One of the most common questions fielded by the BYU Admissions office centers on the perceived value of concurrent college work when compared to enrollment in AP or IB classes. Certainly, each of these programs has merit! This article will seek to detail the advantages of each, all in an effort to help prospective BYU students make informed decisions about selecting high school courses. In terms of definition, concurrent work for our purposes is enrollment in college level classes while the student is also enrolled in high school. The college classes may be taught online, on the college campus, or on the high school campus. If a student will be earning college credit while still enrolled in high school, and that credit will appear on an official college transcript, we would consider this concurrent college work.
Advantages of Concurrent Enrollment
Transferability - With a few exceptions, almost all freshman-level-or-higher college work will transfer to BYU. However, how they transfer to BYU is the more salient question. Some classes will meet GE/Core requirements, others may fulfill specific classes for majors/minors, and others will transfer as electives. Please visit transfer.byu.edu to learn more about our transfer credit policy and how specific classes transfer. Additionally, we have transfer guides with more than 30 colleges and universities across the country. These guides detail specific courses which will transfer from an individual school AND meet GE requirements at BYU.
Less Time to Graduation? - On the surface, this seems like an added benefit to concurrent enrollment. However, BYU's own research is aligning with other schools' findings from across the country: the time saved to graduation is minimal, if any at all. It appears students will find ways - meaningful ways - of using the extra time on campus. Examples include participating in study abroad, securing internships, adding a minor, exploring research opportunities, and enrolling in classes in preparation for graduate school or personal/professional development.
Advantages of AP/IB Enrollment
Higher Standardized Test Scores - BYU's internal research shows students tend to score higher on either the ACT or SAT exam when their high school coursework has included AP/IB enrollment. With the ACT being a curriculum-based exam, preparation in the classroom can be a key component to scoring higher on the standardized exam. AP and IB enrollment appear to demonstrate that relationship.
Higher First-Year GPA at BYU - Students who enter BYU with AP/IB courses as part of the high school experience tend to outperform their non-AP/IB cohorts in terms of first-year GPA at BYU. Admittedly, this is only one metric of student success, but it is an important one.
Earned Credits at BYU - We invite you and your students to visit apib.byu.edu to explore how AP and IB test results impact course equivalencies at BYU. Of the 36 AP exams that earn credit at BYU, 13 will earn credit with a score of 3 or higher. Others will require a 4, while one (AP Statistics) will require a 5.
Extra Consideration in the Admission Process - Due to the research and results mentioned above, BYU is very comfortable offering extra consideration in our admission evaluation for each AP or IB class appearing on a student's high school transcript. While we do not extend the same consideration for honors, college prep, or concurrent enrollment classes, the evidence supports the admission bonus for AP/IB enrollment.
In short, when we are asked about a preference between concurrent enrollment or AP/IB enrollment, BYU is transparent about the benefits of AP and IB enrollment. In terms of getting accepted to BYU, then performing well at BYU, the AP/IB experience tends to put students at a real advantage.