5 months ago
Admissions Advice

How much of an impact do AP scores have on admissions?

I have a strong GPA (4.0/4.0), a very strong SAT (1560), and I would say that my extracurriculars are good. I have asked for recommendation letters from teachers who know me well and like me, and I believe my essays will be quite alright once I have spent time thinking about them (I do already have 1 written that my counselor loved). The one area where I feel I am lacking (for T20 - T30 schools) is AP scores. I took one last year (AP World History: 4), and I have 3 scores coming out next week (AP Latin, Comp Sci Principles, Calc AB). I am really scared that my calculus score will not be good - like, I honestly might have gotten a 2. If that happens, I will not report it on the Common App, but will colleges discredit me for that even though I got a high A for the actual Calculus AB class? Thank you for reading this through!

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@Texas_Student5 months ago [edited]

I am not sure how much AP scores affect admissions. At least for most of the schools I have looked at though, AP credit can help you fulfill your gen. ed. requirements, so you would be able to take more classes that would help you further your career.

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1 answer

5 months ago

The answer varies by different people. If you are applying to Ivys and Elite colleges I would rank AP criterion importance in the following manner:

1.) How many APs you took matters - So if you took 1/2 of all the APs offered or at least 7-11 by the time you graduate, that is a sufficient number. I don't think taking 2-4 looks very impressive nor stacking your transcript with 18 APs. Seriously if you had time to take 18 APs, perhaps you should have applied to college as a junior and graduated early. And for those who for whatever reason have zero APs or zero IBs, I'll strongly suggest that you take online college courses to show you can handle the college course rigor. But just not doing anything is not a viable option if you want to get into T10-T30 schools.

2.) What kind of APs matters - So if you took all the Easy APs then that doesn't look as rigorous as the applicant who challenged themselves with AP Chemistry, AP Physics, AP Calc, AP English Lang, AP English Lit, AP Gov, AP US History, AP World History, AP Env Sci (these have the lowest passing rates).

3.) What grade you received in your APs matters - So of course you want to get all As on your APs if possible. If you are going to get a B, then getting one in Calc. Or Chem or Physics is excusable.

4.) What test scores matter as well - So if you took 10 APs, college admissions offices don't expect to see 10 test scores because they know that 1/3 -1/2 of them you took in your senior year before the AP exam is available. So they'd like to see that you have 4-5 test scores available averaging 4s in my opinion. Getting 5 (5s) is ideal, but showing 2 (5s) and 3 (4s) works just as well. But if you take 10 APs and have zero (5s) and maybe 1 or 2 (4s) that doesn't reveal that you mastered the material for these classes but rather you just took them for transcript clout. Worse still is if you do not submit an AP test score, that's a red flag in my opinion.

If you do get a 2 or 3 in AP Calc A/B, then stick it in the drawer and never talk about it.

Good luck


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