Looking for generous AP/IB credit counting for gen ed

AP/IB only. I’ve looked at the language placements as well. Her 2 IB SL tests are Chinese and Spanish, so she should place well for both and some count those as general ed in engineering too.

Yes, that’s pretty much what we did. She will probably just have to continue to do this for every school that she is interested in, since everyone’s situation is slightly different. I don’t think there are shortcuts.

It is a lot of work, but it does help the student to learn a lot more about each school.

UDel and Clemson were generous. My exercise science major graduated a year early from UDel, had 9 AP’s and some DE’s, my business major at Clemson had 7 AP’s and was on track to graduate a year early (takes 19 credits each semester) but is instead taking extra classes to prep for actuary exams.

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We got stuck on Purdue and figuring out the requirements and what would count. We need to revisit!

UMass Amherst was very generous with credit for APs, also accepted some CLEP. I believe that U of Utah does the same. And yes, the comm college transcript route in can get one credit that the 4 yr college wouldn’t have given - but they’ll take it on the comm coll transcript that shows that the comm coll gave credit for it.

In general, the more prestigious and selective the school, the less likely that they will give credit. I recall a student with a string of 5s on the APs, and MIT told them that if they wanted to now take the finals from any of those subjects at MIT, and did very well, they would allow the person to place out of those classes, but would not issue any credit, and they would have to take a higher level class to fulfill the required class that they had placed out of.

This rule of thumb might seem logical, but when my son looked at all the details, it didn’t seem to apply in practice. For example, UCB turned out to be the most flexible of over 20 schools on his list, even though it is one of the most selective. UC Davis, a less selective school in the same university system, would have given less credit. In general there didn’t seem to be much correlation between selectivity of schools on his list and whether the schools accepted credit.

For a private university, MIT is actually quite generous with AP credit. They give credit for all non-STEM exams, although they can’t be used for gen Ed requirements. The also give credit and/or offer internal exams for credit for calc, CS, bio, chem, and physics and offer internal exams for credit for post-AP calc.

Most colleges do not give subject credit for IB SL (foreign language is the most likely possibility when college do give credit), so look into the possibilities of subject credit for HL scores that do not duplicate the AP scores she has.

Advanced placement in the engineering requirements may come from:

  • AP calculus or IB math (A&A HL is the most likely to give advanced placement; A&I HL has some possibility, depending on the college)
  • AP chemistry or IB chemistry HL
  • AP physics C (mechanics is more likely than E&M) (IB physics HL is not calculus-based, so no advanced placement for engineering majors)

Most colleges have their own foreign language placement procedures and/or testing, so AP or IB scores are not essential in getting advanced placement in foreign language for students who come in with some knowledge of the language (e.g. four years of high school but no AP or IB, or heritage speaker, is likely to mean placement higher than the beginner course).

Berkeley and UIUC both offer a ton of credits. Generally it should be feasible to graduate in 3/3.5 years from either engineering school for most majors.

For reference, UCs share a common policy with credit units for AP scores, but each campus (and division) can choose what subject credit it gives for campus (and division) specific subject requirements (UCB also lets each L&S major choose what it gives for major requirements). Note the difference in subject credit at UCB and UCD.

Of course, the AP credit then has to be mapped to the requirements that may differ at each school.

Yes, all UCs will accept APs for units, but they differ quite a lot on whether the AP credit can be used to substitute for required coursework or gen ed requirements.

Units by themselves aren’t worth much towards an engineering degree :slight_smile:


Utah offers generous AP credit (D18 started with about 58 credits from her 9 APs). But though there’s no language requirement, the GEs are more of a pain. In particular there are 4 areas each of 2 GE courses to take and your major gets you out of one area but APs aren’t hugely helpful if that major is in math/science/engineering (eg the 2 Fine Arts courses). And the Honors college requirements can’t be waived at all with APs. D18 only used about 3 of her APs for GE credit (although she covered the rest of her GEs easily anyway as she did both a BFA and BS with Hons - she actually took 155 semester credits in 4 years).

