Effects and Solutions for Unideal AP Scores??

Hi guys this is my first time posting a discussion on CC and I’m really frustrated right now…I’m really needing some help

I’m an International student from China (Chinese citizenship, goes to Chinese public school international division) who’s entering the application season. After checking my AP scores I found that I got 5s on Calc BC and English Lang, 4s on USH Phy2 and PhyC-Mechanics, and A 3 ON COMP SCI (UGH). In contrast I got either As or A-s in all my five APs at school and ended up with an unweighted GPA of 3.95/4.0, and I have a 2360 SAT (M800, R800, W760).

My list of schools in mind include most of the top-tier schools (Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia ,UChi, Duke and the list just goes on). I just wanted to know how the 3 is going to kill my chances at top-notch universities? Is there anything I can do to decrease the influence? And what is the correlation between common app’s self-reporting APs and CB’s sending score reports?

Thank you all so much in advance!

P.S. I have SAT II Math 800 and Physics 780 if that matters…

You should use the search bar or something as there are literally dozens of threads depicting the same problem.

No, one 3 will not kill your chances or even hurt your chances at top schools. So there isn’t anything you can or need to do to ‘decrease the influence’.

Just self-report the AP scores. I’m pretty sure you only send the score report when you get accepted and want to receive some college credit (gain placement into higher level classes).

Rarely will a school care about a 3 on an AP exam. There is an extremely low chance this will affect your admission to even the most top-tier schools out there–a 3 means you are qualified, and it won’t concern colleges and certainly shouldn’t concern you.

Thanks! I did search for all the threads that already existed but I decided to post one myself because 1. I didn’t find answers that specifically aimed at top schools 2. I was thinking that my international identity would change the standards.

I don’t know about all of them, but the m,most selective schools that my D applied to did not require AP scores as part of the admission application. If it is not a part of the required application packet I don’t see how they can use it either for / or against you. For admission purposes, AP classes demonstrate “rigor”, what you score on the exam only comes into play after you are admitted, in regards to what you can get credit for.

Why would you think that?

As others have said, the AP scores will carry little to no weight in the admissions process; they are primarily used for credit and/or placement.


I thought so because usually colleges have much harsher standards for Asians and they tend to distrust our scores. Thus, they might try to involve as many parameters as possible when evaluating a student.

That’s just a personal deduction, but it also seems to be a prevalent idea here in China.

Thanks for the help!

The top schools only take so many international students. International applications may be judged as a separate pool, which makes the competition difficult. It isn’t that the school is judging Chinese students by harsher standards but that there are too many excellent Chinese students applying for more than a few to be accepted.

The schools want a mix from that international pool of applicants and so there will be some Cinese students admitted but also students from other countries. A large pool of applicants makes the odds of acceptance for any one student to be accepted pretty low.

It isn’t easy for an American student either. Harvard accepted less than 4% of applicants for this year. Certainly there were SOME applicants who were below standard but it can be assumed that the vast majority of them were outstanding in grades and test scores.

An AP exam is not going to be the primary factor in the decision making process.