Students who hope to attend Harvard University may be interested in AP classes both to demonstrate their dedication to academic rigor and to exempt future classes once admitted into the school. Below, learn about Harvard’s AP Credit Policy, requirements, and expectations.
Does Harvard Accept AP Credit
Harvard does accept AP Credit for classes in which a student earned a 5 on the AP Exam. These credits are accepted under a program called “Advanced Standing.” To qualify, students must earn a 5 on a minimum of 4 AP tests, transferring a total of 32 credits. Depending on the length of the course – one semester vs. a full year – the course may transfer as 4 or 8 credits.
So which AP credits does Harvard accept? The Harvard AP Credit chart below demonstrates the transferability of each course if a student earns a 5 on the respective AP test. Note that students can earn a maximum of 8 credits total in the following categories: English, Calculus, Physics, and Spanish.
HARVARD AP SCORES:
|AP Art History||8||AP Calculus AB||4|
|AP English Language and Composition||4||AP Calculus BC||8|
|AP English Literature and Composition||8||AP Statistics||4|
|AP European History||8||AP Biology||8|
|AP Macroeconomics||4||AP Chemistry||8|
|AP Microeconomics||4||AP Physics B||8|
|AP Psychology||4||AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism||4|
|AP United States History||8||AP Physics C: Mechanics||4|
|AP Chinese Language and Culture||8||AP French Language and Culture||8|
|AP German Language and Culture||8||AP Italian Language and Culture||8|
|AP Japanese Language and Culture||8||AP Latin||4|
|AP Spanish Language and Culture||8||AP Spanish Literature and Culture||8|
How Many AP’s Do You Need For Harvard
Harvard is a top college that has always done extremely well in college rankings and academically rigorous, so their college admissions office will want to see that you’re prepared for challenging college courses. Your high school schedule should demonstrate a commitment to that challenge and taking AP classes is a good way to show this. That said, AP coursework availability varies widely from school to school, so note that Harvard will be looking at your coursework in context of the courses available to you.
Be cautious of overloading your schedule: Harvard would rather see a high GPA with 4 AP courses each year than a low GPA and a daunting 8 AP courses. Consider your AP, honors, and regular options carefully each semester based upon your own self-knowledge, schedule flexibility, and course offerings.
Likewise, remember that burnout is real – taking care of your mental health is just as important (if not more) as impressing a college with an intense high school transcript during the application process.
Do Some Courses Look Better In The Eyes Of Harvard AP Credit Policy
Succeeding in any AP class will be impressive to an admissions officer, but some classes won’t transfer to your college transcript if you’re admitted into the school.
Harvard does not offer credit for the following courses, even if a student earns a 5 on the AP Test:
- AP Music Theory
- AP Studio Art: 2-D Design
- AP Studio Art: 3-D Design
- AP Studio Art: Drawing
- AP Comparative Government and Politics
- AP Human Geography
- AP United States Government and Politics
- AP World History
- AP Computer Science A
- AP Computer Science Principles
- AP Environmental Science
- AP Physics 1: Algebra Based
- AP Physics 2: Algebra Based
This doesn’t mean you should avoid the above classes, however; if you enter Harvard interested in studying history, an admissions officer would probably hope to see AP Human Geography and AP World History on your transcript.
Harvard is notoriously tricky to get into, with a 5% acceptance rate and a high standLike other Ivy League schools, Harvard is notoriously difficult to get into, with a 5% acceptance rate and a high standard in its admissions process. A number of factors come into play, and you should strive to have a complete, well-rounded college application.
SAT Or ACT Scores
- This past year, the mid 50% of Harvard students received an SAT score between 1460-1570, and an ACT score between 33-35. These scores fall in the 96-99th percentile.
- While test scores alone won’t guarantee you do or don’t get accepted at Harvard, they are an important component of your application. Consider getting a tutor to prepare for these tests.
- 93% of admitted students ranked in the top 10% of their class, with an average GPA of 4.18, weighted.
- This number indicates that Harvard students took numerous advanced (AP/DE) courses and achieved As. Consider this GPA when deciding the number of AP classes to take for Harvard.
