AP Classes – Old & Busted. Dual Enrollment – New Hotness.

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We asked Tammy Silver, PCC Trustee (Area 4), for her best insider tip about Pasadena City College. Her advice for current high school students may surprise a few parents.


Local high school students are entering colleges like USC, UCLA, Cal Berkeley and Cal State LA with completed college courses. How can this be? Answer: They are taking dual enrollment classes offered by Pasadena City College.

Not so long ago, high school students were clamoring for AP (Advanced Placement) courses. There was a time when students got a full grade point bump for an AP class, e.g., an “A” in a regular class was worth 4 points and an “A” in an AP class was worth 5 points. If they scored well on the AP exam, many colleges accepted the high school AP course as a college course requirement.

PCC Trustee Tammy Silver.

Those days are gone—no more GPA bump or counting towards a college course requirement. What hasn’t gone away is a whole semester or year of intense work boiling down to the results of one stressful, high-stakes test. After a year of demanding work, studying hard for the AP exam, and doing very well on the exam, what does the student get? Not much. Colleges acknowledge the student took a rigorous course, but they have stripped away the GPA bump and no longer give credit for that AP course.

Here is the good news.

High school students can take an actual college course on their own high school campus that will fill college course requirements and transfer to the UCs, Cal States, and many private universities. Pasadena City College offers dual enrollment courses on every PUSD high school campus and at nearly every high school in the PCC district area. These college courses are taught by PCC faculty and use college-level textbooks. Students think, discuss, and write at a high level. Colleges look at the student’s work based on the grade earned over the entire semester or year, not by one three-hour test. College admissions officers appreciate high school students who take on a college-level course’s rigor and challenge.

Students who take dual enrollment classes win big.

They walk in on the first day of college with college courses in their back pocket, confident they can do college work. Also, students save a lot of money. Students in dual enrollment courses pay zero dollars for tuition and zero dollars for the textbook and don’t have to pay for a test to show what they learned. One AP test costs $98.00, and one class at a UC costs around $1,500.00. That’s a lot of money saved!

“AP classes? That was then.”

Tammy Silver

Students who come to college with dual enrollment courses have more options for their schedules. They can use the completed courses to move faster through college or as an opportunity to take more classes in their field of study or additional electives.

Pasadena City College works hand-in-hand with each high school, providing classes each high school thinks are best for their students. Here is a sampling of courses: students can take college-level California History at Pasadena High School. At La Canada High School, they can take elementary and intermediate Mandarin, linear algebra and applications, and urban sociology. South Pasadena High School offers Intro to Psychology and Beginning Radio Production. San Marino High School has a Health and Social Justice course, a College Algebra for STEM, and an Intro to Biological Psychology course. Blair High School offers Weather and Climate, Elementary Statistics, African-American Music, a California History course, and much more.

In addition to dual enrollment courses where the college class is taught at the high school, high school students are welcome to enroll in courses at Pasadena City College. There is so much opportunity for high schoolers to take exciting classes at no cost, which will transfer to college, giving them a significant leg up on college success.

AP classes? That was then. Dual Enrollment? This is now!

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