Put AP to Work for You
Stand Out in College Admissions
College application season can be an anxious time for you, your family and just about everyone who cares about you. You’ve worked hard and done your best, but how do you know you’ve got the academic experience that colleges are looking for?
By making the decision to take an AP course, you’re letting colleges and universities know that you have what it takes to succeed in an undergraduate environment. AP courses signal to admissions officers that you’ve undertaken the most rigorous classes your high school has to offer. They see that you’ve challenged yourself with college-level course work and expectations, and have refined your skills to meet these expectations. In the increasingly competitive admissions process, this knowledge can be very valuable.
Importantly, AP courses offer admissions officers a consistent measure of course rigor across high schools, districts, states and countries — because all AP teachers, no matter where they’re teaching, have to provide a curriculum that meets college standards. So when admissions officers see “AP” on your transcript, they have a good understanding of what you experienced in a particular class and how well it prepared you for the increased challenges of college.
Earn College Credits
As college costs grow each year, the prospect of continuing education becomes less and less of a reality for many high school students. By making it through 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, advanced placement, or both, 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.
You can see specific colleges’ guidelines on accepting AP scores for credit and placement by searching our 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.
Skip Introductory Classes
If you know what you want to major in at college, taking an AP course related to that major and earning a qualifying score on the AP exam can help you gain advanced placement out of introductory courses. This means that you can possibly place out of crowded required courses, and move directly into upper-level classes where you can focus on work that interests you most.
Even if you take an AP exam unrelated to your major — or if you’re not sure what you want to major in — AP courses can often help you place out of your colleges’ general education requirements. With this additional time on your class schedule, you can pursue a second major or minor, take exciting electives or follow additional interests in new ways.
Links to More AP Pages
I don't think I will score high enough on the AP Exam to get college credit.
You don’t need to score a 5. Many colleges grant credit — and placement as well — based on a 3 or better on an AP Exam.
Taking AP courses could hurt my GPA
Your decision to take an AP course shows admission officers that you’re willing to take on the academic challenge of college-level course work and expectations.
AP Myth vs AP Reality
Check out some of the common myths about AP.