Preparing for College

AP Tests for Homeschooled Student

Question: I am a homeschooled sophomore. What constitutes a AP course? I have elected the hardest courses that are available to me. Will the Ivy League colleges take this into account even though technically they are not AP courses? Would taking some AP tests be good?

Taking AP exams is a great idea for homeschoolers. College admission officials realize that some homeschooled students pursue a very rigorous curriculum, and some do not—very much the way it is for students who attend traditional high schools.


One of the best ways indeed to prove to admission folks that being home schooled doesn’t mean a day full of Beverly Hills 90210 reruns and microwave popcorn is to tackle AP tests and get good results.

You should find most of the information you need about taking AP exams at:

http://www.collegeboard.com/ap/students/index.html

You will see that anyone who feels qualified to do so can sign up for these tests. You need not have completed official Advanced Placement courses first. From this Web site, you will also find links to study materials that can help you determine what each tests covers and how to prepare.

Note that home-schooled students wishing to take A.P. exams must contact the A.P. officials by early March in order to arrange a test site (usually at your local public high school) for the test administration that spring. All of this (along with the exact deadline) is explained on the Web site mentioned above. Since you are only a sophomore, however, you may want to wait until next year. Keep in mind, however, that you don’t want to postpone A.P. exams until the spring just before you go to college, because then your test results will not arrive in time for admission officials to see them. Because A.P. tests are not required, you are likewise not required to submit scores you don’t like.

In general, whether you are taking an A.P. test or not, as a homeschooled student, you would be wise (and often expected) to provide college admission committees with a fairly detailed outline of each course you’ve completed, which will help them determine just how demanding it was. You should also consider taking SAT II subject tests in as many subjects as possible, because these, too, can indicate that you have pursued a challenging curriculum. For more information about SAT II tests, the subjects offered, and registration details, go to: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/lc_two.html