Can College Credits Earned Through AP Classes be Used at Any College?

Many high school students take advantage of their opportunities to enroll in Advanced Placement classes (AP classes). Perhaps you’re wondering about the benefits Advanced Placement classes offer; in particular, many students are confused about whether college credits earned through AP classes can be used at any college.

The answer to this question is no; college credits earned through Advanced Placement classes cannot necessarily be used at any college. California Institute of Technology is one example of a college that does not offer credit from AP exams, although Cal Tech does sometimes enable AP students to be placed in higher-level classes based on AP exam scores.

Who Determines Whether College Credits Earned Through Advanced Placement Classes Can Be Used at a Particular College?

Some states in the USA have laws determining the extent to which public colleges are required to accept and apply AP credits. Otherwise colleges are able to create their own policies regarding the application of AP credits to their degree programs. Many colleges even have differing acceptance criteria within different academic departments. There are many variables.

One of the most important variables is the student’s test score on any given AP exam. If a student scores a 3 on a particular test, the credit will be accepted at fewer colleges than if the student had scored a 5. Simply having taken and passed an AP class does not guarantee that the department of your choice in the college of your choice will apply your credits from it.

The main takeaway: If you’re serious about having your pick of majors and your pick of top colleges, it isn’t enough to simply take Advanced Placement classes. You also have to score well on the associated tests.

If you do score well on the tests, it’s likely that you’ll be able to use the credits in some capacity at the college you’re interested in attending. You may be exempt from taking a foundation-level class, which would enable you to begin taking higher-level classes immediately. This could possibly reduce the length of time it takes you to earn your degree. You may even find that your college will grant credit and enter your Advanced Placement credits on your official college record and transcripts.

Where to Find a College’s Policies on Granting AP Credit

The College Board maintains a credit policies search engine you can use to research the AP credit policies of the departments where you would be interested in studying. Many colleges also post their current Advanced Placement credit acceptance policies on their websites.

Other Things You Need to Know Regarding Advanced Placement Credit

In order to apply credits earned through Advanced Placement classes, most colleges require scores to be sent in an official capacity directly from the College Board to their registrar’s office. Colleges do not typically honor AP scoring information sent to them by students.

We hope this information is helpful to you in understanding more about AP credits. If you’ve taken AP classes, you now have a better idea of how you can find out whether yours will be accepted at the college of your choice.

Recommended Resource: 50 Great Schools Where High School Students Can Get College Credit