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Dual Enrollment vs. Advanced Placement Classes

Why Cumberland Chooses Dual Enrollment


Cumberland puts a strong emphasis on preparing students for the next level of education. In preparation for this next step, Cumberland encourages students to consider adding additional courses of rigor to their academic schedule. One way of introducing a more rigorous coursework is to have students take college level work, many times in the form of either Advanced Placement (AP) or Dual Enrollment classes. AP classes are normally taken at high school and Dual Enrollment classes are taken at one of our local universities. The question is…which is best for your student?


Advanced Placement

  • Advanced Placement courses are offered in many public and private schools.

  • AP classes are college level classes that prepare you for an AP test which is taken at the end of the school year to earn actual college credit. Parents must pay for the test.

  • The final AP exam has two parts, an essay section and a multiple choice section. These scores are added together to determine a score on a scale of 1 to 5.

  • Most universities require a score of at least 3 to earn the college credit. Students taking AP courses will typically take the course all year (rather than a semester). If for some reason, the student earns less than a score of 3 on the final AP test, the student will not earn any credit for the class.

  • Even with a score of 3, the student’s future college may or may not offer credit for the course.

  • AP credits are posted on both high school and college transcripts if the courses are transferable. An extra quality point is added to their high school GPA.

  • Sometime students tracked into AP programs suffer “grade deflation” (making a lower overall GPA), which could threaten scholarship funding; for example Georgia’s Hope Scholarship requires a 3.0 in certain core courses and courses of rigor.   


Dual Enrollment

  • Dual Enrollment classes are not based on taking a single test, therefore the ability to earn college credit is not based on a single high pressure test!

  • Credit is earned strictly on completed work over the course of a semester.

  • Students are allowed to experience college academics through online classes at one of our local universities or they may choose to experience college life and academics by taking classes at the college campus.  

  • Credit is earned at both high school and the university.

  • Like AP, an extra quality point is added to their high school GPA.

  • Many students prefer taking on-line dual enrollments classes simply for the flexibility of daily scheduling.

  • Typically, students who take dual enrollment classes accumulate more college credit than those taking AP classes with either a guarantee or much higher probability that their future college will accept the credit.

  • Many high school students after graduation have earned enough dual enrollment credits to be considered a sophomore at the start their first year in college.

  • Another great benefit of dual enrollment classes is that through GAFutures, they are free—free tuition, free fees, free books!


Cumberland uses a Joint Enrollment model we consider far superior to an AP model. Our goal is for students to start college a minimum of one semester ahead. Students may choose a different joint enrollment partner, but if you choose our lead partner, we offer full support with enrollment. Classes may be taken on-line or taken directly at the nearby campus for students who can drive. We strongly encourage dual enrollment for students who have a desire to fast-forward with their future college and career dreams. We also offer several courses of rigor that your student may take at our high school. Some examples include Biology II, Chemistry II, Physics, Spanish III & IV, Statistics and Calculus.


How does your high school student get started?
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