One of the most popular ways of earning college credit while in high school is by enrolling in College Board Advanced Placement (AP) courses. However, in order to earn credit from these classes, there are a number of steps a student most follow beyond just enrolling in the course. Below, students can learn about the steps that they will need to follow in order to properly get the credit they earned in their AP classes transferred to the college that they choose to attend.
Step 1: Enroll in AP Courses
The first step that students will need to complete involves choosing which AP courses they wish to enroll in, which will depend in part on the classes that their high school offers. As of 2019, there are 38 AP courses offered through the College Board, though schools do not always offer all 38. When selecting which ones to enroll in, students will likely want to consider the rigor of AP courses in comparison to other high school offerings, as the classes may be more work-intensive. Additionally, some courses may build on a student's prior knowledge in a subject area so it may be necessary to take some foundational or recommended courses before enrolling in AP classes.
Students who are homeschooled or attending schools that do not offer the AP courses they are interested in also have the option of self-studying for AP exams. They will then need to work with their school or local area high school, as schools typically administer the exams.
Step 2: Take the AP Exams
In the fall semester, students will need to officially register for the exams and pay the corresponding fees for the tests, a process which is generally facilitated by the high school that a student attends. AP examination period generally takes place over a two-week period in the month of May. Students enrolled in AP courses will likely spend some weeks leading up to the exam reviewing the material that will appear on the test, and students who are self-studying may also want to set up a form of review in order to be prepared. Study.com offers a number of courses that students can complete as a way of preparing for AP exams. Some of these options include:
Step 3: Research Schools' AP Credit Policies
As students begin the process of applying to college or university, it is important that they research each school's policy regarding credit awards for AP courses. Some schools may be more generous in the amount of credit they allow students to earn through AP courses, while others may not accept AP credit at all. While some students may remain interested in taking AP courses just for the rigor and challenge, even if they don't earn credit, other students may want to make sure that the schools they are interested in accept AP credit. This could potentially save them a significant amount of tuition money and could be a deciding factor at what school they ultimately decide to enroll.
Step 4: Send AP Scores to Colleges and Universities
In order for schools to be able to award students credit for AP courses, students will then need to send their score reports to the college or university that they plan on applying to or attending. There are a number of different ways of sending scores. On the day of the AP exam, students can indicate on their answer sheet to what school they would like their scores sent. It is also possible for students to receive their scores before sending them, in which case they can send them to schools online or by mail/fax using the instructions set by the College Board. Students who are seniors will want to check the deadlines of the schools they plan to attend to see if there is a cut-off date after which schools will no longer accept scores for credit.