Education is always changing as are college requirements. For years, the standard in college preparatory education was offering Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Although AP courses still have a place in college preparatory education, dual credit courses have become a great tool to prepare students for college while saving time and money. So how are families to decide which path to pursue? Michele Puglisi, SCCS Director of Academics and College Advisement helps us understand the benefits of dual credit courses.

“The greatest benefit to dual enrollment courses is the ability to earn college credits prior to graduating from high school,” shared Michele Puglisi. “Beginning your college career with college credits allows a student to either graduate early from college, or it allows them room in their schedules to double major.”

When figuring out a student’s GPA, colleges look at dual enrollment courses as actual college courses and designate them at the highest status. While each college is different in how dual enrollment classes will be transferred in, they do recognize them as college credits that ultimately count toward their college units.

“AP courses are designated by the College Board. Each AP course has a rigorous syllabus on what subject material must be taught and learned prior to the AP test which occurs in May of the school year,” continued Michele. “While AP courses are also given an extra point toward GPA, they are not guaranteed to transfer. It is all conditional on how well the student did on the AP exam, and what the individual college determines to be a high enough score and what they deem it to count for. Dual Enrollment on the other hand is a structured course taught all year long at the college level of education standard and the grade a student receives is the grade that transfers to the college they will be attending. The course is not aimed at passing a test like the AP.”

Through partnerships with Colorado Christian University and The Master’s University, SCCS currently offers nine dual credit courses and will be potentially adding more in the near future. “We are researching the costs to our students to also partner with schools like George Fox, Bob Jones, and Biola for dual credit opportunities,” continued Michele. “The courses we offer transfer to all schools, meaning that the three credits are earned credits toward their bachelor’s degree though they may not equate at each school to the same discipline credit.”

While dual enrollment courses cost a parent $300 a course, they are far less money than taking the course on a college campus which can run into the $1000’s. By taking theses courses during high school, a student cuts the cost of attending the college they plan on attending, while opening up space for other opportunities, such as interning, working, or dual majoring.

“There is so much information to comprehend at the high school level – why we teach what we teach, why a Christian education is so vital in today’s society, and how we are doing everything we can to provide the utmost academic experience for our students,” shared Michele. “To help families better understand this topic, we are having an informational meeting this coming Monday, February 24th at 6:30 pm in the Resource Center. Come listen, ask questions, and hear how we are meeting your child’s education needs and getting them ready to be successful in their future!”