How Much College Credit Will I Get for My AP Scores?

So, you studied for months, watched countless crams, took what felt like hundreds of practice tests and you finally took your AP Exams in May! After receiving your scores in July/August, you might be wondering how much credit you will be receiving for your outstanding scores... Well, I’m here to tell you today!

AP Credit Myths 🔱

There has been a long-standing idea that AP scores will not result in any AP credit at most colleges. This is actually untrue! Even at the most selective colleges, AP scores are almost always able to be used for course credit or course placement. While the criteria for AP test score recognition might be different for certain colleges (some colleges require the highest score of a 5 for any credit) almost all colleges do accept AP scores for some type of credit.

Well, How Much Credit Will I Get? 💳

Well, the answer to this is quite complicated. At many schools, AP test scores can be translated directly into credits for courses in college. At others, AP test scores are only used for placement, allowing students to start higher-level courses earlier than a typical freshman. Some colleges simply do not accept AP scores for any credit or placement. Complicating this further, most colleges only accept a specific score (usually 4 or higher) to receive this placement/credit, and it is usually dependent on the specific AP course.

For example, Georgia Institute of Technology requires a minimum score of a 5 on the AP Physics C: Mechanics exam to receive 4-course credits but only requires a score of a 3 on the AP Spanish Language and Culture to receive 6-course credits.  

On the other hand, the University of Alabama only requires a minimum score of a 3 on the AP Physics C: Mechanics exam to receive 4 credits but also requires a score of a 3 on the AP Spanish Language and Culture to receive only 4-course credits.
Image Courtesy of Flickr. The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Different Ways of Receiving Credit 👐

The three different ways of receiving credit as previously mentioned are, advanced placement, AP credits, or both.

Advanced placement typically means that a student will be allowed to skip introductory classes and jump right into classes related to their major or core level classes. Credits are the number of classes required to graduate, and in some schools, good AP test scores can be translated directly into credits in college. Certain schools even offer both credit and advanced placement. This allows many exceptional AP students to be classified as sophomores before even starting college because of the number of credits they have already earned! As a result, some students are even able to graduate early from college due to their large amounts of credit.

Read more about credit/placement on the College Board website here.

How Am I Able to Save Money in College by Taking AP Courses? 💸

Students are able to save money by taking AP tests because typically AP Exams cost $94 while an average college class costs around $935 (one college class is around 3 credits). This difference is even larger if you want to attend college out-of-state, with the average college class costing $1,284 per credit! 💰

You can read more into these average statistics here! 🤑

How Do I Ensure I Get All the Credits I Can? 🤝

Because each school’s policy on AP scores is different, refer to the college’s individual websites while applying for college. Most schools do not require official AP test scores during the admissions process, but still, be honest! Self-reported scores must be accurate because, after an acceptance of admission, schools will require an official AP test score report to be sent to verify the self-reported scores. ✍️

After being accepted into college, make sure your scores are sent to the correct college and that you have followed each procedure in the process correctly. It is very important to double-check important information like AP Score reports are being sent to your colleges so that they can give you proper credit.

If you are still looking into colleges and AP credit is especially important to you, use the College Board’s AP credit database to search up thousands of different colleges’ AP score credit policies. 🔍

I Checked and I Won’t Get the Credits I Wanted.. 😔

Never fear! I can assure you, taking AP classes and the AP exams in high school were not a waste no matter how challenging it was. By taking these courses, you showed colleges that you could handle a hard course load and were willing to work hard all throughout high school to maintain the type of grades anyone should be proud of! 😃

The experience of taking AP classes for any amount of years or any quantity is so valuable for colleges as the level of AP classes mimics college-level courses. You will be prepared for a larger workload and also a particular style of learning very early on. 🤓

If you are still super concerned about the amount of college credit you will be receiving, make sure to contact your school and advocate for yourself! 📞 Even if you cannot credit full course credits for AP scores, even taking certain prerequisites off or allowing you to go up a level in a class helps save money and expedite your college course load. 📈

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