S23 is very keen to limit his number of GEs and doesn’t have a lot of APs (Latin is his only non-math/Phys/stats AP). He reckoned he’d take 10 semester long GEs at Utah, 9 at ASU and 8 at Arizona (non-honors at all). He’s very happy to now have only 5-6 quarter long GEs at UCSC but that probably doesn’t help OP. UCSC advertise that they have the highest percentage of students graduating in 3 years of any UC, which likely reflects this generous credit policy (though the lack of housing might also have something to do with it!).

Yeah, it’s a huge variation on what places accept. My son had HL Physics and just took Physics 1 last semester and said it was incredibly easy and a full repeat, except with some calculus added. My friend’s son is heading to U of Michigan engineering and he will get credit for all the required physics with a 4 or better on the IB test.

She’s in HL Math AI, so likely to not get credit for that, which is fine. My son had HL Math AA and had to retake at Bama and said it was easy, but it was good to have it down even better. I am good for taking that again either way.

Mostly she wants to not have to take 9 different general ed classes to satisfy small requirements. Like a list of 10 classes to pick from for Fine Arts and another 15 for Culture of the World, etc. She would be fine taking the engineering curriculum from the beginning. They missed so much school the past 3 years, she is good repeating the classes that will be building blocks.

There’s a difference between public schools and private schools. Public U’s definitely do accept more AP/IB/CLEP. I think it’s because they mostly have articulated transfer agreements with community colleges, and AP/IB are usually more rigorous and in-depth than comm coll courses. Also, as public U’s they have a mission to get people educated and graduated, as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

Several of the public universities on my son’s list didn’t accept APs for his major or gen ed requirements, or would only accept one of his APs (calc BC). The private universities on his list were actually more generous.

I understand the urge to make generalizations about what schools do and don’t accept, but I think that generalizations like these are probably not useful for the OP in helping her daughter to choose an engineering school. The OP and her daughter must look closely at each school’s requirements, because schools vary a lot, in ways that are not necessarily predictable.

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Clemson and USC are generous.

UNH is generous and they acknowledge the busy engineering schedule and build in some of their GenEd requirements into the courses required for Engineering or do not actually require some GedEds for some engineering majors. This seems to allow for a smooth pathway to a 4 year degree where it seemed some colleges would require extra courses in summer or an extra semester.

Of course, there is always an issue of whether you should take the credit even if you can within a major.


The way to make a more informed placement decision is to try the old final exams of the courses that the college allows skipping with AP or IB credit. Know everything → skip. Know most → review the parts not known and skip. Have difficulty with most → retake.


Union gave a full year’s credit to IBD holders after successful completion of freshman year. It’s been a while since we looked, but it seemed generous - and particularly interesting for those already accepted to an MD program (another option at Union) as it shaved off a year of time and cost.

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Exactly and GaTech is quite selective…
And my younger DD can’t transfer to Rhodes (much less selective) credits that would count automatically at UMD or GaTech. There is absolutely no logic. It is whatever school will do…
GaTech takes only 5 in Physics. UMD takes only 5 in CS. GaTech does not take AP Stat, UMD does as free elective… GaTech can take for general electives tons of Economics, Geography etc. In UMD they have their own school-specific general education classes.
You just need to do cost/benefit analysis after you apply, get accepted, get scholarships etc…
You may avoid applying to schools that will not take your credits, but it may turn to be the best fit school.
In case of my oldest child in GaTech we transferred absolutely everything.
In case of my youngest, with her direct admit premed program, it turned out that it is better almost not to transfer anything or she will need to take more advanced classes. And premed program specifies that it does not count AP classes at all. However, the school prefers AP classes. On the other hand, all her DE classes kind of bumped her GPA because they count GPA for all post HS classes.
Could we predict ahead of time that she will be in such a program? No way…
Is she happy at the end? Yes.

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