Essential Advice Before Sending AP Test Scores to Colleges

AP Test

I am devoting this post to answering a good question that I was recently asked.


Ryan, I would like to only send my AP scores of 5s, not 4s, to the colleges on my final college list.  If I only send the AP scores of 5s and not 4s, will colleges see AP classes on my transcript and wonder where the other AP scores are?  Thanks in advance!


First, I would like to congratulate you on scoring so well on your AP test. Frankly, scoring a 4 is a very good score. From my research and speaking to a number of different colleges, AP scores are very low on the college’s list of importance and most of the time the AP scores don’t factor in admissions at all. Your AP scores  are only used for course credit and placement once you enroll in a college. Most colleges are more interested in the actual grade that you made in the class and not the AP test score.

I would suggest not to send in your AP scores directly to the colleges, and just self-report them on the Common Application or other college applications. The colleges will accept what you self-report. Once you are accepted into the college, you can then send in your AP scores to the school.

You should self report any score that is 3 and above. If you do not report the AP score, colleges tend to assume that you scored 1s and 2s. For students who score 1s or 2s, I would suggest not listing the scores at all. This is not unusual, because many students take the AP course in high school, but never take the AP exam. List anything above a 3 because many elite colleges do give credit for 4s and 5s.

Please keep the questions coming.  I enjoy answering them.

Ryan Clark, Author, MBA, CCPS

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