“We seek students who will contribute to our community—and to society throughout their lives. Academic achievement is important, but it’s only part of what we consider when making decisions.” – Harvard, on what they seek in potential applicants.
Harvard specifically names the following traits as beneficial in an applicant:
- Curiosity, determination, and creativity
- Special talents and successes
- Unique perspectives
A high school transcript may not be able to show off how you meet these traits, and that’s where extracurricular activities are so important. Membership in clubs, research, internships, care-taking, independent projects, artistic endeavors, athletics, political engagement, volunteer work – all of these activities demonstrate your contribution to your community, and are an essential part of your high school experience.
Prioritize involvement in the areas you’re most passionate about. Don’t worry about being active in every club and group – instead, find a setting in which you can shine and develop leadership skills.
After you apply to Harvard, you may be asked to do an interview with an alumnus. This is an opportunity to learn more about Harvard and a chance for you to show the school your genuine self. Be confident and honest with your answers – don’t shy away from talking about your achievements. Likewise, ask questions! The conversation should be two-sided.
How Many AP Classes For Harvard Should I Take Each Year
There’s no rule for exactly how many AP classes you should be taking each year, and availability will vary school by school. However, you can use each year as an opportunity to develop study skillsThere’s no rule for exactly how many AP classes you should be taking each year, and availability will vary school by school. However, you can use each year as an opportunity to develop study skills as classes advance in difficulty, figuring out for yourself what kind of course load you can manage at one time.
- Many schools put limits on how many AP courses can be taken by freshman. If you’re offered an AP class that might serve as an introduction to advanced coursework (like AP Human Geography or AP European History), take it!
- Use this course to get a feel for how AP classes work, and figure out how much of a time commitment an AP course will be for you.
- There will likely be a few more AP courses available to you as a sophomore, and if you were able to excel in your first AP class as a freshman, go ahead and take another – or two.
- Continue to build time management skills! These will be essential in college.
- Famously the most difficult school year of high school, you should plan for an academically rigorous junior year. Establish a goal GPA and take as many AP classes as you need to earn that GPA.
- For some students/schools, this may again involve taking 2 AP classes. For others, perhaps this means taking 3-4 AP classes, if not more. Be mindful of your time and wellbeing during this tough year, and be careful not to fall behind.
- Identify resources to help you manage your GPA. A tutor can help you manage challenging classes, as can a study group or going to your teachers’ office hours.
- Using what you learned from your junior year, take on as many AP classes as you have the time and bandwidth for.
- Senior year opens up your schedule to classes you previously wouldn’t qualify for, like an AP foreign language course.
REMEMBER: In order to transfer AP credit to Harvard, you must earn a 5 on at least four AP exams weighted 8 college credits at Harvard. Return to the chart that appears earlier in this blog to figure out what classes will help you satisfy the requirements of Advanced Standing.
What If Your High School Doesn’t Have AP Courses
Most schools will have the option for either Advanced Placement courses or Dual Enrolled courses, which function similarly. However, if your high school only offers regular coursework, remember that Harvard will be looking at the overall type of courses your school offers! It’s not an automatic rejection if you were never able to take AP courses.
Some states offer free, online AP courses that your guidance or academic counselor can help you enroll in. If you aren’t sure what your school has to offer, go to the office and ask! You can also check out your state’s Department of Education website.
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About the Author
Renée Floryis a student at Johns Hopkins University. She scored a 1570 on the SAT, studies professional/creative writing and English literature, and writes novels in her free time!
Be cautious of overloading your schedule: Harvard would rather see a high GPA with 4 AP courses each year than a low GPA and a daunting 8 AP courses. Consider your AP, honors, and regular options carefully each semester based upon your own self-knowledge, schedule flexibility, and course offerings.Is 3 AP classes enough for Harvard? ›
To be a competitive candidate for admission, you will need to take at least 8 AP® classes, more if you can. It is a good idea to take 1 AP® course in each of the following core disciplines: English, Foreign Language, History, Math, and Science to impress the admissions officers.
