That a high school student has taken challenging courses is one of the most important criteria in a college application. By making the decision to take an AP course, a student is letting colleges and universities know that s/he has what it takes to succeed in an undergraduate environment. AP courses signal to admissions officers that you’ve undertaken the most rigorous classes our high school has to offer. Admissions teams see that you have challenged yourself with college-level coursework and expectations and have refined your skills to meet those expectations. In the increasingly competitive admissions process, this knowledge can be very valuable.
AP courses offer college admissions officers a consistent measure of course rigor across high schools, districts, states, and countries — because all AP teachers, no matter where they are teaching, have to provide a curriculum that meets college standards. When admissions officers see the “AP” label on your transcript, they have a good understanding of what you have studied and accomplished in that particular class and how well the course has prepared you for the increased challenges of college. Grades of a C or above in any AP course are also given weighted credit, allowing students to improve their total GPA.
As college costs grow each year, the prospect of continuing education becomes less and less of a reality for many high school students. By completing an AP course and scoring successfully on the related AP Exam, you can save on college expenses. Currently, more than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the country offer college credit and/or advanced placement for qualifying AP Exam scores. These credits can potentially save students and their families thousands of dollars in college tuition, fees, and textbook costs, which can transform what once seemed unaffordable into something within reach. Performing well on an AP exam means more than just completing the course. College Board research shows that students who score a 3 or higher on an AP exam earn higher GPAs in college and have higher graduation rates.
You can see specific colleges’ guidelines on accepting AP scores for credit and placement by searching the AP Credit Policy database. Here you can see how many credits your AP scores will earn you and which courses you may be able to place out of at your future college.
Even if you’re not sure what you want to major in or if you take an AP exam unrelated to your major, AP courses may help you place out of your college’s general education requirements. With this additional time in your class schedule, you can pursue a second major or minor, take exciting electives, or follow additional interests in new ways.
For more information on AP courses and exams visit https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/home