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American Advanced Placement Program & British University Entrance Requirements

American Advanced Placements, known as APs, are courses and examinations available at American or International High Schools around the world. The Advanced Placement Program enables American students to pursue some American college level courses while still at High School. If a student attains a good grade, an American college will count these towards the overall credit requirements of a particular course, thus reducing the time of study and enabling a student to progress to more advanced studies sooner. This is how the AP system works for students applying to American colleges. For students applying to a British university, APs have become a more viable means of entry in recent years but will not reduce the amount of time needed to study a particular course at university.

AP courses are normally available throughout grades 11 and 12 of an American/ International High School system. As with A-level courses in British schools, the number of AP courses offered in any one school will depend largely on the staff available to teach these courses. The AP exam is graded on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest. American colleges accept grades 3-5 as qualifying grades for entry to colleges or universities. Recent research and experience of the viability of APs as an entry qualification for British universities has shown that the same requirements hold true here in the UK. Major British universities tend to prefer a level 5 or 4 (equating to A or B grade at A level) whereas other universities are more open to a level 3. For those applying to British universities it appears that an application from a student who can offer a wide subject range of APs which includes a number of subjects relevant to the intended course of study would be well received. Generally a student applying with APs would be expected to have a good score in SATs (Scholastic Aptitude Test), which would also be available at any school offering APs.

So, for any students applying to British universities, the greater flexibility towards APs as an entrance qualification means that it may well be possible for young people and their families to remain in their place of assignment until the end of High School. It is evident that British university admissions departments are accustomed to dealing with enquiries about entrance qualifications and understand AP courses and other international qualifications well enough to look at the whole range of achievements gained overseas, and to advise on whether particular APs are sufficient preparation for specific courses. Our experience in the UK to date is that students have been accepted at some of our major universities on the basis of APs and SATs or a mixture of APs and other international qualifications. It would, therefore, be wise to contact individual institutions well ahead of the time of application to check that the courses being taken and anticipated qualifications will be acceptable. CHED UK can advise families and students regarding the logistics of contacting individual institutions in the UK.

Gill Cheffy, CHED Coordinator
Wycliffe UK and Europe Area
August 2004, updated January 2008

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