Graduating from college in four years may sound easy, but it isn’t for most students. Only 41 percent of all college students will graduate within four years. For those who work while pursuing their degree, the numbers drop to just 20%.
Not only is the graduation success rate low, but the costs of pursuing a degree can add up. The longer it takes you to complete your college courses, the less likely you will graduate — and the more debt you’ll rack up. One out of four students drop out before finishing college, and most say the biggest hurdle is money. For those who stick it out and finish in five or six years, many either have unnecessarily drained their parents’ bank accounts or ended up with loads more student loan debt.
Graduating on time and saving money is probably your biggest concern as a college student, and that’s where testing out of classes through Credit by Exam can come in handy.
What is Credit by Exam?
Probably one of the best-kept secrets, Credit by Exam, is a process that allows you to earn credits for a college course by passing one exam on the subject. But it’s not like a regular exam you’ll take in a classroom. With Credit by Examination (CBE), you must demonstrate prior knowledge of a subject by taking—and passing—the course exam(s).
There are different types of Credit by Exam examinations, including CLEP, ECE (Excelsior College Exams), and DSST. These college-level course replacement exams typically run between $80 – $100 each. Considering that the average 3-credit college course costs more than $1,700, testing out of exams can save you a lot of money.
With Credit by Exam, you’ll reduce how much in total you pay for college, and keep more money in your pocket. Plus, you get the added benefit of reducing the time it takes to graduate. Studying for these exams isn’t the easiest task and requires discipline, but that’s where test prep can help. Folks have used test prep for decades. LSAT, MCAT, SAT, ACT… few if any students just take these exams without leveraging test prep guidance from a trusted source. So if you’re looking for guidance on how to prepare for a Credit by Exam test, look no further than Smarter with Achieve. We help you prepare for these exams by offering guidance, support, and accountability through live instruction.
What is Smarter with Achieve?
Let’s start with what we’re not. We’re not another school asking you for an unrealistic time commitment. Instead, we work with you to find the best plan possible to test out of college courses, so that you can earn your degree sooner. Smarter with Achieve is an exam guidance company, which means we help you study to pass CLEP, ECE, and DSST exams. Although we’re not a school, we can help you pass exams for college credits that are accepted at over 3,000 accredited college institutions. In the same way that people rely on test prep solutions for LSAT, MCAT, or SAT, you can do the same for Credit by Exam. Smarter is the test prep company that provides turn key guidance on how to pass college-level replacement exams.
Why do I need test prep? Can’t I just study at home?
While some students can successfully study for their exams at home and pass the first time, that’s not the case for most. Did you know that students who do not pass their Credit by Exam test have to wait six (6) months before retaking it? Why take that chance? You want to be as prepared as possible for each exam. There is also the issue of not knowing what to study. How can you be sure the material you’re using is the right one? Just because you found a textbook with the same name as the CLEP exam or an online course that claims to prepare you doesn’t mean that the material will match the questions on your CLEP test. And that’s what’s so cool about Smarter. We help you pass your exams with confidence with trained instructors, live classes, and up-to-date material.
What’s in it for me?
What could you possibly gain by testing out of college courses? Well, a lot.
You get to save thousands of dollars.
You can test out of boring general ed courses.
You can use the extra time to focus on the subjects you care about.
You get more time for yourself.
You graduate faster.
You can start your career earlier.
You can start earning money sooner.
Less debt = less stress after graduation plus more time during college to focus on the fun stuff.
Go Farther with Smarter
Smarter with Achieve provides a smart way to finish college faster through our credit by exam test prep solutions. Chat with us today. We’ll walk you through the smart way to earn college credits.
As a single parent in college, you face challenges other students can’t imagine. Like them, you have to keep your grades above average, turn in homework on time, and prepare for quizzes, exams, and tests. But besides all of these, you have to cook meals for your kids, take them to daycare, and find enough money to cover the expenses of child support. What’s more? You’re all on your own with these duties and struggles.
Sadly, these difficulties cause a huge percentage of single parents to drop out of college. If you aren’t sleeping enough, don’t have enough time for your kids, and your grades are failing, you might be worried you’ll be the next single parent in college to drop out without earning your degree.
Still, something inside you tells you to keep going. You know earning your degree will change not only your own life, but the lives of your children. You’ll do better financially. You’ll also be able to prove to your kids the importance of persistence when the going gets rough.
So, how can you overcome the common obstacles of being a single parent in college? Read on to find out the roadblocks that can stand in your way as a single parent and how to overcome them.
