AP Classes VS. Dual Enrollment — Which is Preferred?

I’ve been recently talking with many parents concerning home schooling high school (without government intrusion) and the question has repeatedly come up about which course is better: AP classes or dual enrollment?  Some parents think that AP classes are better. Others think that dual enrollment is better. Is there a right or wrong answer to this question?

I enlisted the help of Lee Binz, theHomeScholar, to find out a more definitive answer to this question. Here is her response, used with her permission:
That answer is totally dependent on the university, I’m afraid. Ivy’s tend to prefer AP, general colleges tend to prefer dual enrollment from homeschoolers (to demonstrate we work well in the classroom, LOL!) But it’s a college by college preference. I can tell you that commuhnity college is a “rated R” environment, so you want to weigh your options carefully, and only you know what’s best for your child. http://www.thehomescholar.com/community-college-fad.php
So the answer: both AND neither.

Let’s look at AP Classes, first. Any class you may want to list on your transcript as “Advanced Placement” or “AP” must be pre-approved by CollegeBoard.org. Using the AP designation without prior approval is illegal. HSLDA has a full write up about college-level testing. The independent homeschooler has a few options for AP classes. For FNSB (Fairbanks North Star Borough) residents, the local school district allows for part-time enrollment (even just one class) so parents can utilize any AP classes offered at their school of residence. Beware, however, that this means your child (and you) will be subject to the new FNSB Truancy Ordinance, if passed. That ordinance’s current wording can be found here under Title 9, Chapter 9.20. Don’t want to attend an AP class at a local public or private school? No problem. HSLDA has a list of places that offer AP classes online to home schoolers. Don’t want to take an online course? That’s okay, too. According to both CollegeBoard.org and Lee Binz, anyone can take an AP exam without having to be enrolled in or taking the corresponding AP class. The HomeScholar has links available in her recent blog article titled “AP Classes and College Credits Infographic.”

Now let’s take a look at dual enrollment. Colleges give credits for classes differently than high schools. Usually, one whole college class is equivalent to one whole high school class. The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District breaks down dual enrollment like this:

Conversion to High School Credit
FNSBSD Outside Credits

For those who are not within the Fairbanks North Star Borough, similar conversions exist within your local school district. Lee Binz has been on it since 2012 and you can find more info in her blog article “College Credits vs. Homeschool High School Credits.”

Whichever course you choose, whether AP or dual enrollment or both, there is tons of information; from online to in person, the goal is to help you and your family along your independent home school high school journey.


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