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Articles / Applying to College / Can I Keep My AP Scores Private from My High School?

Dec. 14, 2017

Can I Keep My AP Scores Private from My High School?

Question: Is it possible to keep my AP scores private from my high school?

That's a very good question and it's one that "The Dean" hasn't gotten before.


If you are enrolled in an AP class at your high school and you take the corresponding AP exam, your teacher and school AP administrator will have access to your score. If you feel very strongly that your school officials should not be able to see your score, I suppose you could try to take legal action to block it, but the school folks will probably argue that they need the scores in order to evaluate their program and/or to give appropriate credit to their students. So your effort—and money—will probably be wasted.

If, however, you self-studied for an AP test and did NOT take the corresponding class, then your school officials will NOT see your score. The same is true for home-schooled students who take an AP test at their local high school.

Students do have the right to cancel their AP scores. Once you have canceled a score, it is permanently deleted and you cannot reinstate it. If you cancel your score by June 15 (shortly after you took the test), then your school will not receive it ... nor will YOU! You can also cancel scores at any time after June 15 but, by then, the score will have been sent to your high school as well as to any college that you listed as a score recipient on your registration form.

If your high school is one that requires all AP students to take AP exams in order to receive credit for their AP courses, you would be unwise to cancel a score. If you do, you may not receive credit for that class, and the class would thus be removed from your transcript. If you have already been admitted to college by then, it's possible that the college you expect to attend will rescind your acceptance once an AP class vanishes from your transcript. So be wary before you cancel!

The College Board also offers “Score Withholding" that allows you to decide which of your AP results get sent to colleges. Score Withholding does not cancel scores permanently nor does it keep your scores from going to your high school. Typically, students do not send their official AP results to all of their target colleges. They simply self-report them on their applications and then they send their scores in the summer after 12th grade to ONLY the college they plan to attend, if they expect to receive credit or advanced standing at that college. So if you did especially poorly on one or more tests, you don't need to report these scores on your applications and then you can choose to withhold the bad ones when you send your scores to your final college choice. Of course, once you've been accepted and have decided to enroll, the college will not withdraw your acceptance based on your AP scores. Since there is a small fee to withhold scores (doesn't the College Board charge for EVERYTHING?), it may not be worth doing.

I hope that this answers your question and good luck on your AP tests this spring.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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