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Jumpstart Your College Career

Exploring the A.P. Option

What is an AP Program?

The Advanced Placement (AP) program is designed to assist students who are exceptionally motivated in preparation for college. Those with qualifying scores are eligible to earn credit for course work before they even graduate from high school; more than 90 percent of four-year colleges will provide credit for good scores. For students who are anxious to begin their college career, AP courses may be the best option. Typically, the courses are rigorous. They demand the full attention and involvement, and 100 percent commitment to achieving success and earning college credit. If you do well though, you could save money by skipping the required courses you’ve tested out of, which would also free up time to pursue more challenging courses for your major, or even graduate early.

Where is the A.P program available?

One of the best things about the AP program is that students have ample access across the states. Many high schools offer a variety of AP courses, and any student who is interested in taking an AP exam is encouraged to do so. There are more than thirty AP courses to select from, across a vast variety of subjects—from Chinese Language to History or Statistics—be sure to conduct thorough research on the current list of subjects offered, as they are subject to change.

Are you a home schooled student interested in participating? Not a problem. Home-schooled students can take advantage of the AP program and are encouraged to do so, as some states even sponsor online AP courses for the hundreds of home schooled students who take the tests annually. The right preparation and thorough instruction will leave any student well-prepared to succeed on the exams.

If you are interested in taking an AP course at your high school, see your guidance counselor or talk with a professional educator who is knowledgeable on the subject. The cost to register for an exam is typically $86 per test, but some state and school districts may offer reduced fees to qualifying students. If you would like to take an AP exam and your high school does not offer the program, get in touch with an AP coordinator by March 15. Inform the coordinator you’re looking for a school willing to administer the exam of your interest. That coordinator, rather than your high school’s administrators, counselors, or teachers, will be your point of contact for questions on where you need to be, what you need to pay, and what you should be bringing to your exam.

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Last Reviewed: January 2020