KHUDYAKOV: Inconsistent AP credits come at emotional cost




Picture this: your AP scores just came out and they aren’t awful. You got a 3 in US History, sure, but College Board says that’s a passing score. 

Is it? And even if it is, does it matter?

There’s an insidious little footnote that few consider until it’s too late: colleges set their own AP policy. This means that every single university has their own rules on which AP scores, if any, constitutes placement into more advanced classes. Sometimes, they choose not to give any credit at all. Sometimes, only certain AP classes are accepted.The University of Chicago, for example, doesn’t offer any sort of credit for AP classes that last one semester.    

College Board emphasizes the benefits of AP testing and the opportunities these exams offer students. We can earn college credits! We can get a head start on the rest of our education and save money in the process! Some students choose to forgo the AP class entirely and self-study for an exam under the hope that it’ll get them college credit. 

But if there’s no standardized policy between colleges, what’s the point? Each exam costs nearly $100 and even more than that if we consider the mental energy invested into studying for each exam. The stress adds up. So do the test costs.

And what do we have to show for it? There’s no guarantee that any credits from students’ hard work will transfer over. 

The easiest part of taking an AP test should be what happens after you get your score – because the answer to that is nothing. You took the test, got past the mental strain and lived to tell the tale. Congratulations! GO get yourself a cupcake to celebrate.

 Now I’m left worrying whether or not the hundreds of dollars spent on AP exams are going to mean anything at all, or if I could have just as easily spent my money on lottery tickets in order to achieve the same crushing sense of wasted time.

Applying to college is an inherently frustrating, physically and mentally exhausting and soul-crushing process. This approach to offering AP credits is just another facet of that.