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WHAT? No Credits Toward College Graduation for Good AP Scores?

It’s incumbent on you to visit the websites of the schools to which you’re going to apply to verify which of your scores will be accepted.

Last Updated: Jul 31, 2017 7:00:00 AM

We bring to your attention this blog published in early May of this year on concerning students who take AP tests:

"There's no guarantee they'll receive credit for their AP scores," said Paul Weinstein, director of Johns Hopkins University's graduate program in public management. 

In September 2016, Weinstein assessed policies of the top 153 universities and colleges, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. His study found 86 percent of them restrict AP credit in some way.

Three-quarters of colleges limited which AP subject areas they accept for credit, for example, while 38 percent capped the number of AP credits they award per student.”

While most to the colleges that you’re likely to apply to will grant credit toward graduation for AP scores of 3 or higher, many of the highly selective schools will not, or have restrictive policies, and not all AP scores are treated equally even by colleges that accept and award credits for them.

The very few colleges that simply don’t grant graduation-related credits for AP scores are highly selective ones, such as Brown, whose website states

Advanced Placement exam scores are not eligible for course credit at Brown, but students may use certain AP scores to enroll in higher-level courses and/or to satisfy concentration requirements. In other words, AP credit will not increase your course credit total.  

Dartmouth grants no credits at all for scores below 4 (Columbia appears to have a similar policy), grants none at all for certain AP tests (Columbia’s list is more expansive), regardless of the student score, and has a “no graduation credits” policy that’s similar to Brown’s.

Dartmouth grants credit on entrance for AP and IB examinations, as well as offers exemptions and placement in some subject areas. Credit on entrance appears on the Dartmouth transcript and does not count towards the 35 credits required to graduate.

In yet another blog at earlier this year, Barbara Hettle published the following chart showing how a hypothetical student who scored a 4 on the AP BC Calculus would fare regarding credit at 10 highly selective institutions: 

Universities and AP Placement Chart

Variability is the point: Even for such Florida schools as the University of Florida, Florida State University, the University of Central Florida, Nova-Southeastern University, and Florida Atlantic University that many of you are likely to attend, you simply can’t assume that your score of 3 or better is certain to get you credits.

Your ability to report a passing (3) AP test score in your application for admission looks better than having no AP scores at all to report, and being able to show a score of 4 or 5 looks great, even on applications to schools that might not accept them for graduation credits. It’s incumbent on you to visit the websites of the schools to which you’re going to apply to verify which of your scores will be accepted for graduation credits and/or allow you to move immediately beyond lower level classes. If websites don’t anwser your questions, call admissions to get the latest updates from the one place that truly counts.

Topics: AP Exams Test Scores College Admission College Application College Planning


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