Dual Credit vs AP Classes


Lauren Stringer and Brooke McCain build cosmetology skills during their Del Mar dual credit class.

Ashlee Burns, Managing Editor

Throughout the campus, students are beginning to decide their classes for the upcoming school year. Between required courses and electives there is already an overwhelming number of options, but what about dual credit and advanced placement, or AP, classes?

By now it is likely you’ve heard of dual credit or AP classes, or you may even know someone who takes some, but do you really know what these courses are? Dual credit and AP classes give students the opportunity to earn both college and high school credits at the same time. The difference is that dual credit classes are college courses that grant credit as long as the student is passing with a grade average of an 80 or higher, whereas AP classes are advanced classes that require students to make a certain score on the AP test to earn credit.

Dual credit classes, through Del Mar College, cost less than typical college classes after high school, which saves students a lot of money. Dual credit classes cost $33.33 an hour, whereas college classes after high school can cost anywhere from $90 – $250 an hour. Students are also able to receive free tutoring and college advice through Del Mar college’s various departments, such as the Stone Writing Center, Math Learning Center, and Student Success Center. Students can earn up to a year’s worth of college credit by the time they graduate high school, which could save them $3,264 at a traditional two-year college and $8,893 at a public state university and even more at out-of-state and private colleges! In order to be able to take dual credit classes, students must take the TSI test, or Texas State Initiative, which can be taken through Del Mar College’s testing center. Dual credit classes require students to make a certain score or higher on the reading, writing and English, and mathematics portions of the TSI test.

Similar to dual credit class, AP classes give high school students the opportunity to earn college credit before graduation. One major difference is that any willing student can take an AP class as no test is required to enter such course, but that is not to say these classes are for everyone. AP classes are rigorous classes that expect students to work hard inside and outside of the classroom. AP classes require advanced works, and students are expected to read, write, and analyze information at a high level. In order to earn college credit for an AP class, students need to pay to take the AP test for the class, which eligible students can take at a reduced cost by receiving a waiver from the front office.

Dual credit and AP classes are both great options for students who are willing to put in extra effort to not only earn college credit before graduation, but also save money along the way.