# how to calculate college savings from AP Math/Science courses

zbuffalo12
0 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member

Hello,

Could someone please help us with calculating savings thru credits from below AP Math/Science for an out-of-state college?

1. If DD takes AP Calculus BC scores a 5?

2. Will each of the AP Physics A, B and Mechanics (which includes Calculus) and a score of 4 or 5 further help savings?

Regards

zb

Could someone please help us with calculating savings thru credits from below AP Math/Science for an out-of-state college?

1. If DD takes AP Calculus BC scores a 5?

2. Will each of the AP Physics A, B and Mechanics (which includes Calculus) and a score of 4 or 5 further help savings?

Regards

zb

## Replies to: how to calculate college savings from AP Math/Science courses

For my D, the AP courses are helping her have room for a minor and a concentration.

For a set of AP scores to shorten the number of semesters to graduation:

1. The college needs to grant enough credit units for the AP scores toward the number of graduation to reduce the remaining number by a semester's worth.

2. If the major has a large number of subject requirements (and/or the college has lots of general education requirements) or a long sequence of prerequisites, the AP scores may need to be allowed to apply to some of those requirements or prerequisites.

For many students, the effect of using AP scores would be to allow taking higher level courses and/or additional free electives in place of requirements that the AP scores are allowed to fulfill.

If early graduation is desired, try writing a shorter than 8 semester schedule for the given college and major, taking into account what the AP scores are allowed to fulfill, and what courses are offered each semester (sometimes, a sequence of courses is offered only in specific semesters, so that one needs to get a full year ahead to graduate early, and getting a semester behind can mean graduating a year instead of a semester late).

The only way AP tests can save money is by allowing a student to graduate a full semester, or more, early. That's difficult to do in many programs. My D, for example, brought in more than a semester's worth of AP and dual enrollment credits. But it does nothing for the 6 course sequences of Thermo/Statics/Fluids/etc in the engineering curriculum. Sure, she can place out of Calc and Physics first semester, and get general ed credit for other courses. But that just lets her move a few courses earlier and free up some space for electives, or lower course-load when things get really tough Jr and Sr years. Regardless of the number of advanced classes, she's not going to start the standard sophomore sequence as a freshman.

So there's really no way to "price" an individual AP course in real dollars. If you make the assumption that you'll graduate a semester early, then take half the yearly cost and divide it by the number of AP credits (which had better be 8-10+). And that's still a big assumption.

For an engineering major, AP physics 1 and 2 are useless for fulfilling requirements, and credit may not be given due to duplication of material with college physics courses (or AP physics C). Similarly, if the college does not allow AP physics C to fulfill requirements, then credit may not be given due to duplication.

Also, if the student repeats AP credit with the college course, s/he may get credit only once due to duplication.

The most optimistic scenario with these three (calculus BC, physics C mechanics) AP scores would be three courses worth of credit, typically about 12 credits, which is less than the 15 or 16 credits normally taken in a semester to graduate in 8 semesters.

Also just because you can doesn't mean you should place out... This might be debated but for an engineer student having a great foundation of Calc and physics is crucial for understanding their field going forward.

I do agree with the above poster who said the value in AP courses is to be better prepared for the rigors of college.

However, a student should not automatically repeat his/her AP credit either, because that would be a waste of time and tuition if s/he knows the material well.

If the student will take courses for which the AP credit is allowed to replace a prerequisite course, the student can try the college's old final exams for the course that may be skipped with AP credit, so that the student can assess his/her knowledge of the course by the college's standards. Then the student can make a more informed decision about whether to take the more advanced course, take the more advanced course after reviewing a few things, or retake the course and forfeit the AP credit.

The answer to the first question is certainly yes, if for no other reason than what @colorado_mom suggested. It's the first chance to see if a student will really like the nuts and bolts of engineering.

The latter two are completely institution dependent. Some do not accept APs. At the ones that do, they have varying utility.

What school(s) are you looking at?

One engineering school that is very generous on AP credit it University of Illinois. They take anything above a 3.

He's 21; making $70K and pretty happy with that in the midwest. For this kid, he was smart and had merit scholarships that reduced the tuition price to begin with; so his AP credits didn't provide a lot of savings; but it saved him time.

A few thoughts:

++You'll see more savings from AP classes at a school that charges by credit hour rather than by semester.

++ You can google the colleges you are interested in and see what type of AP credit transfer they give. The higher the ranking/ the more elite, the less AP Credit it seems. Then, look at the majors in those colleges and see which AP credits are allowed by major.

For my son, 2020, we already know that the engineering college he's looking at will only take one AP credit for English. If he gets passing scores (4 or 5) in the next two years, only one AP counts. His AP history classes - same thing. Only one AP history will count towards an engineering major; the other is just credit that he might not use; no $ savings for two.

It's like a puzzle; we've made spreadsheets to help figure out which of his HS AP class options will translate into actual savings at our state flagship. People here will say to take the AP tests and get the credit no matter; and I agree; because you never know if your kid will change majors or switch colleges.

https://admissions.illinois.edu/Apply/Freshman/college-credit-AP indicates that many AP scores, particularly 3, count only as generic credit (e.g. 3-4 on AP physics C mechanics = "Physics 2--") versus specific course credit (e.g. 5 on AP physics C mechanics = "Physics 211").