AP Credit and Your University
AP or Advanced Placement are college-level courses offered to high school students. AP has been run by the College Board since 1955 and currently offers 34 courses for students to choose from. These courses come from across the academic spectrum and include Environmental Science, Psychology, Latin, Microeconomics and Chinese Language and Culture. Many US colleges and universities accept AP credits enabling college-bound students to get certain classes out of the way, while also saving them money.
Unlike other classes taught in high school, AP courses take a different approach to each subject, with students and teachers actively engaging in discussions, problem-solving and by working collaboratively. That’s the approach college professors take, therefore AP courses enable students to get a taste of college learning and earn credits by successfully completing these classes.
Besides four-year colleges in the United States, AP credit is accepted abroad, with the College Board stating that credit and advanced placement or both is common in more than 60 countries.
AP courses are not open to all students with many schools restricting participation to honors students. If you are interested in taking such courses, contact your guidance counselor or school AP advisor.
When high school students complete an AP course, they’ll sit for a related exam. Exams are scored based on multiple-choice and free-response sections for a composite score. The composite score is based on a five-point scale with “5” representing “extremely well qualified” and “1” coming in as “no recommendation.” Colleges may accept scores of “4” for “well qualified” and even “3” for “qualified,” awarding a corresponding number of credits based on the composite score. Each college and university sets its own policy regarding credits awarded or waived.
In recent years, college and university administrators have been reviewing their AP policies, with some making the decision to award fewer credits or remove this privilege altogether. Indeed, Dartmouth College has announced that beginning with the entering Class of 2018, it will no longer grant credit for AP, A-Level or IB examinations. For some subject areas the exemptions will remain with advanced placement in upper level courses still possible for high achieving students.
If you plan to take AP courses, you should familiarize yourself with your prospective college’s policies. By taking such courses you can still gain an academic advantage, but you may have to lower your expectations when it comes to such courses receiving recognition from your college.