Colleges Rethink Offering Numerous Credits For Advanced Placement High School Courses

MAMARONECK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — In a change of heart for higher education, many colleges and universities are beginning to push back at the ideas of giving numerous credits to incoming students who took Advanced Placement courses in high school.

As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, college-bound high school students used to count AP courses as money in the bank. The courses and standardized AP exams translated into college credit after graduation – literally amounting to a discount on tuition.

“There’s a lot more reading, a lot more testing, a lot more deeper like discussion; understanding that you have to go through,” said high school senior Colin Johansen.

“You have to pay money to take the test, and if I do well, I want to be able to use those credits in college,” said high school senior Ciara Cattaro.

Increasingly, though, it is not the case. Colleges nationwide are reevaluating and cutting back on the credits they will allow AP students to bring with them.

“A lot of the top schools, already for a long time, have had stricter limits on what they’re going to accept, so I think a lot of schools are following in that sort of path,” said high school senior Kelsey Bialo.

There was a time when AP tests were for the very few — the best students in a school — but lately, that has changed. At Mamaroneck High School, for instance, the number of students taking AP courses has increased 70 percent in recent years.

Fully 25 percent of the student body there is taking course eligible for college credit.

“I think the fact that more kids are taking them makes them a little less special to see on a transcript and almost more expected,” said guidance counselor Cathy Quakenbush.

Schools like Mamaroneck have created scholarship programs to allow all students to take the advanced courses if they want to.

Mamaroneck Schools Supt. Robert Shaps said the value of the courses goes far beyond any monetary benefit.

“It’s more for preparedness, for intellectual curiosity, for rigor, and preparing them to be successful in their future studies,” Shaps said.

Once it helps them get in, many students said they did not mind taking the course again in college.

“It’s a little annoying, but it’s really not a deal-breaker at all,” said high school senior Sam Morton, who is headed to Dartmouth.

The experts said public colleges and universities are still more likely to allow college credit for AP courses than private schools.

It typically costs $93 to take an Advanced Placement test. The corresponding credits are routinely a lot more expensive.


One Comment

  1. I think it’s a ruse that kids save money on college by taking AP classes. How many students with AP credits graduate college early? I am guessing it low. Which means they are still paying for (4) years of college. The benefit is more that they may be able to get some required general classes out of the way, which opens the possibility to take minors or other classes that they may not have had the available time for. The other benefit, with some schools, is class status. Earlier pick times for classes and housing based on school year. It would be nice for kids were reward for extra effort in school, not just for their ability to throw a ball. These are the PROs I have seen. The CON lack of sleep for the students.

  2. Andy Tybus says:

    Dear Mr Young- I watched your segment re AP classes and was amazed that you had no comments from any colleges explaining why they aren’t accepting AP credits as much. Sloppy reporting. My cynical side says that it is purely a money issue and colleges “lose” if they bestow free credits. Nothing was learned from your segment. Are HS students supposed to contact perspective colleges to see if they will accept AP classes before they actually take them?
    Please go back and finish this segment properly by a) putting some college officials on the hot seat; b) helping current HS students figure out what they should do. Unlike the comments from the one HS admin, I doubt that many HS students would go through the work and expense just for the mastery of the subject- get real.

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