About College Prep Courses

What is “AP®”?

The letters “AP®” stand for Advanced Placement®. A high school course with “AP®” in the title is equivalent to a first-year college course. Here are some things to know about AP® courses:

  • An AP® course is rigorous and extensive in its subject matter.
  • Content in an AP® course meets college-level curriculum standards outlined by the College Board; every AP® course goes through an approval process by the College Board for its AP® designation
  • AP exams are offered by the College Board each May and are subject to local availability. Parents must coordinate with the College Board and local schools to find a testing center for their students. Qualifying AP® exam scores may enable students to earn credit at colleges and universities.

How does a course qualify to be called “AP®”?

Before an AP® course is offered by a school, it must go through—and pass—a course audit.

“Any course that a school labels “AP®” must go through a process called the AP® Course Audit, which ensures that each AP® course meets specific standards. After a course is authorized through the audit, it will appear in the AP® Course Ledger, the official list of all AP® courses... Each individual school should develop its own curriculum for courses labeled “AP®.” We don’t mandate curricula for AP® courses; instead, we provide each AP® teacher with a set of expectations that college and secondary school faculty nationwide have established for college-level courses—expectations that they should meet or exceed in their course design.” (See this page for the reference and more information.) 

When you see “AP®” in a course’s name, you know that the course conforms to a college-level curriculum standard. All HSLDA Online Academy courses pass the AP® course audit before they are taught to students.

Who takes AP® courses?

Most students who take AP® courses are juniors and seniors in high school. However, younger students can also take a course, if they are ready. Individuals older than 18 can take AP® courses—including adults. 

If you want to learn more about what it takes to be ready for AP® studies, go here. To check out course information and see if your student is ready to take a specific course, you can find more details on our course listing page. If, after reading a course description, you still have questions regarding course content and your student’s readiness, simply call us at 540-338-8290 and we’ll get you what you need to decide well.

How can AP® high school courses help my student succeed in college?

Here are the top three reasons why AP® courses help college-bound students:

  • AP® studies can give you a head start on your college degree. Many colleges give students credit toward graduation on the basis of high AP® exam scores, or allow them to place out of lower-level classes.
  • College admissions officers like to see AP® courses on your high school transcript. AP® courses demonstrate a high level of high school achievement that can give students an advantage in the college admissions process. According to a College Board study, “85 percent of selective colleges and universities report that a student’s AP experience favorably impacts admissions decisions.”
  • AP® courses give you a preview of what college will be like. AP®-level work helps students learn essential college study skills. For students with AP® experience, the challenges of rigorous college courses will be much more familiar and manageable.

Which colleges and universities accept AP® exam scores?

Specific college admissions offices can tell you their policies regarding AP® score acceptance. We recommend that you go to the website of the college or university you are interested in, or call its admissions office, for specific details.

Another helpful resource is a tool on the College Board’s website that lets you look up transfer credit policies for individual colleges.

How does the scoring of the exams work?

Final AP® scores range from 1 (low) to 5 (high). To read about how AP® exams are scored, go here.

You can also find information about AP® exams and scoring in our score results reports. 

Why take an AP® course?

1. AP® courses can save you time.

By taking one of the Academy’s AP® courses and earning a high score on the AP® subject exam, your student can qualify to earn credit or skip prerequisite courses at most colleges across America (and colleges in many countries around the world). Earning this credit early could allow your student to finish college earlier and save money on tuition and room and board.

HSLDA Online Academy students have a proven track record of high AP® exam scores. To see how our students have performed in the past, please see our score results page.

2. AP® courses can save you money.

Earning college credit for an AP® exam score means you don’t have to pay for that credit in college. Many college courses cost 3 to 6 times as much money as any of the Academy’s courses. That’s more money in your pocket now so you can help your student save for college later.

3. AP® courses can get your child into his or her college of choice.

College entrance can be tricky. College admissions committees like AP® courses, because they show that your student is ready for challenging, college-level coursework. In addition, AP® courses are worth more GPA points on your student’s high school transcript. Challenging coursework and a higher GPA can make your student’s high school transcript stand out in the college admissions process.