If you attend high school in Texas, you’ve probably heard of dual credit. If you’re smart, you probably have teachers falling over their own feet trying to convince you that you should be doing all the dual credit you can. You probably will learn pretty fast that it’s a huge pain.
In case you haven’t heard of it, dual credit is a program that gives college credit to high school students. You don’t even have to take a hard test at the end! Instead, you take a hard test at the beginning. How wonderful, logical, and abundantly useful. To be admitted to dual credit, you have to earn certain scores on a bunch of tests, attend a thousand meetings, and spend hours of meaningless paperwork.
The thing they don’t tell you is that dual credit is only accepted at a relatively small number of state schools. If you plan to go to a state school, that’s fine. It doesn’t much matter who else accepts dual credit as long as your school does. The problem arises when you want to go anywhere else. Then, your hard work is erased forever and becomes utterly worthless.
Online classes are worth it. They help you get the credits you need while taking the classes you want during school. AP classes are worth it, assuming you can handle the class without epic failure, since they offer honors credit for GPA and can give college credit that’s accepted nearly everywhere. Dual credit classes? Not so much. They’re the same as regular classes, but with more weird tests and endless falling behind in paperwork and payment submissions.
My personal experience with dual credit has been taking three hour tests after a full school day, running around confused at the local community college and desperately trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing, and spending long hours on the phone with dual credit counselors attempting to make payment and turn in forms. Honestly, the whole thing has been a basket of stress and annoyance.
If you’re making these decisions yourself, I have to put in a good word for hard classes, weird classes (I’m taking music theory and online history. These classes have fourteen and two people, respectively, and are very interesting), and elective classes. Extra classes for “enrichment purposes” are great.
But please, unless you think there’s a good chance that the school you will go to is accepting dual credit, spare yourself the horror that is dual credit (and Spanish III, but that’s another story). Spare yourself the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into dual credit testing and forms. It’s not worth it. Trust me.