but everyone we have talked to discourages this, saying that she is better of taking AP classes in high school.

I am hearing of reasons that Universities look down at early admit applications since the community college courses are not to AP standard and rigor and wonder why a kid would take a course in community college, when the same is offered as an AP course in her high school.

Can someone shed some light on this? Does anyone have any opinion?


Assuming that she will continue to be a high school student (i.e. not graduate high school early), then the “college courses versus AP courses” choice comes down to:

  1. The specific college courses and AP courses that she would choose in each option. Whether one is better than the other both for actual academic progression and college admission depends on the specific courses chosen.
  2. Whether she wants and is ready for the actual college course experience (where students much be better at self-motivation and time management than in more heavily supervised high school courses), assuming that these are college courses at the college (not “college courses in the high school”).

She should not graduate high school early, because if she does and then takes college courses after high school graduation, she will have to apply through the transfer path at most colleges, which tends to be less favorable for merit scholarships and more opaque for admissions at many colleges.

As long as she is still enrolled in high school and thus dual enrolled, it shows rigor - she can at most, take 5 APs per year but the compressed nature of college courses means she could take 4 college courses each semester, ie., 8. In addition, for sequential subjects she can progress much faster, ie., take Spanish 201-202 or Calculus1&2 in just a year (v.2 for typical APs). Finally community colleges offer classes not offered in AP, such as philosophy, that can indicate extra rigor.
In terms of credit, APs are more likely to offer credit outside your state, but the most selective private universities offer placement, not credit, anyway.
So, the comparison in terms of college admissions isn’t academic but rather ECs: the student should either continue activities at the HS or make sure to continue them at the college level.

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If she is aiming for schools above UF, and she is taking classes that are also offered at the high school, I don’t like it. The reason I don’t like it is because of the quality of the classmates. In an AP class in HS, you are generally surrounded by the top students in the HS. The students that are in the CC came from the HS class likely two tiers below you ( just one or two years older). That can really impact the quality of the class. Of course there are times when the CC is valid. If the HS is of lower quality (low AP pass rate), the student is taking classes above what is offered at the HS (e.g. MVC), or the student is aiming at colleges at or below the state flagship. I wouldn’t leave a quality HS to take Comp 1 instead of AP English.

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Our school district has put a lot of effort over the past couple of years into encouraging dual enrollment among high school students.

And, it’s not just community colleges, but four year schools as well, including our state’s flagship university.

That may be an option for your daughter if she’s more interested in taking college classes than taking AP classes but is unsure about going the CC route.

At my school dual enrollment is typically used to funnel students into the local state school and community college. I’m guessing this program is similar. If so, do not do this unless your D wants to go instate. Additionally, AP classes are typically more rigorous than those at community colleges.

There are worse fates than getting into UF…
But all in all, for college acceptance purpose, there isn’t much difference, but of course the classes need to be chosen carefully.
It would depend on the high school: in many Florida schools, dual enrollment is offered to students who’ve used up HS offerings and would only have 1-2 APs left to take, then woule fill the rest of their schedule with random electives.

One consideration is that any dual enrollment classes taken during HS must be reported and their grades included in GPA calculations when applying to any healthcare professional program. (Med school, PT school, dental schools, PA school, etc.)

AP classes are not included on those same applications.

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I think it depends on her goals and what her academic peers are doing. I have been told that AP courses at our HS are more rigorous than the dual enrollment equivalents and my S21 took all APs, no DE. His AP courses are filled with all top tier, motivated students, whereas the DE courses have all “levels” of students enrolled. Our goal was not for him to maximize college credit in HS, but to get the best HS education possible. If he ends up with some useful college credit, that’s gravy. I think he’s learned more in APs than he would have in DE. But admittedly we don’t have DE experience.

So for your D I think the questions would be, will she be similarly engaged in DE courses vs AP? Is she planning to stay in state for college, where the DE credits are likely to transfer, or will she pursue OOS and private colleges? Is the financial gain from getting courses out of the way in HS important to your family (if the tuition at her target schools is charged by credit hour)?

Editing to add: it probably depends too on which courses she’s looking to take DE. Advanced math (beyond AP Calc BC) is higher rigor than a basic English course.