Front Range Community College Blog

AP vs. Concurrent Enrollment: What’s the Difference?

AP-Concurrent

At Front Range Community College we often get the question “is it better to take concurrent enrollment or AP classes?”  Parents want to know how they can save money on college tuition. Students want to know how they can take advantage of high level courses and jump start their college careers.  With the options out there today, it can be hard to choose!

Jump Start Life After High School

Concurrent Enrollment  (called “College Now” at FRCC) and Advanced Placement (AP) are two popular options in high schools.  Concurrent Enrollment allows high school students in grades 9-12 the opportunity to take college level courses, either by taking a class offered at the high school or coming to a college campus.  Concurrent Enrollment classes go on students’ college transcripts up front, and credit often transfers if students get a C or higher.

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered at the high school, then students take an AP test at the end of the course.  Students can get college credit from AP exams if they get a certain score (often 3, 4, or 5) and the college they attend accepts the credits. See AP credits a college accepts.

Either way, students, it’s important to consider what’s best for you based on how you learn and what your high school supports.

Why Concurrent Enrollment?

  • Students save money in college after high school.  The school district will pay your tuition for College Now classes in high school.  This means you are saving money toward a college degree after high school. Get a jump start today and save!
  • Students save time in college after high school.  Many classes are guaranteed to transfer from FRCC to public Colorado universities.   Students could graduate from college and start a career earlier!
  • Students can set themselves apart on resumes and scholarships.  Show that it pays to be a committed worker and a good investment for employers and scholarships!
  • Demonstrate your knowledge over the course of the semester.  If you pass with a C or higher, classes can count toward a degree at FRCC, or often transfer.
  • Try something new.  If you take a class on campus, you can take something that the high school doesn’t offer.  If you take a class at the high school, you can get college credit for work you are already doing toward high school graduation.  Either way you can find something you love!

Still, consider that…

  • College classes tend to be more rigorous and fast-paced than high school classes.  Rather than being in class for a full year at the high school, you are only in class for a semester at the college. If you take a class on campus, you might have class only two days per week but have homework to complete outside of classes.
  • Like high school, sometimes it can be tricky to make scheduling work.  Students work with the high school to schedule classes.

What about AP?

  • AP classes are offered at high school sites.  You may need to pay for your own test but should talk with your high school.
  • Students can often transfer AP credit after high school upon receiving a 3, 4, or 5 on the test at the end of the year.
  • AP offers an in-depth, year-long experience to learn the material.
  • Students can set themselves apart on scholarships/resumes by taking classes from a nationally recognized program.

Still, consider that…

  • It’s best to check with the college you plan to attend to see what AP exams they accept (if any) and what score has to be achieved to get credit.  One school might accept a 3, but other schools may require a 4 or 5.
  • Not everyone feels comfortable with a one time test at the end of the class to get college credit.

Talk with Your Counselor

Interested students and parents should talk with their high school counselor about what programs the school supports and what classes the student may be able to take.  Staff at Front Range Community College can also help direct you.  Contact us for more information.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sheena Martin has worked at Front Range Community College for nine years, serving in both the academic advising and concurrent enrollment departments. She loves seeing high school students have access to college coursework with the dual support of the high school and college, and gets excited any time a student achieves his or her goals, whether that is passing a class, graduating with a degree, and everything in between.