Comparing AP, AC, Dual Credit, and Running Start


Nicole Bartuch ('16)

Students Eli Walker (left) and Jacob Hofstetter (right) look in their AP Calculus book.

Izzy Bratter, Reporter/Ad Director

      One of the most difficult parts of high school is picking your classes. The debate is whether to take accelerated classes, normal classes, advanced placement(AP) classes, Dual Credit classes, or to bypass your last two years of high school and just enroll in Running Start at Rock Valley. Accelerated and AP classes are looked at as rigorous classes that are sometimes unnecessary since the grades are not weighted.

      Regular classes are looked at as easier. They are appropriate for all levels but don’t always challenge the serious students.

      “The harder the class, the more it will prepare you for college,” said Counselor Ms. Lisa Volkman. Examples of these classes would be a regular English 11 class or non accelerated Geometry.

     Accelerated classes are more challenging than regular classes but not as challenging as running start, dual credit, or AP classes would. Accelerated classes set people up for AP classes by preparing them with a more fast pace class.

     AP classes are standard curriculum classes that are the most challenging classes offered at school without connection to Rock Valley College. Colleges recognize the rigor of the courses. At the end of an AP class you take a test to get the college credit. The test is graded on a 1-5. In the state of Illinois, a public university has to give credit for a 3 or higher on the test.

     Dual Credit is an opportunity to take college classes through Rock Valley while still at North. Students can take either one or two classes taught by North teachers or a Rock Valley professor who comes to the school. Some classes may also be online. The thing about Dual Credit classes is that they are only three days a week and students have to find a college that will accept the credits from the class. Unlike AP classes, students do not have to take a test to receive credit since it is a college class.

     “I am in the Dual Credit U.S History class taught by Mr. Husser. I have already taken the Dual Credit business class, psychology, and organizational behavior classes. I have liked all of the Dual Credit classes and I think it is good to be exposed to what a real college class will be like. Taking them makes me feel like I will be prepared for college,” said Payton Lindsay(‘17).

     Running Start is just like Dual Credit as it is classes through Rock Valley but it is full time at Rock Valley. Students enrolled in Running Start no longer have any classes at North. All of their classes are at Rock Valley and their schedule is set up like a normal college schedule would be. “Most credits from Rock Valley transfer to colleges. Students just need to find a college that works for them and accepts the credits that they have,” said Volkman.

     No matter what type of classes people choose to take, they have to keep in mind the grades they get in the class. Grades stay on a transcript all throughout high school, college, and even when students apply to graduate school. Different types of classes work best for different people so high school is all about finding what classes a student should take and challenging themselves so they are better students in the future.