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AP Scores: Less About Admissions, More About Saving Money

From a Kaplan survey of College Admissions Officers:

  • 68 percent said that a 3, 4, or 5 on an AP exam generally earned a student college credit.

  • 66 percent said such a score would earn a student the right to skip entry-level courses.

  • Only 22 percent said it would result in a boost in an applicant's chances of admission.

Surprised? Even though well over half of the responding colleges gave college credit for a 3, less than a quarter said a score of 3, 4, or 5 would provide any admissions boost.

This is, however, to be expected based on NACAC's State of College Admissions report. We see that what matters to college admissions is the GRADE students received in college prep courses, which would include AP courses (rated as Considerable Importance, the top category, by 73% of responding colleges), NOT the AP test score (only 5.5% rated it Considerable Importance, while 41% indicated it was of no importance at all in admission decisions). That may be why the grade in the rigorous college prep course might be the more fair thing to use (instead of an AP test score, even a 4 or 5).

If applicants hope that their AP scores would literally pay off (save money by graduating earlier) once they got to college, they need to check the AP score policies at their colleges. As that Kaplan data suggests, 68% said a score of 3 would generally earn the student credit at their institution. This is where having a 4 or 5 can make a big difference. Curious to see which colleges give credit/advanced standing for which AP courses and for what scores? Check this link.


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