Welcome back to Homeschooling in High School. This post in our series covers yet another way your student can earn high school and college credits at the same time, slicing their college debt before they even get their HS diploma!
Advanced Placement (AP)
Advanced Placement courses are classes taught at college level, but taken during high school. If a student scores high enough on an AP course exam, he can earn college credit or possibly bypass some general classes.
If you’re a student interested in Advanced Placement, here’s what you’ll need to do:
Step 1: Check with your college of choice. Not all AP courses are accepted, so be sure to know which ones your particular college accepts before scheduling. Each college determines the minimum score needed on an exam for it to be accepted and usually posts this information on their website. Typically a score of 3 or higher is required – view the score scale here.
To find Course Equivalency (which college class a AP test can be used in place of) for any college go to:
>choose equivalencies by school
>Step 1: select “state” and “school”
>Step 2: select “state” click on “Standardized Examinations”
>checkmark AP first and then click “add schools”
>click “create guide”
>on the AP (Advanced Placement) side click “all”
open a new tab on your computer and go to your college’s website
>look for or do a search for “academic catalog”
>look for and click on TC (Transfer Curriculum)
Step 2: Look over the 34 AP courses and decided which courses and/or tests you want to take – keeping in mind Step #1.
Step 3: Register for the courses you wish to take. (If you’re planning to take the test only, skip to Step 4.)
Homeschooled students are not required to take AP courses at a high school. You can register with an institution that offers online AP courses.
In order to use the term ‘Advanced Placement’ or ‘AP’ on a transcript, the course must be submitted via the online course audit by an AP teacher and approved. (Homeschooling parents may submit their course syllabus for courses they want to teach at home.) You can contact the course audit helpline at 877-274-3570 if you have questions.
- Colleges use the AP Central Course Ledger to check the validity of a student’s AP courses listed on their transcript, but the ledger doesn’t list homeschool-approved syllabi. You’ll need to keep the College Board AP Central’s notice of approval for each AP course you’ve taken. Attach the notices to the high school transcript that you send to colleges. (source)
Step 4: Study on Your Own
If you’ve decided to study on your own rather than register for an online course, you can study with free practice exams and other helps:
Step 5: Register for the AP Exam
AP exams must be ordered and given by an AP Coordinator. Contact AP Services by March 3rd (better if done in December or January) to find who the local AP Coordinators are. A single coordinator rarely gives all of the exams, so you should know which exams you want to take so the appropriate Coordinators can be found.
P.O. Box 6671
Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6671
Phone: 877-274-6474 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 212-632-1781
Contact the Coordinators no later than March 17 and tell them you are looking for a school that will administer exams to outside students.
- The Coordinator is responsible for ordering the exams and ensuring the exam score(s) are reported separately from the school at which they test. Because you are homeschooled, you will have a specific homeschool code (the coordinator will know what it is), therefore your test results are not sent in with the school you test at.
Step 6: Take the Exam
Exams are given in May (usually within the first two weeks), and you can only take AP exams once a year. The cost of each exam is $89 (outside of US and Canada is $119). AP Coordinators will collect and submit exam fees.
Exams can be multiple choice, free response, essay, and short answer and take 2-3 hours to complete.
You will need:
- a valid photo ID (link to CLEP post)
- several no. 2 pencils
- black or dark-blue pens
- a watch (no beeping or alarms)
- a max of two calculators (visit each exam for its approved calculator policy) – one of which is an approved graphing calculator
- a ruler or straightedge (if taking AP Physics)
And just to make your day go smoothly, be aware of what you may NOT bring.
Step 7: Wait for Your Scores
This is probably the hardest part of all. 🙂 AP scores reports not mailed anymore, but are available with College Board’s online reporting system in July. You’ll need a College Board account to access it.
Most institutions require a test score of 3,4, or 5 to earn credits, but that can vary per institution policy.
Step 8: Send Scores to Colleges
Once you get your scores, you’re able to send one score report free of charge to the college you designated on your exam. If you want to send it to more than one college, the cost is $15 per report. You can pay using the online service or by contacting AP Services (contact information noted in Step 5).
Join us again for our last post in this series, Earn Credits with PSEO followed by a special giveaway!
Homeschooling in High School Series:
Part 1: Grading & Planning
Part 2: Explaining High School Credits
Part 3: Defining Fine Arts, Electives & Extra Curricular Activities
Part 4: How to Prepare A High School Transcript
Part 5: High School Testing
Part 6: Earn Credits with CLEP
Part 7: Earn Credits with DSST/DANTES
Part 8: Earn Credits with Advanced Placement (AP)
Part 9: Earn Credits with PSEO + HSLDA Transcript Service Giveaway!