Three Huge Obstacles You Face as a Single Parent in College
Attending college and being a single parent are two separate things that require you to be tough, dedicated, and persistent. But what if you had to do both at the same time? Naturally, you’ll find yourself face-to-face with roadblocks and challenges. Here are three of them.
1. The Cost of Raising and Caring for Children
College prices are going up. For example, in the past 20 years, in-state tuition at national universities has increased by 221%. To complete just one year of college, you’ll need an average of $10, 230. This figure doesn’t include room and board, books, transportation, and the other expenses you’ll incur as you work your way towards your degree.
Now, imagine these expenses coupled with the costs of caring for children. According to The Atlantic, childcare costs an average of $10,000 per year per child.
2. The Time and Dedication Required to Raise Children
As a college student, your days are busy with attending lectures. At night, you focus on completing your homework and preparing for the next day’s classes. College already takes a huge chunk of your time and thoughts.
Now, what if you’re juggling both the requirements of college and taking care of children? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, parents need an average of 3.9 hours a day to manage the needs of children below six. That leaves less time for sleep, study, and joining extra-curricular activities at school.
The problem gets even bigger when you have to work to support yourself as you pursue your degree. If you’re like 85% of current students, you hold either a part-time or full-time job to help you pay for your college expenses. As a single parent in college, you may have to work even more than the average four hours a day to support your child financially.
With so much time spent on childcare, work, classes, and homework, you have less time for sleep, self-care, and socializing.
If you’re a single parent in college, you’re likely overwhelmed with work, raising your kids, and studying at the same time. Unfortunately, not being able to find a solution will lead to you burning out and dropping out of college.
3. The Difficulty of Dealing with Unexpected Situations
Life happens. When you least expect it, you come face-to-face with challenges and hurdles. For instance, your child can get sick and require you to deal with huge hospital bills. Or you can get sick and suddenly get off-track with your studies, work, and childcare. If you don’t have a strong support system to keep you going, chances are you’ll feel overwhelmed and consider dropping out to end the difficulty of living a demanding life of commitments that feel overwhelming.
The good news is there are ways to overcome the obstacles of being a single parent in college.
1. Government Grants that Provide Childcare for Single Parents in College
If your child has not yet started school, it can be difficult to find someone to care for them while you’re attending classes. The good news is grants like the Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program provides funding for childcare within the campus.
Can you live on campus with a baby? For many colleges, the answer is no. But with on-campus childcare, it’ll be easier for you to manage your schedule and feel assured your child is cared for while you attend classes. Before you enroll in a college, inquire whether your targeted college is supported by a government grant for childcare.
2. Local Grants Offering Housing, Childcare, and Transportation
Depending on where you live, you can inquire after local grants that help single parents in college. For instance, you can find grants supporting colleges for single mothers with housing in Texas. In Minnesota, you can get up to $5,200 for every child below 12 per year. Other local grants help with tuition fees, transportation, and other expenses.
3. Grants and Programs from Colleges
Aside from local and government grants, you can find individual colleges offering support to single parents. The grants often include housing, tuition, and childcare programs.
2. Weigh the Benefits of the Best Online Degree Programs for Single Mothers
If you’re hard-pressed dividing your time between college and your child, getting your degree online may be a good fit for you. Remember, stay away from diploma mills and shady for-profit online schools. Before you choose the best online degree program, do careful and complete research on the college’s background and reputation.
Getting your degree online promises multiple benefits to both you and your child. One of the main advantages is the flexible hours. Also, studying online gives you networking opportunities with students across the globe.
Attending a college near your home comes with its advantages if you’re a single parent. If you’re close to home, you aren’t on your own. College students with families can get help with housework, childcare, and other duties. If you’re determined to complete your course, you can seek help from close friends, neighbors, and other concerned members of your support system.
Without a proper roadmap to help you deal with your hectic schedule, you’ll soon feel overwhelmed with all you have to do. The best thing you can do to avoid this is organize your life carefully. Here are three ways you can do it.
1. Prioritize What’s Important
Life is full of distractions. To stay on course towards graduation, you need to eliminate the aspects that slow you down. Here are the four basic priorities you should choose above everything else: family, work, school, sleep. Feel free to say no to other activities you know will slow you down, drain your energy, or put you off-schedule.
2. Make the Most of Your Study Time
As a parent, you won’t have many hours of free time to study. Because of this, make sure to do the best you can with the time you do have. For instance, learn memorization techniques for faster absorption of lessons. This will lessen your study time while making you a more efficient student.
Interested in learning study techniques that’ll boost your learning abilities? Achieve can help you with a library of resources and helpful hints.
