The primary goal of our college-readiness efforts is for every student to enter their first year of college without the need for remedial courses in any content area. We focus on this aspect of college readiness because research shows that students who take remedial courses in college take longer to graduate and thus they pay more for college. In addition, they have a lower likelihood of graduating at all.
Stand Out in College Admissions
College application season can be an anxious time for students and their families. Even for those students who have worked hard throughout high school and done their best, many aren’t sure if they have acquired the academic skills and experiences that colleges are looking for.
By taking AP courses, high school students signal two things to college admissions officers. First, students demonstrate that they’ve undertaken the most rigorous classes their high school has to offer. Second, students show that they have what it takes to succeed in an undergraduate environment. In the increasingly competitive admissions process, taking AP courses is a good way that students can differentiate themselves from other applicants.
Importantly, AP courses offer college admissions officers a consistent measure of course rigor across high schools, districts, states, and countries—because all AP teachers, no matter where they’re teaching, have to provide a curriculum that meets college standards. So when admissions officers see “AP” on students’ transcripts, they have a good understanding of what those students experienced in a particular class and how well the course prepared the students for the increased challenges of college.
Earn College Credits, Reduce the Cost of College
As college costs grow each year, the prospect of higher education becomes more daunting for many high school students. By completing an AP course and scoring well on the related AP exam, students can reduce their college expenses. Currently more than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the country offer college credit, advanced placement, or both, for qualifying AP exam scores. These credits can potentially save students and their families thousands of dollars in college tuition, fees, and textbook costs. These savings can make the difference between being able to afford college or not.
You can see specific colleges’ guidelines on accepting AP scores for credit and placement by searching our AP Credit Policy database. This resource shows how many credits your AP scores will earn you and which courses you may be able to place out of at your future college.
Skip Introductory Classes
If you know which major you want to pursue in college, taking an AP course related to that major and earning a qualifying score on the AP exam can help you gain advanced placement out of introductory courses. As a result, you can possibly place out of crowded required courses, and move directly into upper-level classes where you can focus on topics that interest you the most.
Even if you take an AP exam unrelated to your major—or if you’re not sure what you want to major in—AP courses can often help you place out of your colleges’ general education requirements. With this additional time on your class schedule, you can earn a minor or even a second major, take exciting electives, or pursue additional topics of interest.
Following are links to helpful information about AP courses: