SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

How To Send AP Scores to Colleges

Posted by Halle Edwards | Jul 29, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Advanced Placement (AP)


Wondering how to send AP scores to colleges?

We have a complete guide that explains how to send AP scores, which colleges want to see them for your applications, and how to save money on sending scores.


Do You Need Official AP Score Reports For Your Applications? 

You may be asking: do colleges want the official AP score report for when you're applying, or is it just for the purpose of verifying scores once you've enrolled? This is important to know before you spend money to send your scores!

Turns out, AP scores often appear on your official high school transcript. (You can ask your guidance counselor if your school adds AP scores to the transcript.) Furthermore, there is a place on the Common Application for you to self-report your AP scores.

Given this info, and by looking at college admission websites and contacting admissions offices, we’ve learned that colleges for the most part want you to self-report your AP scores on applications, and only send an official report once you’ve committed to attending. That means you’ll only send one official AP score report in your life, once you’ve chosen a college senior year!

A Harvard admissions representative said when we called them, "For the application we need at least one official report for the SAT or ACT. If you take the SAT Subject tests you should send one as well... For AP tests, you can self-report your scores." Stanford and MIT said the same thing.

Princeton puts this policy on their website: “We recommend that you self-report all of your AP or IB scores on your application. You must submit your SAT and/or ACT scores to Princeton directly from the testing firms.” Yale has a similar policy.

Don’t confuse this with sending SAT/ACT scores – those scores have to be sent for admission and the scores have to be sent from the testing agency.


Important Exception: Schools with Flexible Standardized Testing Policies

An exception to this rule would be if you are applying to a school like NYU with a flexible standardized test policy (NYU will accept 3 AP tests in place of the SAT/ACT for admission).

If you are submitting AP scores as your official standardized testing, they need to be on an official score report or on a report by a school official. 

But if you’re a senior looking to send your AP scores to your chosen college, or you’re applying to a school like NYU with a flexibile-testing policy, you’ll need to know how to send scores. Keep reading to learn how.


You can use your AP scores, instead of the ACT or SAT, to apply to NYU.


Sending Scores Using Your AP Answer Sheet

Each year that you take AP Exams, you have the opportunity to send one free score report. You do this by entering the four-digit code of the college, university or scholarship program on your AP answer sheet. (Your AP Booklet will include an index with codes for most colleges and universities, but you can also look up codes here.)

Since it’s free, this is a great way to get all your scores sent your senior year to the college you’ve chosen to attend, free of charge!

I called College Board and confirmed that when you use this service, it sends all of the AP scores you have ever gotten, not just that year’s scores.

If you're a senior, you will have made your college choice by AP exams (the reply deadline is May 1, and AP exams are held the first two weeks of May) so go ahead and send your score to your future school.

You can send these free scores if you want freshman-junior year, but keep in mind it’s superfluous since you’ll be self-reporting your scores on your college applications anyway.

Furthermore, I strongly recommend not sending AP scores to your dream/reach schools freshman-junior year for the same reason I'm hesitant about sending the free ACT/SAT score reports – you're sending your scores blind, and you don't want to send bad ones! True, a single bad AP score isn’t exactly going to ruin your college admission chances, but I think it’s safer to wait and report your AP scores on your actual application.


If you're a freshman, sophomore, or junior, just focus on doing well on the AP tests.


Ordering Score Reports Online

If you forget to use the free score report option senior year, or if you’re sending AP scores for an application, this is how to send scores online, at any point in the year.

Simply log in to your College Board account to view and send AP scores. On the first page after you log in, click on the "Send Scores to Colleges Now" button to get started.


Your scores are right below this, organized by year.


You first look up the college (or colleges) you're sending scores to, then pay and receive a confirmation and expected delivery date.


The fee for standard delivery of score reports ordered online is $15 each. The fee for rush delivery of score reports is $25 each. Standard delivery takes approximately 7-14 business days, while rush delivery takes approximately 5-9 business days.

Standard delivery should be just fine, since you are most likely sending these senior year in time for your registrar’s office to receive them before classes start your freshman year of college. Check with your college’s registrar to get the deadline for submitting scores.

If you're submitting AP scores for college applications, be mindful of deadlines so you can send them using standard delivery and save some money. 


Ordering Score Reports in June and July

Since June/July is a busy time for score reports, orders placed online June 17 and July 2 won't be processed and sent until July 3. To make up for that, the reports will be processed on July 3 as a rush delivery, but will only cost the standard delivery fee ($15).

If you're a senior, check your school's deadline for receipt of AP scores for credit and placement to make sure your scores will arrive on time given the June/July score crunch.


Other Score Report Options

You also have a couple of options if you don't want to send one or more of your AP scores.


Score Withholding 

You can withhold one or more AP scores from any college you're sending AP scores to. This might be a solution if you have a bunch of 4s and 5s but have a 2 you're embarrassed about.

Furthermore, the score won't be included on any future score reports sent to that particular college, and the score won't be deleted from your records. You can later release the score to that college by sending AP Services a signed written request. It won't cost you any extra money to release a withheld score.

However, it costs $10 per score per college to withhold a score. You have to mail an official request to College Board to take advantage of this.

Is this worth it? Not if you’re sending your scores to a college you’ve gotten into. By the time you’ve gotten into a college, they are probably more concerned with the tests you passed and aren’t going to kick you out just because you have some lower AP scores.

However, if you’re applying to a school with a flexible standardized-test policy and only want them to see your top scores, this might be a good option for you. Especially since these schools often only require a few AP scores, it would be fine to leave off any lower scores you have to present your best case for admission.



Score Cancellation

It's also possible to completely cancel an AP score. Canceling an AP test score deletes it forever. You can cancel an AP exam at any time, but you have to cancel by June 15 of the year you take the AP test to prevent it being on the score report being sent to the college you put on your AP answer sheet.

Canceling technically doesn't cost any money, but you're losing the money you spend to take the exam.

Our advice? You don’t have to go through the hassle of canceling a score if you’re just submitting your AP score report to your chosen college. Again, they’re not going to revoke your admission thanks to one low AP score.

You can make your own call on this if you have a low score (1 or 2) you don’t want a college to see, and you’re submitting a score report for an application. But remember colleges generally want to see you’ve taken the AP exam after taking an AP class. Withholding may be the better option since you’ll still have access to that test score in case you decide you want to keep it.

And never, never delete a score of 3 or higher! Even if you think no one’s going to take a 3, don’t be so sure. Many colleges accept scores of 3 or higher on AP exams. And since you don’t know how the college admissions process will shake out for you until senior year, you might regret hastily deleting a 3 you could have used for credit.


What’s Next?

Taking AP exams is great, but did you know many colleges require SAT subject tests as well? Get a complete list of colleges that require SAT subject tests for admission here.

Have you taken the SAT or ACT yet? Happy with your score? Learn what a good or bad ACT/SAT score looks like at your top schools.

Will taking AP classes get you into Harvard? Maybe – but they’re not the only component you need. Get an in-depth guide for getting into the nation’s top schools by our resident SAT full-scorer and PrepScholar founder Allen Cheng.


Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

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Halle Edwards
About the Author

Halle Edwards graduated from Stanford University with honors. In high school, she earned 99th percentile ACT scores as well as 99th percentile scores on SAT subject tests. She also took nine AP classes, earning a perfect score of 5 on seven AP tests. As a graduate of a large public high school who tackled the college admission process largely on her own, she is passionate about helping high school students from different backgrounds get the knowledge they need to be successful in the college admissions process.

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