For students aiming for the Ivy League and Top 20 schools in the United States, a good target is to take (and pass) 10-14 AP classes throughout your high school career — or 3-4 each year.How many AP classes did the average Harvard student take? ›
Going up the selectivity chain, the average at Harvard is eight AP classes. To be competitive at some of the most highly selective colleges in the country, 8-12 AP courses may be the sweet spot amount, assuming the student can handle that level of rigor.Are AP classes required for Harvard? ›
While Harvard will not grant college credit for your AP tests, the school does want to see that you have taken advantage of all of the opportunities that are available to you, including AP courses and tests. Some schools offer international baccalaureate classes.Do Ivy Leagues accept 3 on AP exams? ›
An AP Score of 3 or 4 will likely not get you any college credit or respect at a top school like Stanford/Ivies/MIT. A score of 5 may not either — top colleges like to think that their courses are more rigorous than APs and thus should not be passed out of, and earning a 5 is simply expected for top admits.Does Harvard accept 4 on AP? ›
Harvard only accepts AP® scores of 5 for course credit. If you have 4 scores of 5, you can opt to obtain Advanced Standing. You can use AP® credits to opt-out of lower-level classes. Harvard has general academic requirements that all students must take.Is 7 aps too much? ›
Aim for four to eight AP exams in your junior and senior years. For competitive Ivy League schools, admission officers also want to see AP courses for core subject areas and additional courses. If possible, aim to pass about seven to 12 AP exams if applying to these highly selective schools.What is the hardest AP class? ›
|AP Class/Exam||Pass Rate (3+)||Perfect Score (5)|
|1. Physics 1||51.6%||8.8%|
|2. Environmental Science||53.4%||11.9%|
|4. U.S. Government and Politics||57.5%||15.5%|
- AP Art & Design: Drawing.
- AP Art & Design: 2-D.
- AP Calculus BC.
- AP Chinese Language.
- AP English Literature.
- AP French Language.
- AP Government & Politics.
- AP Italian Language.
Be cautious of overloading your schedule: Harvard would rather see a high GPA with 4 AP courses each year than a low GPA and a daunting 8 AP courses. Consider your AP, honors, and regular options carefully each semester based upon your own self-knowledge, schedule flexibility, and course offerings.How many APs should I take for Harvard? ›
Incoming students who have taken AP exams need a total of 32 credits to be eligible for Advanced Standing. Credits are earned by scoring 5 on a minimum of four AP exams. Harvard confers 4 or 8 credits for each eligible AP exam depending on whether the exam covers one semester or one full year's worth of material.What is Harvard looking for? ›
There is no formula for gaining admission to Harvard. Academic accomplishment in high school is important, but the Admissions Committee also considers many other criteria, such as community involvement, leadership and distinction in extracurricular activities, and personal qualities and character.What are the hardest AP classes ranked? ›
- AP Environmental Science.
- AP European History.
- AP Government & Politics United States.
- AP Human Geography.
- AP Latin.
- AP Physics 1.
- AP Psychology.
- AP United States History.
This is because a "B" in an AP class demonstrates that the student was able to handle a high level of coursework and achieve a good grade in a challenging environment.How many AP classes should a freshman take? ›
This is when you should start taking your AP core classes. Take 3 to 5 if you are aiming for a highly selective school, and 2 to 4 if you are aiming elsewhere. Note that many students describe this year as significantly harder than past ones. And you'll also likely be taking your standardized tests.Does Harvard prefer AP or IB? ›
Does Harvard prefer IB or AP courses? Harvard does not explicitly state a preference for IB or AP courses. To receive credit for IB classes, accepted students must earn an IB diploma. Incoming students must earn a score of 5 on at least four AP exams to earn college credit at Harvard.Should I send my AP score if I got a 3? ›
The first thing that you should do is check the AP Score credit policy for the colleges that you are applying to. If they will give you credit for the 3, then by all means report it! On the other hand, if they only give credit for a 5 on that exam (not even for a 4), you may want to hold off.Are 4s on AP Exams good? ›
The score of 4 is deemed by the College Board as “well qualified”, meaning that you know the material and could do well in the college class.What GPA does Harvard except? ›
The GPA requirements for Harvard University are between 3.9 to 4.1. You will need an incredibly high GPA and will likely be graduating at the top of their class in order to get into Harvard University.
