Scoring high on AP tests can help you impress top tier universities.
Scoring high on AP tests can help you impress top tier universities.

Will Colleges See my AP Scores?

Published July 4, 2019, 12:23 a.m.

When contemplating AP classes, students often wonder if colleges will see AP test results. The short answer is that it’s up to you.

AP scores are self-reported. Self-reporting is considered “unofficial” and only applies to AP test results. As part of the application process, students are free to choose any score they would like to report and in turn are free to leave off any score they don’t want to report. A student does not need to designate a college or university as a score recipient at the time of the exam.

An official score report is only necessary once a student is accepted and needs to validate the score. If seeking credit based on official scores, students can make an online request and pay a fee to AP Services / the College Board to send an official full score report to the college or university of their choice. Students may pay an additional fee to withhold specific scores from the full score report.

Should I Report my AP Scores?

It is commonly accepted that the most important component of the college application is the high school transcript. The key word in consideration of your high school course work is RIGOR, and AP courses demonstrate rigor. A solid grade reported on the transcript in an AP level course demonstrates to admissions advisors that you have challenged yourself throughout your high school experience and are capable of managing college level work. Your AP class grade is key, but a high test score is a great way to show colleges your skill and knowledge in a subject area. Test scores are a measure of mastery of the content. Those receiving a 5 demonstrate that they are “extremely well qualified” to receive college level credits for their work. Of course, not all schools award credit hours for AP courses, however in some colleges and universities they are a great way to exempt prerequisite classes and open up access to higher level courses.

If you wish to report your scores and you have the room on your applications to do so, higher scores will support your overall academic picture. However, colleges will not question the decision not to report them. Along the same line of thinking, it isn’t necessary to report honorary AP designations. AP Scholar Awards are an honor granted to students who have received a score of 3 or higher on 3 AP exams. Although it is a nice accolade, it is awarded to many students. Prioritize the space on your application to report the most prestigious honors you receive throughout your high school career.