Do Colleges Give Academic Credit For AP/IB High School Courses?

When applying for college, there are many factors that are important in determining which college is right for you. One major factor in deciding colleges is answering the question of if a college will accept Advanced Placement, (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) test scores for credit in college courses. While each college is different in their policy about what credit a student will get, we have gathered information about general guidelines for AP/IB credit to assist you in asking the right questions to your prospective universities.

What Colleges Will Accept My AP or IB Credit?

It would be great to have a straight, overarching answer to this questions, that a certain grade on an exam or in the class would guarantee credit in certain classes. However, none exists. The Washington Post has noted that public colleges are more likely to accept AP or IB credit for their entry level classes than a private college, but there are no guarantees.

How Do I Determine if My Prospective College Will Accept My Credits?

The best way to determine if you will get credit is to ask an admissions counselor or an academic advisor about your specific tests and what, if any, credit you will receive. Some elite schools, like Dartmouth, are requiring a passing grade on an exam in the course area even when a passing grade was scored on an AP exam, according to the New York Times. To avoid confusion and make sure that the information you are given is correct, do your best to speak directly with an admissions advisor or academic advisor at the college you plan to attend. Keep all pertinent information in writing if possible, and remember that policies are frequently changed.

What are the Biggest Differences Between the AP and IB Programs?

Unfortunately, again this is a situation that depends on the college. Historically speaking, AP grades have been more universally recognized due to the popularity of the courses. However, many schools are now more familiar with the IB program and are consequently giving credit for passing the IB exams. The AP program requires a year long commitment, and tests are taken in May of each year. Students can take just one course, or as many as will fit in their schedule. The IB program focuses more on writing, has no multiple choice questions on its tests, and requires two years of study before examinations. IB students must choose six subject areas to study, and credit is given for passing the exams and meeting all program requirements, including community service.


There is no concrete way to ensure that the hard work you have done in your AP or IB courses will be accepted at the college level. However, many students feel better prepared for college material after completing an AP or IB course. Meeting with an academic advisor at the college you plan to attend in order to discuss your unique situation is the best way to determine which AP/IB courses you can receive credit for at at that institution.  To find an online college that will suit you, check out this link.