AP VS DE: Is DE Easier Than AP?


By Annette Chu, Editor-in-Chief

“AP or Dual Enrollment?” is the question many students have during subject selection. Miami High offers 17 Advanced Placement (AP) classes, as well as 9 Dual Enrollment (DE) classes (two courses in one class because there are two terms) – 4 from FIU and 5 MDC.

According to Dr Hueck, AP Chemistry teacher and Advanced Academics Director, “DE can give college credit without a national exam, but it may not be accepted by all universities. Both DE and AP affect the student’s GPA equally; however, DE grades are extremely important because they are averaged in a different way. AP classes are part of the student’s high school GPA. DE is part of a student’s high school GPA, but it also becomes a part of their college GPA.”


AP or Dual Enrollment

   Some students at Miami High have experience taking both AP and DE classes. Junior Vladimir Somarriba said, “I took DE and AP classes because it was strongly recommended by teachers so it would look good on my college applications. Additionally, I wanted to learn new materials from subjects many don’t understand and a earn form of respect from teachers.”

Junior Ashley Hernandez who currently takes DE: Intro to Education/Teaching Diverse Populations because it was recommended by a friend, “but also because I was informed it was necessary if I wanted to pursue a career in education.”

Senior Lucy Severo is currently in both AP Computer Science classes because they lead up to what she wants to do in the future: computer science. She’s also in DE ENC 1101 and said, “I always heard good news about the class and how the professor teaches writing and grammar well to the students. I’ve always wanted to excel in writing and grammar which is why I chose the class.”


The Benefits

There are obvious benefits to students who take AP and DE classes. Junior Miguel Reyes, who has taken 4 APs and 1 DE, said, “They provide you with college credits, expand your knowledge, and improve critical thinking.”

Junior Esmeralda Hechavarria, who has taken 3 APs and 1 DE, said, “You go into subjects a lot deeper, you save money because you’re taking college classes without having to pay, and a college likes students that challenge themselves by taking AP and DE.”

Senior Jiuber Mena, who has taken 5 APs and 3 DEs, said, “Some students just like the subject so much that they want to learn as much as possible, while others want to improve their GPA.”

Income Tax 2000/Business Taxes & Returns 2010 teacher, Mr. Padilla, said, “I think the students are thriving and enjoying because the class has a variety of skills to gain, and the students are learning real world skills.”

What’s the Difference?                              

   Some AP and DE courses are very similar such as Dual Enrollment ENC 1101&1102 and AP English Language and Composition. Both courses are college writing courses, and if students pass either, they can be excused from taking a writing class in college.

However, despite similarities, students consider each difference when deciding whether they want to enroll in the class or not. Miguel Reyes said, “AP classes have a final exam, while DE does not. The fact that AP classes have an end of the year exam shows that AP classes need more reviewing to obtain that information. In DE, you may learn and obtain information, but it wouldn’t be drilled into you head.”

Junior Amanda Sanchez said, “In DE, you are actually enrolled as a college student in a particular college/university, whereas in AP the class is taught at a college level, yet it is still through your high school.”

Teachers also recognize the differences between AP and DE. Ms. Wong, AP Statistics teacher, said, “To get a credit from an AP class, there is the extra requirement of passing the AP exam while DE automatically grants you college credits with the passing of the course.”

Dr. DeNight, teacher of AP Capstone Seminar & Research and DE: ENC1101&1102, said, “DE is more like the real world. When you take a college class, your grade is determined by how well you perform in the class. AP, in some ways, is not like the real college world because there are very few classes in college that determine the student’s overall grade from one test.”



Sometimes the difficulty of a course can affect students’ choice on whether they want to take the class or not. To Vladimir Somarriba, AP is more difficult since the teachers are under more pressure to get all their students to pass the AP exam, so the students feel that same pressure.”

Similarly, junior Victoria Mendez, who has taken 3 APs and 3 DEs, said, “AP is harder because there is a lot of material in a short amount of time, and the goal is to cram all of the information into your head for the AP exam.”


Teaching AP and DE

The teacher of the course can greatly affect who signs up and who succeeds. If the teachers are passionate about what they are teaching, they may put more effort and do whatever they can for their students, and the students can feel it and start to enjoy the class. Ms. Munguia, AP Calculus AB&BC teacher, said, “I love the reward that comes with getting students to master the challenging material and to earn college credit in the process.”