The average high school GPA for admitted students at Harvard University is 4.18 on a 4.0 scale. (You can calculate your high school a GPA here.) This is a very competitive GPA, and Harvard University is clearly accepting students at the top of their high school class.Do AP exams matter senior year? ›
Remember that if you take an AP Exam in your senior year and designate a college to receive your scores, that college will receive your entire score report from all AP Exams you've taken throughout high school unless you have requested score(s) to be withheld or canceled.Is 13 APs a lot? ›
For students aiming for the Ivy League and Top 20 schools in the United States, a good target is to take (and pass) 10-14 AP classes throughout your high school career — or 3-4 each year.Is 9 APs a lot? ›
Students looking to earn admission to highly selective colleges should take multiple AP classes to bolster their applications and demonstrate they can handle challenging coursework. Some college admissions experts recommend taking as many as 7-12 AP courses before applying to the most elite universities.Is 11 APs too much? ›
Many competitive applicants at top universities take anywhere from 7 – 12 AP classes throughout high school. In fact, some universities even require students to take multiple AP classes in order for any of them to count as college credit.What is the rarest AP class? ›
- AP Italian (2,102 test-takers)
- AP Japanese (2,204 test-takers)
- AP German (4,315 test-takers)
- AP 3-D Art and Design (4,573 test-takers)
- AP Latin (4,889 test-takers)
AP Physics 1 is the hardest AP class with the least passing rate of 51.6. It means almost half of the students fail this exam.What is the least passed AP class? ›
9) AP Physics 1
At many high schools, AP Physics is notorious for its difficulty level. In addition, it has the lowest overall pass rate of any AP exam.
AP U.S. History is one of the hardest AP classes in the humanities and in general.Is AP Bio or Chem harder? ›
No, it's not! My research assures that neither AP chem nor AP bio is tougher than one other. But as AP chemistry is more application based, students who take this subject need to spend more study hours for this subject. The difficulty of an AP class is based on the student's interest and likeness to the subject.
AP classes also tend to be more challenging than honors classes. For AP classes, you should have the ability to manage difficult coursework while preparing for AP exams.What degree is most common at Harvard? ›
The most popular majors at Harvard University include: Social Sciences, General; Biology/Biological Sciences, General; Mathematics, General; Computer and Information Sciences, General; History, General; Physical Sciences, General; Psychology, General; Engineering, General; and Foreign Languages and Literatures, General ...What is the biggest class at Harvard? ›
This year's FAQ for CS50, Harvard University's largest course, featured this statement: "Unlike last year, students are encouraged to attend all lectures in person this year." Encouraging the 800-plus students enrolled in the introductory computer programming course may sound typical.What is the most common grade at Harvard? ›
“The median grade in Harvard College is indeed an A-. The most frequently awarded grade in Harvard College is actually a straight A.”How many AP classes should I take for Ivy? ›
To get into Ivy League Colleges
You must enroll in at least 8 AP courses, and more if possible, to get into Ivy League Colleges. To convince the admissions officials, taking one AP course in each core subject, such as English, Foreign Language, History, Maths, and Science, is an excellent idea.
The record for the most Advanced Placement tests ever taken is 30 — AP scholar Justin Zhu even earned the highest score possible on 26 of the 30 tests he took. Is it a good idea to encourage your child to break Justin's record?Do Ivy Leagues care about AP classes? ›
Most schools — including most Ivy League schools — award college credits for AP classes (assuming a certain exam score). These early credits offer students a head start in their college experience.What type of student gets into Harvard? ›
Harvard is looking for students who are more than just academic achievers. They seek outgoing leaders who can positively impact their campus and the world. Admitted students typically have a strong record of involvement in extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, theater, community service, or other pursuits.What is the secret to getting into Harvard? ›
Harvard is looking for students with “growth and potential”.
