Most high school students will no longer receive their Advanced Placement scores in the mail come this July. Instead, students will establish a College Board account to access the results of their exams online. With the new system, students also can request score reports be sent to colleges online rather than by phone, mail, or fax.
The AP program is moving from a paper-only score report to an online system in an effort to be more efficient and for environmental reasons, said College Board spokesperson Kathleen Steinberg. The New York City-based organization that administers AP anticipates the vast majority of students will use the new online system, but will provide students for whom access to a computer is a barrier the option of requesting scores from customer service.
The College Board is working with AP coordinators to get the word out about the transition and have students set up their online accounts before the test. The account is free. Students who already have an account are encouraged to sign in and confirm that they have the correct username and password. (SAT score results are now delivered to students online by the College Board.)
The next round of AP exams will be held May 6-17 and notification will be sent to students that their scores are ready by email in July. Students then can log on to their accounts, with a user name and password they have chosen, to download and print out their scores.
Retrieving scores online will be convenient for families who travel in the summer, note some counselors who welcome the new system.
"The change helps bring the AP score system into the modern world of college admissions where students are accustomed to receiving SAT scores and admission decisions online," says Megan Dorsey, a college admission counselor with College Prep Results in Houston.
However, signing up for a College Board account is one more thing for busy parents and counselors to have to do, says Katy Murphy, director of college counseling at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, Calif., and president-elect of the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
Younger students who do not have established accounts may be have trouble accessing the information and could find it difficult to get help at school where, in California, the student-to-counselor ratio is approaching 999 to 1, she says. Murphy thinks the College Board did a good job of promoting the procedure in the new AP booklet, but cautions that students' minds are elsewhere in the spring and will need reminders about setting up an account.
For more information about the new online system, the College Board has set up a Web page (www.apscores.org), and an awarenesstoolkit of resources such as posters and handouts for students. There are answers to frequently asked questions here.
Students still get to send one score report for free to the college they designate on their first AP answer sheet. The fee for additional report requests will remain $15.