Getting a Head Start on College

Which Choice is Best?

Advanced placement, articulated, and concurrent/dual credit courses can allow students to take challenging college-level courses and shorten the time needed to complete a college degree.

Advantages of Advanced Placement

  • Participate in the only collegiate-level program recognized nationally.
  • Earn credit in over 12,000 colleges and universities.

Advantages of Articulated Credit:

  • Earn college credit for courses leading to a specific career.
  • Earn credit requiring no additional testing.

Advantages of Concurrent/Dual Credit:

  • Earn college credit based on performance over an entire semester.
  • Earn college credit immediately after successful course completion.

Questions About Advanced Placement (AP), Articulated, And Concurrent/Dual Credit Courses

Dual Credit Description1. AP courses enable high school students to participate in college-level course while still in high school. The 35 AP courses offered currently were created by teams of leading educators nationally.1. Articulated course are locally developed and lead to Tech Prep college credit in Associate of Applied Sciences degrees. Courses are taught by local high school teachers.1. Concurrent or dual credit course are college-level courses taken by high school students in which they receive college and high school credit at the same time. Courses are taught by college-approved instructors.
Dual Credit Eligibility2. Each high school develops its own criteria for student participation. Typically, courses are open to students in grades 10 – 12 who are in good academic standing.2. Typically courses are open to students in grades 10 – 12 who are in good academic standing. Students may have to pass a prerequisite course.2. Typically, courses are open to students in grades 11 – 12 who are in good academic standing. Specific eligibility requirements will be provided by the high school counselor.
Dual Credit Grades3. Grades for AP courses are given by the teacher. Because students are working on a college level, AP courses often are "weighted," and students may receive additional points toward their GPA.3. Grades for articulated courses are awarded by the teacher, and students must make at least a ‘B’ in the course to receive the Tech Prep college credit. Declared Tech Prep students may earn Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP) advanced measures.3. Students are taught and graded in the same way as college students who take the same course. Each high school determines how the grade is weighted toward the students’ GPA.
Dual Credit College Credit4. In all cases, students must take an AP exam to receive college credit. The credit received is based on scores earned. Over 90% of U.S. colleges and universities as well as colleges in 20 other countries give credit for AP exams.4. Tech Prep college credit is awarded by the college after the student has enrolled at the college. A high school transcript that reflects graduation status must be on-file at the college prior to the award.4. The college or university offering the class awards credit immediately after students successfully complete the course. Most courses will transfer to any public Texas college or university when a student earns a "C" or better.
Dual Credit Cost5. AP courses are free. Consult with high school counselor for exam costs. The Texas Education Agency pays $30 for each examination taken by eligible students and all but $5 of the cost when taken by eligible students with financial need.5. Articulated courses are free, but students must enroll in a participating college before Tech Prep college credit will be awarded.5. Students may have to pay the regular tuition and fees to enroll in the course. However, some community colleges waive tuition and fees for high school students.

What options and courses are available?

Each school district determines the options made available to its students to earn college credit.

Students should visit their school counselors to discuss their choices. Remember, these decisions are far too important to leave to chance.

More information

For more information on course prerequisites and transferability, contact the Dual Credit department by email at, or one of our staff members on the Dual Credit homepage.