By: Noam Beltran  | 

YU Lowers AP Exemption Standard

Advanced Placement courses are university level classes taught in high school, which culminate with a challenging standardized test in May that is graded on a standard of 1 through 5 (with 5 being the highest). Due to the rigor of these courses, it is accepted practice among a large number of universities to honor scores of 3, 4, and 5 as sufficient to fulfill a college requirement and exempt the student from taking that class.

Yeshiva University has always taken a stricter perspective towards their acceptance of Advanced Placement high school courses. Yeshiva College’s policy has always been not to accept scores below 5, while Stern’s policy includes scores of 4 as well. However, YU’s rigid policy has officially been discontinued. In an unprecedented move, the Yeshiva College faculty has decided to accept AP scores of 4.

In an exclusive interview with the Commentator, Dr. Karen Bacon, Dean of the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences, related a unique perspective regarding the University’s new policy. Although considerations for the change did not appear on the faculty agenda this summer, Dean Bacon decided to asked for review of the AP policy in Yeshiva College. “It is a good idea to have as many policies as uniform as possible between Stern and Yeshiva College,” explained Dean Bacon, who also serves as the Dean for Stern. Previously, the Yeshiva College faculty had been adamant in saying that only a score of 5 reflected a sufficient grasp of the material to warrant an exemption from taking the class in YC. Under Dean Bacon’s advisement, the YC faculty worked for many months researching other successful and esteemed universities, such as Princeton University, and their policies regarding Advanced Placement courses. Their research led them to conclude that accepting 4s as well as 5s was a reasonable amendment, and that scoring a 4 on an AP examination did reflect a significant grasp of the material. In addition, the faculty agreed that the change was pragmatically beneficial when recruiting potential students from co-ed high schools for the University who had previously been disturbed by the discrepancy in policy for classmates of different genders who had earned the same mark.

The policy began with students whose first time on campus was for the Post-Pesach Program in 2016 as well as the current Fall 2016 students, and will be in effect going forward. Dean Bacon expressed her care for the students at YU through a psychological explanation of human nature. “Although the change in policy will most likely have a minimal effect on the University as a whole (while AP courses earn legitimate credits and can be extremely valuable for major-related courses, Yeshiva students have a minimum residency requirement of 6 semesters on campus regardless of how many credits they had coming in), psychologically, the policy change validates their hard work and accomplishments in high school. You received a 4, and a 4 is a good score, and therefore you will be rewarded at YU for that achievement.” If students feel that their grasp on a subject is not sufficient, they are encouraged to meet with Academic Advising and discuss whether it may still be worth their while to take the class again in college. Dean Bacon urges students to consider their time at YU, and not rush through the years for the sake of graduating. “College is not just about expedience, but to know the material for the major- to grow the brain bank and figure out what you want to do and who you want to be as an individual.” She went on to express her admiration for high school students who worked hard and received AP scores of 4s. “The faculty must be reasonable- accepting scores of 4s has not limited the students ability to perform (in Stern), and Yeshiva College will be the same.” Ultimately, this is sure to be a positive adjustment of policy for Yeshiva College and Sy Syms School of Business.