I recently attended the PHAA “High School at Home” Conference and gleaned some clarifications and explanations that were very helpful!

1. AP Courses are the best preparation for college. The courses themselves are more challenging, get the student interacting with an expert teacher and other quality students. Even if your teen does not take the AP test, just taking the course is impressive to a college.

2. However, taking the AP test for a given subject is a way to possibly earn college credit before going to college. The test is given a score from 1 to 5, and most colleges will award college credit for a score of 4 or 5. Some will even give credit for a score of 3.

3. If a student scores a 3, and doesn’t get credit, he may opt to take the CLEP test for that subject and if he passes that test could still earn credit.

4. A student does not HAVE to take an AP course in order to take the AP Test or CLEP test but she would have to be an “expert” in that subject in order to do well on the test. The PHAA online AP courses have a high rate of of students passing the AP tests with good scores. Public schools are happy if 20% of their students earn a 4 or 5. PHAA record is that 75% of their students earn a 4 or a 5!

5. If  a student is really exceptional in some way, or has taken a deep interest in a subject, then there is a good chance that the course can be turned into an Honors Course. To get that designation there needs to be an investment in research, logged time and documentation, and some significant learning that took place. See my other article for more ideas on this.