Concurrent Enrollment Classes Should Count as AP

Athena Diamantidis and Silvia Alfonso

The fall semester signals the beginning of the new school year for grades preschool through college. For many students like myself, not only do we take courses at Terra Linda, but also at our local community college, College of Marin (COM).

There are many advantages to taking COM courses. For example, if you want to fulfill your language requirement, you can either take two years of either French or Spanish at Terra Linda, or two semesters of French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, German, and more, at COM, essentially cutting down your class time by half. You also have a greater variety of languages to take.

Furthermore, if your course happens to be UC Transferable, you can transfer those credits to any 4-year UC and pay about $50 per credit at COM as opposed to exponentially more per credit at another university. However, there are some restrictions. Technically, you are not allowed to enroll in a COM course which is offered at TL. This is in order to hypothetically prevent many people from going to COM instead and leaving TL classes empty,  which would result in TL teacher job loss. However, it is possible to become an exception to the rule and to take a course anyway, with counselor and administrative approval.

Why are these college level classes not given an AP grade bump? This is extremely unfair, considering that these courses are just as rigorous as a high school AP class which gets a grade bump. Therefore, many concurrently enrolled students work extremely hard and do college level work without receiving a grade bump that many are awarded for doing easier courses at TL.

To clarify, it’s up to the school whether or not to give these courses a grade bump. It’s not some external national system that would take forever to change. This means that some high schools already give concurrent enrollment courses a grade bump so someone who takes the same course as you would get a higher grade just by being at a different school.

To invalidate students’ hard work by not giving them a well-deserved grade bump is unfair and unmotivating.

Let’s think about two hypothetical students, Josh and Sally. Josh has taken five courses, two of them being AP. Sally has taken seven courses, two of them being AP. They get As in all of their courses. Who gets the higher GPA? Josh does. Why? Because the flawed system divides the GPA by the number of classes. This means that if you have straight As, the more non-AP classes you take, the lower your GPA is. Even though Sally takes two more courses and gets straight As, her GPA is 4.2 compared to Josh’s 4.4. This can make a big difference in the future when applying to colleges. And since concurrent enrollment classes count as non-AP, they essentially lower the GPA of a straight A student taking one.

I interviewed Jack Riley, a sophomore at Terra Linda. He takes two courses at COM and spends an average of six hours a week there. Initially, he said he didn’t mind the lack of grade bump. Riley noted, “Personally I’m doing it for the knowledge, not for the grade bump.” However, after he was made aware of how his GPA lower with the more classes he takes”, he said, “I was unaware of that, and that’s definitely a flawed system. It’s not cool.”

So, to recap: Straight-A students who choose concurrent enrollment do college level work in an actual college with other college students and instead of receiving a grade bump, it actually lowers their GPA. We need to change this, now.