AP versus DC

Aiden Gamble, Staff Writer

So, school’s started again. Which means everything that makes up a student’s calendar  is back too. Drama, sports, clubs, friendship – it doesn’t sound like much, especially to adults, but if you’re sixteen and trying to live your life according to Facebook, it could fill up planner after planner.

Add on schoolwork, and you’ve got one heavy load. No worries though, most  kids know how to balance school work with life and most successfully manage to balance the slight challenge that is PreAP with life so well that it becomes nearly habit to them. However, once entering sophomore and junior year, counselors begin to ask a question that makes students recoil in fear.

“Would you like that in AP or in DC?”

AP? DC?  What? What is DC exactly? DC as superhero-Batman-Teen Titans-Justice League DC?  Is that the DC the smiling counselor holding the course sheet meant?

And AP? Okay, that one’s easier. You know this one. AP stands for Advanced Placement. AP stands for the smart kids. AP stands for you.

So, even though you have no idea about DC or AP, your pencil is about ready to circle the AP English, or the AP History, or Science. Whatever’s AP that you can take you’re going to circle.

Stop right there. You don’t even know what they really are, yet you’re going to circle it? Big mistake.

First off, DC doesn’t stand for Detective Comics in school. It stands for ‘Dual Credit’ and isn’t a plot by Lex Luthor to lead high schoolers into the art of evil.Secondly, AP doesn’t automatically equate to smart. No class ever means automatically smarter than everyone else in the school. Both of them mean ‘smart’ or even ‘hardworking’ despite having two completely different titles.

Advanced Placement courses are the stereotypical classes for the average overachiever. Rigorous classwork and hard testing make up the typical coursework for an AP class.  In order to balance things out, a majority of AP classes lack the massive piles of paperwork students like to call ‘homework’.    Dual credit doesn’t really differ much from AP in this aspect. Both classes give out college credits, both are harder than normal classes and both are aimed at students who want tough classes.

So what’s the difference?

The difference is the credits.  Both classes do give out college credit, but credits are awarded differently. AP college credit is only given with a successful completion of the AP test. The score given for the high school class is determined by the grades you earn in class; the college credit for an AP class is earned only by passing the AP test. However, with Dual Credit, the grade received in the class is the grade awarded both in college and high school. In short- AP, you fail the class but pass the test you get credit. DC- you pass the class, you get credit.

That’s not the only difference. These credits have to transfer out to whatever college you want them to go to and that’s a major difference as well. DC credit credits gained here in Texas are accepted by public colleges and universities in Texas. AP credits can transfer both in and out of country since the College Board credits are recognized globally.

AP versus DC?  Which one’s better?  Honestly speaking, neither one is the best pick for every single student.  It’s a big decision that should come from  your risk factor and your choice in college. Are you willing to risk that college credit on that one test, because you wanted a challenging class or would you rather have the security blanket of knowing you’ve got this credit wrapped in the bag, even if it meant taking an easier English class?  Do you intend on shooting straight off to Harvard Law or do you intend on kicking it at U of H for a few years?  There’s no definite winner since every student is different, with different ambitions.

So the next time your counselor asks you the dreaded question, take a moment and think about it. Look over all your choices and choose carefully.  These aren’t high school classes any more kiddies; you’re doing college things now, and you’ve got to make the best decision for you.