TCC vs. AP Classes

MISD collaborated with Tarrant County College (TCC) for the dual credit option for many years. It allows you to receive definite college credit in high school when you pass the class. With a number of TCC classes being offered at Lake Ridge, students can apply for them in hopes of getting credit for the college they want to go to. However, there is a perception among some students that these dual credit courses are very laid-back classes that are easy and do not take much effort to pass.

In order to receive college credit for taking an AP class in high school, you must first pass the AP exam. This is very different than getting credit for a TCC course because all you have to do is pass the class to get the credit. Senior Bailey Cook, who takes a TCC British Literature course says that AP classes are more difficult than TCC classes, and they require more work to learn a topic, while with TCC, the learning is more abrupt.

“I think that it’s an assured college credit for college because not everyone can pass an AP test. The professors are pretty easy and the classes are pretty easy. I would say it’s not as challenging as it could be. I agree that it’s less work than AP classes, but it’s more to the point than AP classes. So AP classes are a lot of work and kind of go into detail, whereas TCC classes are a lot more blunt,” said Cook.

Carolynn Ordiway-Theim is an adjunct instructor who teaches British Literature 2 and English Composition 1302. Ordiway says that the course she teaches requires more work than a regular English class, maybe just not to the extent of an AP one.

“It’s more rigorous than the average high school English class. I do expect them to know more. With Brit Lit there’s not just memorizing facts, but there’s also being able to understand what that information means, and so that combination can be rigorous,” said Ordiway.

Kasra Kolyaei, a junior in TCC English III, says that the flow of the course all depends on the professor you are given. He is enjoying his English class because it is simpler and more laid-back. Advanced Placement classes are taught by high school teachers who are trained by the College Board, while TCC courses are taught by college professors or adjunct instructors that are qualified to teach the subject.

“There is no rigor, it’s very simple. It gives a whole lot of breathing-room. At least in AP English, they pretty much are beating the kids up with essays and multiple choice questions. In TCC, all we’ve done so far, at least with my professor, is we’ve read stories, we’ve taken one quiz, and now we have started an essay, which is rather simple. I know for some other kids, their professors are beating them down, but for me right now it’s pretty easy.┬áIt’s as easy, if not easier, than a regular class. But then again, it is all based on your professor,” said Kolyaei.

High school is preparation for college. According to Leanne Turley, a junior in TCC US History, compared to an average high school class, TCC is less of one-on-one working with teachers and more of individual effort, but still rather easy

“Honestly, I think they’re not as hard. They do get you ready for college and are more college-based, I believe. More lectures rather than high school work. It’s very independent and on-your-own, you don’t have a teacher holding your hand the whole time, and it kinda just gets you ready. To a point, I think it’s less work as in worksheet work, but you still have to listen. I honestly think it’s less work in the classroom because all you have to do is listen to lectures,” said Turley

Senior, Holly Simpson is enrolled in TCC British Literature, TCC pre-calculus, and TCC macroeconomics. Simpson says her dual credit course allows her to be at ease, but at the same times gives her the right amount of important information that is needed.

“It is a lot less stressful than taking AP classes and I think it’s more relaxed and I find that really helpful because I am very easily stressed. I think with it being more relaxed, people are encouraged to not really learn in that class. I think it is possible to learn without all the worksheets and a lot of the time it’s busy-work and TCC kind of cuts that out [to where] it’s more lectures and you’re taking in the information,” said Simpson

Simpson also says her TCC courses gives her more room to ask questions that fits her learning style compared to Advanced Placement.

“I think it better suits my learning style to take TCC. I am able to take information in at a slower pace, though I feel like we’re getting deeper into it and it’s a lot easier to ask questions. It’s not as intimidating to ask your professor questions than it is in an AP class,” said Simpson

In the end, when deciding which is better: TCC or AP, Ordiway believes the best choice is based on what you want to achieve.

“I really think it depends what your goals are. TCC can be really beneficial. There’s different standards. I know AP is very rigorous and you don’t necessarily get the credits accepted to every school. If you make a 3 [on the AP exam], that’s technically passing, but not every school takes that; whereas with dual credit I think every Texas state school accepts your dual credit transfer if you make a passing grade,” said Ordiway.