Mr. Padilla, teacher of DE: Income Tax 2000/Business Taxes & Returns 2010, said, “I enjoy it because I enjoy the subject matter since I used to do it as a profession.”

Ms. Wong said, “Teaching an AP course is a very challenging and rewarding experience. The level of preparation that is necessary to teach an AP course is very extensive and thorough. Since the level in which the subject matter is taught is very high and very difficult, it requires teachers to possess depth of knowledge and the ability to make difficult concepts accessible. At the same time, it is a very rewarding experience to teach motivated students who love learning, so it is all worth it.”



   Students naturally inform their friends on the classes they are taking. One common rumor is that DE is easier than AP. Sophomore Paola Arriaza has heard rumors that classes such as AP Biology, AP Chemistry, and AP Calculus are really hard, but then, she adds, “You also hear rumors that classes like AP Psychology and AP Spanish are super easy.”

However, sometimes, students overexaggerate the information, possibly misleading another student about whether to take a high-level class. Vladimir Somarriba heard AP and DE classrooms are filled with depressed kids and it’s impossible to take multiple at once. Senior Katherine Ramirez-Lopez said, “I heard that as long as you pass the AP test, colleges will give you college credit for it.”



   Some students at Miami High picked AP and/or Dual Enrollment classes based on false information given to them. Nathalie Saladrigas said, “I chose AP Statistics under the belief that it wouldn’t be a difficult class; however, I was wrong.” Junior Melanie Sousa said, “When taking AP Psychology my sophomore year, I came into the class thinking a certain teacher would be in charge of it but found out that the teacher had changed.”

However, other students are not swayed by rumors. Senior Daniela Baron said, “I always make sure to ask previous AP students about their experience in a particular class, learn more about the way the class is structured, the workload, and how each AP test works, etc.”

Miguel Reyes said, “I followed the information given to me directly from the AP and DE teachers, so I was fully aware of what class I was walking into.”


AP Over DE?

   Miami High is an A school this year, and according to Dr. Hueck, “Both AP and DE affect the school grade equally;” therefore, there shouldn’t be much difference in preference between the two courses.

However, AP teachers receive a $50 bonus for every student that passes; therefore, teachers with the most AP students and highest passing rate can make hundreds, and maybe even thousands, of dollars in AP bonuses each year.

Could that be the real reason AP classes are more promoted? Ms. Munguia doesn’t think so. She said, “AP is more promoted because the AP exam provides a way for colleges to see how much students actually learned in the class. All classes vary in difficulty depending on the instructor, so with DE, it is so hard for colleges to gauge content knowledge based on a grade. Does an A really show mastery? Or was the class an ‘easy’ class?”

According to Mr. Padilla, enrollment in AP might be higher because it is harder to get teachers approved to teach DE classes. He said, “It is not easy task to get a DE class approved. I think most teachers probably won’t be able to launch a DE class unless they have a higher degree and/or a recognized credentials.”



So, AP or DE? Ms. Wong recommends students try their hardest to learn as much as they can in whatever class level they are taking. “It doesn’t really matter if you take AP or DE, as long as you get as much learning as possible out of it,” she said.

Ms. Munguia said, “The course I recommend really depends on students’ future goals. If students wish to go outside of Florida, then AP might be better in the sense that it is more recognized nationally. However, if a student wants to stay in state, then DE is just as valuable. I would recommend for students to look at colleges and see what they prefer, specifically regarding college credit for AP and DE.”

Mr. Padilla said, “The student should focus on whether they like the material or not. I do believe that students shouldn’t overload themselves in the high school level and take too many APs or DEs. Instead, students should enjoy their youth; it’s not about the numbers.”

AP Classes Offered

at Miami High

AP English Language & Composition
AP English Literature
AP Statistics
AP Calculus AB
AP Calculus BC
AP Biology
AP Chemistry
AP Computer Science Principles
AP Physics (Algebra based)
AP Psychology
AP Macroeconomics/

AP Government

AP United States History
AP Human Geography
AP Capstone Seminar
AP Capstone Research
AP Studio Art: 2D Design
AP Art-Drawing


Dual Enrollment Classes Offered at Miami High
Income Tax 2000/Business Taxes & Returns 2010
Writing & Rhetoric 1 (ENC1101)/ Writing & Rhetoric 2 (ENC1102)
Intro to Education/Teaching Diverse Populations
SLS –1510—Preparing Student success
Intermediate Algebra (MAT 1033) (Term 1)
Mathematic for Liberal Arts (MGF 1106) (Term 2)