Anisha Vanka
4 min read Grades and GPA

Does Dual Enrollment Affect Your High School or College GPA?

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What’s Covered:

 

Colleges love when students challenge themselves academically, and one way to do that is by taking dual enrollment courses. But how do dual enrollment courses impact your GPA? Are they better than AP/IB courses? Here’s the info you need to know to help you figure out your path.

 

What is Dual Enrollment?

 

Dual enrollment allows you to take college courses while in high school (hence the term “dual enrollment,” as you’re enrolled in two institutions at a time). These courses are also referred to as “dual credit.”

 

Students usually choose dual enrollment to take more challenging courses that may not be offered at the high school level. Dual enrollment classes may be taught at the high school, or on a college campus. 

 

When dual credit courses are taught on college campuses, that gives you a great opportunity to get familiar with the college setting and make connections with professors. You also typically don’t need to pay extra for these courses, allowing you to potentially earn college credit for free.

 

Does Dual Enrollment Affect Your High School or College GPA?

 

High School

 

Some schools weight dual enrollment like they would an AP/IB class (and extra 1 point), or an honors class (an extra .5 points). Other high schools don’t weight dual enrollment grades at all. Most commonly, however, dual enrollment courses are weighted with an extra .5 points.

 

Here’s a chart for how grades are typically weighted for regular, honors, and AP/IB courses:

 

Letter Grade

Percentage

GPA (Regular)

GPA (Honors/Dual Enrollment)

GPA (AP/IB)

A+

97-100%

4.0

4.5

5.0

A

93-96%

4.0

4.5

5.0

A-

90-92%

3.7

4.2

4.7

B+

87-89%

3.3

3.8

4.3

B

83-86%

3.0

3.5

4.0

B-

80-82%

2.7

3.2

3.7

C+

77-79%

2.3

2.8

3.3

C

73-76%

2.0

2.5

3.0

C-

70-72%

1.7

2.2

2.7

D+

67-69%

1.3

1.8

2.3

D

65-66%

1.0

1.5

2.0

F

Below 65%

0.0

0.5

1.0

*Honors and dual enrollment courses usually get an extra .5 and AP/IB get an extra 1 point. 

 

College

 

Dual credit courses are very unlikely to impact your college GPA, even if you’re using the courses as college credits. Most colleges only consider the grades you earn once you’re a college student.

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How Do I Calculate a Weighted GPA?

 

Calculating your GPA can be tricky, but we luckily have a free GPA calculator that makes the process as painless as possible.

 

Our GPA weights dual enrollment classes by an extra .5, but make sure to double check your school’s weighting policy. If you want to calculate your GPA manually, see our post on finding your weighted GPA.

 

Having said all of that, don’t stress too much about your school’s specific policies. Colleges recalculate GPAs using their own standardized formulas, since every high school weights grades differently. Colleges really just want to see evidence that you’re challenging yourself and being an invested student.

 

Is Dual Enrollment Better than AP or IB?

 

It depends. If you’re considering dual enrollment vs AP/IB classes, ask yourself these questions:

 

  • Why do you want to take advanced classes? 
  • What do you want to get out of these classes?

 

There are definitely advantages to dual enrollment courses. They can give you exposure to the rigor of college academics, help you earn college credit before you even enter college, and even help you figure out what you want out of your college experience. 

 

However, AP/IB classes are generally considered by college admissions officers to be more rigorous than dual enrollment, and they also boost your GPA more. Here are some differences between the two: 

 

AP/IB:

 

  • Carry more weight in college applications
  • Can sometimes earn college credit if you pass the exam, though different colleges have different policies
  • Will definitely show up on your high school transcript and the extra weighting may increase your GPA

 

Dual enrollment:

 

  • Gives you exposure to college-level courses
  • May or may not be weighted extra when calculating your GPA
  • Some colleges (usually in-state public universities) offer transfer credits for dual enrollment, but others don’t 

 

Bottom line: AP/IB classes are the safer bet because they’re considered to be more rigorous than dual enrollment and you’re more likely to be granted credit for them. That said, there may be cases where there is no AP equivalent, but there is a dual enrollment course, such as Multivariable Calculus. This is when taking that dual enrollment class makes a lot of sense.

 

Check out this post on AP vs. Dual Enrollment for more information about the pros and cons of each!

 

How Does Dual Enrollment Impact Your College Chances?

 

Taking harder courses shows colleges that you’re willing to challenge yourself, and admissions officers view this favorably.

 

In fact, the first step to increasing your chances of acceptance is to meet the academic standards of previously-accepted students. Selective colleges use a metric called the Academic Index to filter out applicants based on GPA and test scores. If you’re not academically prepared, you may be rejected automatically.

 

To see whether your academics are strong enough, take a look at CollegeVine’s free Chancing Engine. Not only will you find out how likely you are to be admitted to more than 500 schools in the United States, but you’ll also get tips to improve your profile. Best of all, it’s free!

 

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Short Bio
I'm originally from Vienna, VA and go to William & Mary. Other than writing, I enjoy baking and reading! I'm a member of my university's rowing team and am also a research assistant in a psychology lab.

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