To get accepted into Harvard, students must show commitment to excellence through “interests and activities,” have upstanding “character and personality,” and “contribute to Harvard's community.”
With a GPA of 4.18, Harvard requires you to be at the top of your class. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants. Furthermore, you should be taking hard classes - AP or IB courses - to show that college-level academics is a breeze.
It gives college credit for every AP exam, and you generally only need to score a 3 to get college credit (although higher scores often earn you more credit). Math, science, and foreign language exams tend to give the most credit.What AP class has the highest passing rate? ›
- Chinese Language and Culture: 88.2%
- Art and Design: 86.2%
- Seminar: 85.0%
- Research: 81.5%
- Spanish Language and Culture: 80.0%
- Calculus BC: 75.2%
- Japanese Language and Culture: 74.3%
- Physics C: Mechanics: 73.5%
Poor performance in AP classes
Students who earn a “C” or below in an AP class will decrease the likelihood that they will be admitted into the colleges and universities at the top of their lists.
AP classes show colleges that you are challenging yourself, and can handle the academic rigor of a college-level course. Schools are aware of the amount of AP courses that are offered at your school and what level courses you take through your transcript. There isn't any harm if you don't take any AP classes.Do colleges prefer AP or honors? ›
Colleges like them both. Both honors and AP courses are rigorous courses that most high schools weight more heavily on your transcript. AP courses, however, culminate in the AP Exam. Good AP scores show colleges you are ready to succeed at college-level work and can even earn you college credits.Is 4 APs too much junior year? ›
Depending on what kind of school you want to go to, you should be taking between 3 and 5 AP® classes this year. You will need to manage your time well, however, as you also need to study for the SAT® or ACT® during this time.
Take as many as you can handle without spreading yourself thin, and make sure you will have time to study for the ACT or SAT this year. An Ivy League hopeful might take 3 to 5 AP classes, while if you're aiming for less-selective schools, 2 to 4 would be enough.Is 5 AP classes too much senior year? ›
Senior Year: Take more APs in core subjects and additional subjects, again being careful not to overburden your schedule and to leave time for college applications. It's not uncommon for applicants to highly selective schools to have as many as 5 AP classes senior year, but keep your own schedule and limits in mind.How many AP classes should I take to get into Harvard? ›
Take as many as you can handle without spreading yourself thin, and make sure you will have time to study for the ACT or SAT this year. An Ivy League hopeful might take 3 to 5 AP classes, while if you're aiming for less-selective schools, 2 to 4 would be enough.
Yale accepts scores of 4 and 5 on the AP® exams for credit. The score requirements vary by department. You can use your AP® credits to “accelerate” your Yale education.How much can 3 AP classes boost your GPA? ›
At many high schools, honors and AP classes both offer more heavily weighted training compared to regular classes. While honors courses usually add 0.5 points to your GPA, AP classes often add 1 point. In other words, a 3.5 GPA would be boosted to a 4.0 in an honors class and a 4.5 in an AP class.
Aim for four to eight AP exams in your junior and senior years. For competitive Ivy League schools, admission officers also want to see AP courses for core subject areas and additional courses. If possible, aim to pass about seven to 12 AP exams if applying to these highly selective schools.Does Princeton accept a 3 on AP? ›
Princeton accepts AP® scores of 5 (and rarely 4) for course credit. These requirements vary by department. Princeton has certain classes that everyone has to take called distribution requirements.What is the lowest GPA accepted into Yale? ›
We do not set a minimum GPA, nor do we attempt to re-weight GPA's to any standard other than what a school provides. An applicant's complete secondary school transcript (not just the GPA or class rank, if they are provided) is evaluated during the admissions process.What is the lowest GPA someone got into Yale with? ›
You should also have a 4.14 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. For a school as selective as Yale, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application.What GPA is a B+ in an AP class? ›
In theory, a “B" in an AP or honors class is “better" than an “A" in a regular class, but many applicants to top colleges will have all A's in the top classes.