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College Guidance Q & A

As the Director of our College Admissions program, Larry receives numerous questions from applicants and their families. This question to which he responds this week pertains to Advanced Placement testing.

Q: Is it possible to get into a highly selective college without AP test scores?

A: Let’s be sure to distinguish AP coursework from AP testing.

AP Courses indicate to a college that a student has selected a rigorous curriculum in high school, taking advantage of what was offered. So AP courses, where they are offered, are a good credential for highly selective college admission.

If your high school does not require that you take the AP test to receive AP credit, you can choose to skip the test. Offhand, I don’t know that any college requires an applicant to submit all AP scores, although some few require candidates to submit all SAT and ACT scores. (Some high schools report AP scores on the transcript, although that is a thorny issue.)

When you arrive at college the AP tests can result in credit towards graduation or waiver of a prerequisite course. This is usually a registrar's decision, not an admissions function.

The more selective the college, the more unlikely it is that you will receive credit towards graduation.

Do you want advanced standing? Do you want to skip a foundation course? If that option is offered, talk to an adviser on campus first and evaluate your readiness.

Good luck.

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