On Wednesday, April 26, Azusa Pacific University will officially launch a partnership with Whittier Christian High School (WCHS) to offer dual-enrollment classes beginning in fall 2023. These courses will give WCHS students credit for both high school and college courses simultaneously. WCHS students will be able to take: Personal Finance, Business Communications, Principles of Management, and Business and Entrepreneurship.

While many high schools across the country offer Advanced Placement (AP) classes, which offer college credit through AP tests, many colleges do not accept AP courses for college credit. Even if they do accept AP, most colleges require a score of four or five on AP tests, which is particularly challenging to achieve for students. “Are AP tests the best method for assessing student mastery of content and learning outcomes? Not always,” said Michael White, MA, vice president of Enrollment Management. “Some students are incredibly smart but just aren’t good test takers. Dual-enrollment courses are a better method to test course material knowledge and are better at preparing students for collegiate courses.”

A huge benefit of dual-enrollment classes is that students can save thousands of dollars compared to what they would spend on the same classes in college. While the course material is entirely the same and the instructors have been vetted and approved by APU faculty, the classes cost a fraction of what they would in college. “Whittier students are only paying $75 per UNIT . If they take all four classes by the time they graduate from high school, they could enter college with almost a semester's worth of credit under their belt and would have saved several thousands of dollars” said Roxanne Helm-Stevens, dean of the School of Business and Management.

Both WCHS Head of School, Carl Martinez ’95, MBA ’03 and College Advisement Director, Joel Nunnally ’02, MAEd ’05 are APU alumni who majored in business during their undergraduate studies. “WCHS is thrilled at the opportunities APU is affording to our students. These are the same courses we completed at APU and to think our students can enjoy these courses in high school is a huge advantage and blessing,” Martinez said. “We expect to have full enrollment in all dual enrollment offerings. WCHS is very grateful for APU and our partnership together helping students explore, discover, and pursue their life calling.”

Dual enrollment courses are open to WCHS sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a 3.0 or higher GPA. “We’re excited to get these students familiar with a college curriculum. These courses will get them more comfortable with a syllabus, managing assignments, and give them the tools and confidence they need to succeed in college,” said Tina Sprague, enrollment partnerships manager. APU plans to expand dual enrollment offerings to two other schools by the end of 2023 and expects to continue adding school partners in the future.