The Duel in Dual Enrollment Program


“I wish I had taken Dual Enrollment English,” a junior said, who is currently enrolled in World Literature Honors.

“I wish I had taken World Literature Honors English,” a junior responded, who is currently enrolled in Dual Enrollment English.

What is the truth about the difference between Honors and Dual Enrollment classes, particularly English and History?

Well, the truth is, it is probably up to you.

Although some students do have the mindset that Honors is better, other see Dual Enrollment as better with the college credits it offers.

During the past couple of years, students have been given the opportunity to take Dual Enrollment (DE) classes to earn college credits. Up to five DE classes are offered in DMAE, including English, History, Spanish III, Sociology and Anatomy & Physiology. The program is affiliated with Bergen Community College (BCC), offering students the opportunity to earn the credits by obtaining a class average of a B- or higher. In addition, the cost is just $60 per credit. Students who receive free and reduced lunch pay just the registration fee of $15.

But not everyone responded positively to the program. A controversy sprouted when the Honors program lost a significant number of AE students to DE English and History courses last year, seemingly because the students’ intention was to evade what they believed was the more rigorous Honors courses.

“There is a fallacy that students were diverted from honors classes,” Director of Guidance Noel Gordon stated.

When the DE class for English was developed at DMAE, it was going to be offered as an alternative Composition course for AE students, not an alternative World Literature course, due to the fact that it was articulated as the BCC freshman Writing Composition I and II. When it became a core course option and AE students began to take the course, the controversy grew.

One AE teacher explained that “Academy students lost their status when they took the DE class.”

However, much of the discontent came from the opinion that the DE course was less challenging and failed to cover important areas of content that Honors classes do.

Some students currently enrolled in the DE program agree that their classes give less workload than do Honors classes and that the English course covers less literature. They also know they are missing out on certain learning experiences, such as the Odyssey Project for World Literature 1H, one of the highlights of junior year.

But these facts do not disqualify the class as a college-level course or even one that lacks rigor. In fact, the truth is that both “World Literature” classes have “honors” merit.

Senior Christopher Rim, who is enrolled in DE World Literature II (Writing Composition II), has had a wonderful experience in DE English.

“In Dual Enrollment English, I was more focused on the content of my writing, which helped me a lot,” Christopher said.

Many students love that the DE English teacher Anna Markowski works with them individually on their writing. Ms. Markowski believes her lecture-atmosphere is rigorous yet not overwhelming. In addition, she explained that her writing classes “are ideal for students who aspire to major in math and science in college since literature is not important for their field of study.”

Other students find her DE course to be difficult.

“The class is definitely challenging and a lot of work,” asserted junior Marta Galdamec.

Similarly, DE History gives students an option and a preview of what a college class might be like.

According to teacher Janice Acebo, “If you have an interest in getting an idea of what a college class would be like, in saving money for your parents by getting these college credits, or in working with new people,” then Dual Enrollment might be the correct choice for you.

Ms. Acebo teaches the DE World History (Western Civilization I and II) courses and believes they helps student see what college is going to look like. She explained that her course is particularly beneficial for those students who want to attend a state school where the credits are likely to be accepted.

Some students who enrolled in DE History had just those intentions while others simply enjoy it for its different academic approach.

“I think DE History offers better quality teaching,” remarked junior Pratik Shah. “I feel Ms. Acebo teaches from a broader aspect.”

By articulating with BCC, Ms. Acebo was able to develop a challenging curriculum that covers Western Civilization I and II, which is essentially a college level freshman history class. Ms. Acebo believes that her class is comparable to an AP class because it prepares students for what to expect in college.

In fact, she thinks it is even better than an AP course since the practicality of the college credits and the fruitfulness of a year’s worth of hard work are not determined by a single exam at the end of the year.

But buyers beware. While BCC accepts these DE credits as long as all prerequisites are met, students who wish to transfer them to other schools may have some trouble. According to an admissions officer at Montclair State University (MSU), most Undergraduate Admissions for out-of-state colleges do not grant college credits for DE courses and most schools prefer Advanced Placement over Dual Enrollment credits. She explained that if students plan on transferring their credits to in-state schools, the options for colleges are limited because not all New Jersey state schools accept DE credits.

“Students should be careful to check and see if the school of their choice will accept their credit. We accept most DE credits here at MSU,” she said.

Senior Arsh Patel found out the hard way that not all schools do.

“I did pay for the DE college credits. At that time, I felt that they would be accepted at any college that I wished to attend, but after checking their individual policies, I have found out that most of the colleges I want to go to will not accept DE credits.”

Opposition continues to exist on the DMAE campus to some extent, as some argue that the DE program does not live up to the standard to which it claims.

For any prospective DE students, it is thus important to do research on priority colleges and check the compatibility of the DE credits.

So what’s better? The answer is up to you.