Advanced Placement Program (AP)
The value of the AP Program to colleges and universities
Since the beginning of the AP Program in 1955, colleges and universities have played an essential role in the AP Program. The initiative, participation, and guidance of colleges and universities have helped the AP Program:
- Develop AP courses and exams
- Score AP exams
- Review AP course syllabi
- Provide professional development opportunities for AP teachers
- Ensure that well-prepared students are placed in appropriate classes at the postsecondary level, so they can maximize their college experience
As a collaboration between secondary schools, colleges and universities, and the College Board, the AP Program provides unique value to colleges and universities.
A strong AP policy helps attract and appropriately place students
Having a clear and equitable AP policy enables colleges and universities to attract a diverse group of motivated high school students. AP courses teach students important skills that can lead to college success including how to:
- Read texts critically
- Solve problems analytically
- Write clearly
The presence of AP courses on a student's transcript indicates that the student has challenged him or herself by taking rigorous college-level courses.
In 2011, more than 900,000 students completed high school having taken an AP Exam; 540,000 of these earned a score of 3 or higher on an AP Exam at any point in their high school career. More than 3,200 colleges and universities accepted qualifying AP Exam scores from those students for credit and/or placement. Information about AP credit and placement policies at hundreds of colleges and universities is available online through the AP Credit Policy information search tool.
Research demonstrates that AP Exam scores are valid predictors of college success
A 2005 study conducted for the National Center for Educational Accountability found that students who earned a score of 3 or higher on one or more AP Exams in the areas of English, mathematics, science, or social studies were more likely to graduate from college in five years or less compared to non-AP students.
Additionally, students who receive advanced placement or college credit typically continue to take more, not fewer, courses in the discipline for which they've received AP credit. For more information, see the 2007 research study, AP Students in College: An Analysis of Five-Year Academic Careers (.pdf/289K). Requires Adobe Reader (latest version recommended).
Learn more about the role your institution can play in AP
- Get assistance defining your institution's AP credit and placement policy.
- Learn how AP courses and exams are developed and scored.
- Read recent research studies linking student success in AP courses to success in college.
Learn more about becoming an AP Reader
Watch these new videos on the AP Reading experience: