How International Students Can Earn College Credits in the U.S. with AP

How International Students Can Earn College Credits in the U.S. with Advanced Placement (AP)

By Beth Dumbauld

If you are an international student looking to attend school in the United States, taking an AP (Advanced Placement) course can help give you a step up. Colleges, particularly in the US, look favorably on students who challenge themselves with the advanced academics typical of an AP course. The presence of AP courses on your transcript highlights your commitment to education and shows that your academic integrity is similar to students who attend school in the U.S. It’s a fact -- taking an AP exam and earning high scores indicates a student’s ability to work successfully at the collegiate level in high quality courses no matter their country of origin.

How Can Taking AP Help a Foreign Student?

AP courses are offered in more than 100 countries.1 According to the College Board, in May of 2011, nearly 2 million high school students at over 18,000 schools worldwide took AP Exams. You can take one (or more) of the 34 different AP course exams in a variety of subject matters from economics, to calculus, to foreign language, to biology, to physics. Your test results from an AP exam may qualify you to earn college credits and/or receive advanced placement at many colleges. Success on an AP exam also shows your ability to compete with students academically on a standardized basis.

Taking an AP course, as a foreign student, can

  • Help you establish yourself as a student who takes academics seriously and is willing to push yourself with rigorous coursework;
  • Put your educational background on par with other students from known academic programs;
  • Help you to stand out from the pack during the college admissions process, particularly if you’ve performed at a high level on an AP exam;
  • Save you time and money by earning college credit with qualifying AP exam scores.

Keep in mind, there’s a difference between taking an AP course and sitting for the AP exam. Yes, taking an AP course is a good investment in your education and shows your willingness to take a rigorous course of study; however, it’s your score on the AP exam which enables you to qualify for college credit and/or advanced placement.

Receive College Credit at US and International Colleges and Universities

More than 3,800 four-year U.S. colleges and universities grant credit and/or advanced placement for qualifying AP Exam scores. Beyond the U.S., according to the College Board, universities in more than 60 countries recognize AP exam scores in the admission process and/or for credit and advanced placement.2

Doing well on multiple AP exams can help you save time and money in college. In fact, by passing multiple AP exams, some students earn enough advanced college credit to start college a semester (or more) ahead, thereby reducing the number of semesters, and the corresponding costly tuition dollars. Qualifying for credit on one or more AP exams also helps a student start college in advanced classes, benefitting the student who is truly passionate about a subject and anxious to dive deeper into a subject area as soon as they start college.

1 The College Board, AP: Opportunities for International Students Interested in AP Courses and Exams, 2012.

2 The College Board, AP International University Recognition, 2012.