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The Academic Preparation Program

The Academic Preparation Program (APP) serves first-time, full-time undergraduate students who are admitted to UK and have not yet met Kentucky’s statewide College Readiness benchmark  scores (see 13 KAR 2:020). The APP provides placement testing and academic interventions designed to support student success. The APP has three parts:

I. Placement

After an admitted student confirms via MyUK his or her intention to attend the University of Kentucky, they are identified for reporting purposes as

  1. first time, first year students who have met the Kentucky Council of Postsecondary Education (CPE) minimum test score requirements for college readiness (.pdf file) — college ready.
  2. first time, first year students who have not met the CPE minimum test score requirements for college readiness (.pdf file);
  3. admitted transfer students who have not provided test scores and/or do not have equivalent college-level transfer credit ; or
  4. international students who have not met the CPE minimum test score requirements for college readiness, or a TOEFL score below 100, or any TOEFL sub-score below 20.  

Students identified as not meeting state benchmarks for college readiness in reading, writing, and/or math (b,c, & d above) are referred to the following UK Placement tests as appropriate:

  • ALEKS Online Math Placement Test for students with a ACT Math sub-score under 19. Required.
  • COMPASS-ESL for international undergraduates who qualify for English proficiency testing (a version of COMPASS designed for students whose native language is not English.) Required.
  • COMPASS for Reading for students with a ACT Reading sub-score under 20.
  • COMPASS for Writing for students with a ACT Writing sub-score under 18 

NOTE: The University of Kentucky will be offering new Reading, Writing, and ESL Placement Tests in KYOTE starting Fall 2016.

II. Academic Preparation and Continuing Support

Based on placement testing scores, students who do not meet UK standards for college readiness are considered APP eligible.   APP eligible students will be registered and earn credit for reading, writing, and/or math workshop(s) as appropriate to supplement their regular academic course work.  Students will also be referred to a range of resources that support student success including tutoring and individualized academic coaching. APP eligible students will continue to receive support by APP program staff throughout their first semesters to ensure successful transition into their chosen major.  Individual colleges may require additional college-specific programming for APP students.

  • UK120 APP Reading: Students who have an ACT reading sub-score below 20 (SAT critical reading below 470) will be automatically registered in UK120 APP for Reading. (A Reading Placement exam is available for students who wish to test out of UK120.  Students may register for a testing session by visiting www.uky.edu/AE/academic-preparation-program/ (and clicking on Placement Testing).  UK120 is a proactive co-requisite course designed to enhance students’ mastery of critical college reading concepts and strategies while including multiple points of intervention and access to resources in support of students’ regular course work in the UK Core. UK120 is a one-credit course that meets once a week with additional open drop-in hours for academic coaching. Trained learning specialists guide the workshops in support of academic success, and are available for inside and outside of classroom support.
  • UK130 APP Writing Workshop: Students who have an ACT English sub-score below 18 (SAT writing below 430) will be automatically registered in UK130APP Writing Workshop.  (A Writing Placement exam is available for students who wish to test out of UK130 and be eligible in their first semester for WRD/CIS110).  Students may register for a testing session by visiting www.uky.edu/AE/academic-preparation-program/ (and clicking on Placement Testing).  This transitional writing workshop is designed to coach students to master critical college analytical writing concepts while including multiple points of intervention and access to resources in support of students’ regular course work. Workshops are held twice a week and earn one hour of academic credit. Trained learning specialists guide the workshops in support of academic success. And are available for inside and outside of classroom support. Students who have an ACT English sub-score below 18 (SAT writing below 430) will be automatically registered in UK130APP Writing Workshop.  (A Writing Placement exam is available for students who wish to test out of UK130 and be eligible in their first semester for WRD/CIS110).  Students may register for a testing session by visiting www.uky.edu/AE/ (and clicking on Placement Testing).  This transitional writing workshop is designed to coach students to master critical college analytical writing concepts while including multiple points of intervention and access to resources in support of students’ regular course work. Workshops are held twice a week and earn one hour of academic credit. Trained learning specialists guide the workshops in support of academic success, and they are available for inside and outside of classroom support. 
  • UK095 APP for Quantitative Reasoning & UK096 APP for College Algebra: Students who have an ACT math sub-score below 19 (SAT math below 460) AND an ALEKS scores below 30 will be automatically registered in UK095 APP for Quantitative Reasoning or UK096 APP for College Algebra at the recommendation of their college advisor. This transitional course is designed as self-paced supplemental instruction for students to master math concepts. Students work directly with a math learning specialist and peer educator in a classroom setting twice a week with an additional open drop-in lab to complete required hours of out-of-class work. Students may continue working in UK095 for as long as needed until he or she completes mastery of the required topics to place into credit bearing college math courses (an additional ALEKS placement test is required prior to placement in credit bearing UK math courses).
  • ESL120 Reading for Academic Purposes & ESL130 Writing for Academic Purposes: International students who have an ACT reading sub-score below 20 (SAT critical reading below 470), or an ACT English sub-score below 18 (SAT writing below 430), or a TOEFL score below 100, or any TOEFL sub-score below 20 will be automatically registered by the International Center staff for English Language Testing upon arrival. Based on the results of those tests, students may be required by the UK Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) to enroll in supplemental courses in English, for academic credit, to be taken during their first year as fully enrolled students. This program is called English for Academic Purposes. Completion of the “ESL APP" coursework may be required before admission to particular academic colleges and/or majors, and additional college specific or major-specific requirements may apply.  Note that students in ESL 120 should also co-enroll in ESL100 Listening for Academic Purposes (3 credits);  and students in ESL130 should co-enroll in ESL110 Speaking for Academic Purposes. CESL staff require that students first test out of or complete ESL 100 (Listening) and ESL 120 (Reading) before taking ESL 130 (Writing).

III. College Readiness Reporting

Students enrolled at the University of Kentucky will be identified for college readiness reporting purposes as

  • first time, first year students who have not met the Kentucky Council of Postsecondary Education (CPE) minimum test score requirements for college readiness;
  • admitted transfer students who have not provided test scores and/or do not have equivalent college-level transfer credit; or,
  • international students who have not met the Kentucky Council of Postsecondary Education (CPE) minimum test score requirements for college readiness or a TOEFL score below 100, or any TOEFL sub-score below 20.

Those who are identified as APP-eligible will be tracked in the University’s enrollment management system (SAP/MyUK) to ensure they are provided with the appropriate placement and supplemental instruction described above.  Furthermore, retention, success in subsequent math and writing courses, and progress to degree for these students will be monitored and reported on an annual basis.


For frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the APP for Fall 2016, see the next page.

For information on University of Kentucky's requirements on foreign language proficiency and information on the different offerings for placement tests, see the Language Testing webpage.