by Elly Beauchamp | Staff Writer
According to the College Board, the average cost of a school year at private colleges averages around $34,740 while public school costs average around $9,970. However, some students are cutting these costs by taking college level courses in high school. While students just have to select an AP (Advanced Placement) class on their course card for the following year, Dual Credit classes require an admissions test to determine if a student qualifies for the course. This year, Dual Credit admissions end on Feb 12. For more information, students can visit the Counselor’s Corner on the Johnson Website.
Johnson high school offers both Dual Credit and AP Classes which can give students college credit. While both are able to cut the classes students must complete in college, the two types of college credit classes are very different, in order to fit different students learning style.
“Dual credit is a program where a student is enrolled here at Johnson in a class, and also enrolled in San Antonio college in a class. They’re dual enrolled, so they’re getting high school and college credit at the same time,” Counselor Taylor Ditto said. “It’s through San Antonio college which is the community college here in town, when [students] go to college, they can transfer [credits] where they’re going if the school accepts it.”
Dual credit classes help students get ahead of the game and take college courses for free, instead of spending money at their selected schools after graduation.
“Any student [is] eligible for Dual Credit. They have to apply and they have to take the TSI which is the Texas Success Initiative. As long as they get the qualifying score, they are eligible to get into the class,” Ditto said.
TSI testing is coming up. Tests go from the beginning of February to the end of April. Even if students don’t get the required score the first time, they are encouraged to take it again if another test date is available.
Dual credit is drastically different from AP classes. AP students have to take a test in order to get college credit, and they only have one chance to take it, unlike the TSI.
“Ideally we would like for students to take AP classes that are very serious about challenging themselves. Because an AP class, which stands for advanced placement, is a college board prescribed curriculum, students are subject to taking notes, writing expository essays, [and] mastering test that are written on that advanced level,” Counselor Richard Boeger said. “We would ask that they’re making very good grades in classes right now, [They should] certainly consult with that classroom teacher to make sure that they are ready, and are willing to take that extra AP class. We do not have a particular test or form to get into that particular course, we just allow students to freely select those.”
There is no test required to join an AP classes. However, students work and study vigorously for the entire year to prepare for the exam in May. In order to get credit, students will need to make a 3,4, or 5. On the other hand, students enrolled in Dual Credit courses have to make an 80 or above to get credit for the class.
“So the AP exam, if you score high enough, especially in the state of Texas, the state universities in Texas accept that score for college credit. Now, when students take the AP exam and lets say they apply to a private university or a university outside the state of Texas, then they should consult that college or university’s AP credit policy for what score they need to earn to gain college credit, which at a lot of the more [competitive] universities is generally a score of 4 or 5,” Boeger said.
Both tests are completely optional for students to take, but teachers and counselors alike believe that the benefits from the classes extend the downsides of the long tests, as the college credits will help them in the future.
“It actually can not hurt them. It’s not connected to their grade here at Johnson high school or their GPA in any way. It’s good test taking experience so no, it really doesn’t hurt them to take the AP or Dual exam,” Boeger said.