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Colleges Won't Accept AP Credits? Find Out Whether You Should Take the Tests Anyway

CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey Editor Posts: 200 Editor
Here's how to determine whether to take AP tests when your target schools won't accept the credits. https://www.collegeconfidential.com/articles/should-you-take-ap-exams-if-colleges-wont-accept-the-credits/
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Replies to: Colleges Won't Accept AP Credits? Find Out Whether You Should Take the Tests Anyway

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 75,364 Senior Member
    That article misses some reasons to take AP tests:

    1. Even if the college does not give credits toward graduation, it (or its departments) may use AP tests for subject credit or advanced placement.

    2. If you transfer to a different college, the other college may use AP tests to your advantage.

    But there could be another reason not to take AP tests:

    3. If you are a pre-med who intends to retake the course in college anyway, not having the AP score at all removes all possibility of having to mark "repeat" on the medical school application.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 42,049 Super Moderator
    You may hear from your counselor or an admissions officer that one of the schools you’re applying to might change its AP credit policy soon.
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I have never seen a case where a change in AP credit policy by college will result in more credit. If the college does not grant credit for APHG now, I doubt that it will change in the future.
    The AP Scholar Awards program has five categories for US high school students, with the most basic category requiring a score of three or higher on at least three different AP exams. These distinctions can help your application stand out
    I think the author is overstating the impact of an AP Scholar award on an AO.

    That said, unless finances are an issue or the student is really bombing the class, I see no valid reason for a non-senior student not to take the exam. If the score ends up being unsatisfactory, s/he can simply not report on a college application and omit from the score report sent to the college attending.
  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 Registered User Posts: 2,947 Senior Member
    For us, in the end it was worth it. Shelling out $1300 for 13 tests did give my kid 41 semester credits towards graduation (of which most of it useless) which helps with getting a better time for registration. But more importantly, his 5s in AP Calc BC and AP English Lit it gave subject credits for 4 mandatory classes which he’ll never have to take, which for a public school is one semester and worth $7K.
  • LynnskiLynnski Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    My kid's anxiety is such that we figured she would want to take the first level of college classes regardless of AP test scores. So we encouraged her to skip the exams regardless of potential college credit. Her HS teachers didn't like that much, but it made sense for us.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 75,364 Senior Member
    But more importantly, his 5s in AP Calc BC and AP English Lit it gave subject credits for 4 mandatory classes which he’ll never have to take, which for a public school is one semester and worth $7K.

    It is only worth the monetary value if the student would otherwise need more semesters or credits at extra cost to graduate.

    However, even if the student will not graduate any earlier to save money, having subject credit and/or advanced placement can allow the student to take additional electives and/or higher level courses that s/he would otherwise be able to take if s/he had to repeat what s/he learned in high school. Given how it is often said on these forums that college is about more than just the monetary return-on-investment, it seems odd that the conventional wisdom on these forums is that students should repeat their AP credit, even when the college gives subject credit and/or advanced placement that is an opportunity for the student to learn more new things than s/he would otherwise be able to learn.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 12,561 Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus Given how it is often said on these forums that college is about more than just the monetary return-on-investment, it seems odd that the conventional wisdom on these forums is that students should repeat their AP credit, even when the college gives subject credit and/or advanced placement that is an opportunity for the student to learn more new things than s/he would otherwise be able to learn.

    Sometimes the AP version is a LOT easier than the college version. I think some colleges insist you take their own Intro (let's say Chem), because they want all students to be similarly prepared.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 75,364 Senior Member
    OHMomof2 wrote:
    Sometimes the AP version is a LOT easier than the college version. I think some colleges insist you take their own Intro (let's say Chem), because they want all students to be similarly prepared.

    That is why I wrote "even when the college gives subject credit and/or advanced placement" to exclude those situations where the college does not consider the AP score sufficient for subject credit and/or advanced placement.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 12,561 Senior Member
    I think there are times when the college will allow it but the student still should not. @ucbalumnus
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 75,364 Senior Member
    edited April 15
    Yes, if the student intends to take a course for which the course allowed to be skipped is a prerequisite, but finds that the college's old final exam for that course is too hard.

    But that is not the conventional wisdom found on these forums, which is to unconditionally repeat one's AP credit.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 42,049 Super Moderator
    But that is not the conventional wisdom found on these forums, which is to unconditionally repeat one's AP credit.
    While some may say that, I would not classify it as "conventional wisdom." For the record, I've stated numerous times that in most cases, I would not suggest taking a college course for which AP credit had been already granted.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 12,561 Senior Member
    I've always appreciated your advice to get an old final, @ucbalumnus . If possible, it's a great way to help make that decision.

    But this board doesn't have much in the way of conventional wisdom, IMO!
  • saillakeeriesaillakeerie Registered User Posts: 2,058 Senior Member
    Sometimes the AP version is a LOT easier than the college version. I think some colleges insist you take their own Intro (let's say Chem), because they want all students to be similarly prepared.

    There is also an element of tuition revenue protection in some of the policies on AP credit. And the marketing aspect of "Sure your 5 on Y AP exam shows you are strong in Y but we need to know you are X college strong in Y" is big (even if its not true).
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 75,364 Senior Member
    There is also an element of tuition revenue protection in some of the policies on AP credit.

    Especially since the frosh-level courses tend to be less expensive for the college than the upper level courses that the student may take if allowed to skip the frosh-level courses.

    However, note that public universities are often quite generous with credit units for AP scores, even though they may not be as generous with subject credit or advanced placement as they are for credit units. That is likely because most students are subsidized in-state students, so getting them to graduate as quickly as possible is better for the public universities' finances and capacity management.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 5,144 Senior Member
    It certainly varies college by college but for my D, she came into school as a 2nd sophomore which had perks for priority scheduling, and then for housing for next year. Because of engineering course sequences, she can't graduate early but it allows her to take courses for a special certification and to easily add a minor.
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