AP and College
Taking AP courses and exams improves your chances of getting into college, and can even help you minimize your college costs.
AP and College Admission
Colleges and universities value students who take the most challenging courses available at their school — for many schools, AP courses are the most advanced courses offered. In fact, 85 percent of selective institutions report that a student's AP experience favorably impacts admission decisions. AP courses on your transcript show colleges that you are intellectually curious, unafraid of hard work, and capable of learning the knowledge and skills expected of college students.
Your AP Exam scores provide colleges and universities with additional information about your ability to succeed in college-level study. Check the admission websites of the colleges that interest you to see if sending your official scores will help support your application.
Visit the Get In (Opens in a new window)section of Big Future to learn more about the college application process.
How AP Can Help You Save on Cost of College
You probably know that if you earn a qualifying score on an AP Exam, you can receive credit for the equivalent course at colleges and universities across the United States and in 60 other countries around the world. Depending on which college you attend, this could mean thousands of dollars saved.
Here are some other ways that AP can help you save on college that you might not have considered:
- Students who take AP courses and exams are more likely to graduate in four years, while most students take five or six years, and sometimes even longer, to earn bachelor's degrees at public colleges and universities. This means that the AP students who graduate on time save themselves and their families thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary college costs.
- AP could increase your eligibility for scholarships. 31 percent of colleges and universities consider a student's AP experience when making decision about which student will receive scholarships.
Visit the Pay for College (Opens in a new window)section of Big Future to learn more about college costs and financial aid.
How to Earn Credit for Your Scores
If you earn an AP Exam score of 3 or higher, chances are you can receive credit, advanced placement or both from your college — nearly all colleges and universities in the United States — as well as many institutions in more than 60 other countries — grant credit and placement for AP scores or acknowledge AP scores in the admission process.
College credit and/or advanced placement can be a big reward for all the hard work you put into your AP courses and exams. Also, when you enter college with credit you've already earned through AP, you can save time and money. With a head start on your degree, you may have the flexibility to move into upper-level courses sooner, pursue a double major or study abroad.
So, How Does It All Work?
- The first thing to understand is that each college and university — not the College Board or the AP Program — makes its own decisions about awarding credit and placement. Most have a written policy spelling out things like the minimum required score to earn credit for a given AP Exam, the amount of credit awarded and how credits are applied. You can review this information by using the AP Credit Policy Search but make sure to confirm it on the college's website since policies can change.
- To receive credit, you must request that the College Board send your official AP score report to the college of your choice, either at the time of testing or afterward through a score report request. Colleges will usually notify you during the summer, after receiving your scores, about any credit, placement and/or course exemptions you have earned. If you have questions about the status of your AP credit or placement, you should contact your college. Send your AP score report to your college.
Get the most out of your classesYou’ll see the benefits of taking an AP class right away. In AP classes, just like in college, you’ll face new challenges and learn new skills in the subjects you care about. All with the support of your classmates and teachers.
With AP, you get to dig deeper into subjects you love. Your school can choose from more than 30 AP courses in subjects that directly reflect your interests.
In AP's immersive courses, you get to learn how things really work. Tackle concepts that will stick with you long after the class is through.
In AP classes, learning means sharing your ideas and expressing yourself. Add your unique perspective—the dialog and debate contributes to the knowledge that everyone shares.
With AP, you get to explore new ideas with your classmates and AP teachers. See and feel what college work is actually like, while receiving the support to help you get there.
Get to know yourself.
In AP classes, you can set bigger goals for yourself and do things you never thought possible. AP students can really test and push themselves in a familiar setting while gaining confidence, developing good study habits, and enjoying a great learning experience.