3. Enjoy Study Time with Your Child
If your child is older and is already in school, you can set aside time in the evenings to study together. By making study time an enjoyable family experience, you strengthen your resolve to make it to graduation. Also, scheduling enough time to study becomes easier.
5. Consider Taking Credit-by-Exam
What if there is a way to earn credits without the commitment of a college course? Imagine being able to bypass lectures, final exams, and study sessions for related quizzes and tests? And what if it is more affordable than college courses?
The great news is this solution exists. It’s called credit-by-exam. What is credit-by-exam? It’s a set of exams that allow you to earn college credits across specific course subjects. For instance, there’s UExcel. UExcel allows you to take exams on over 30 subjects. When you pass one exam, you get three credits you can add to help you earn your degree faster.
What’s even better? Credit-by-exam saves you money. For instance, a three-credit exam will only cost you $85. On the other hand, earning three credits by taking a full college course can cost you up to $800.
Before attempting to take credit-by-exam, however, you need to be sure you’re ready. The exams cover broad subjects, so being familiar with how they work is a plus. One thing you can do is get help from Achieve. With Achieve, you can get 1:1 mentoring where you can ask any test-related question. You get practice tests, help with your goals, and a growing library of helpful hints and resources. Achieve is there to help ensure your time isn’t wasted when you take credit-by-exam.
Being a Single Parent in College: How to Overcome the Most Difficult Barriers on the Road to Graduation
As a single parent in college, your cap and gown on graduation day will not come easy. You’ll have to go through barriers that seem impossible to go through. You’ll have to think out of the box, be innovative, and persist to the end.
It’s good to know you’re not alone. When you get stuck along the way, Achieve can help you out of the rut and back on the road towards success.
Smarter with Achieve is a prep course company. We provide services that college students use to prepare for and pass their college course requirements.
We are not a college or school. Our services include, but are not limited to prep courses for Credit by Exam tests, prep courses for entrance and exit exams,
access to our knowledge base of commonly asked questions and answers about core major courses, as well as on-demand tutoring by appointment.
Although colleges and schools may accept credits earned through Credit By Exam, all credits are applied by those colleges and schools per their rules, and not from us.
Access to Solutions
As long as your payments are paid as scheduled, you will have access to purchased Smarter with Achieve services.
The number of prep courses you can take simultaneously will depend on your payment term. The details are outlined in the table below:
Simultaneous Prep Courses
6 months or less
Past due or otherwise unpaid accounts, whether due to declined credit card charges, customer chargebacks of scheduled credit card payments, charges not approved due to max charge limits,
or otherwise, will result in suspended access to Smarter with Achieve services, unless and until the past due charges are paid.
You may NOT share or in any other manner allow any person to use your access to services we provide.
You agree that if you violate this requirement, you will be agreeing to pay the then-applicable monthly payment amount for each person with whom you share or allow to
use your access for each month in which such access was shared or used, and you agree to pay such amount without need for any request or demand for such payment from us.
A failure to pay such amounts will cause your account to be an unpaid account even if all other amounts due have been paid and will result in suspension of your access as
set forth in the preceding paragraph.
Smarter with Achieve will reimburse exam fees of up to $150 once for each completed prep course provided that all terms and conditions below are met. Contact Customer Success for details.
You must have completed at least 85% of all assignments that were assigned by the Instructor for the related prep course.
You attended at least 85% of the scheduled lessons for the related prep course.
You have paid at least $500 toward your plan.
Your plan payments will be automatically paid based on your chosen payment frequency.
Bi-Weekly plans will be paid on the same day every other week.
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Yearly unlimited plans will renew on the same day each year but convert to a monthly payment frequency without the annual payment savings after the first year.
If you would like your renewal to continue being billed annually at the discounted rate, please contact our Customer Success team.
Upgrades and Downgrades
You may upgrade your plan at any time.
You may downgrade your plan once you have paid the balance due for your registered and completed prep courses.
A $99 contract modification fee applies to all downgrades.
You may make a one-time hardship downgrade to temporarily lower your recurring payment. Hardship downgrades are applied with the following schedule and terms:
First 3 months, you will be billed $39 per month and have no access to Smarter with Achieve solutions.
In months 4 through 6, you will be billed 50% of your original recurring payments and given access to one prep course.
In month 7 or any earlier time that you choose, your original recurring payments will restart and provide full access to your prep courses if your account has no balance due.
During the time your account is in hardship downgrade status, you will not be placed in the billing collections process. However, if you do not make your monthly payment as outlined in steps 4a, 4b and 4c, your account will be placed in collections.
Cancelling Your Plan
Within 24 hours of purchase
You may cancel your services for a full refund (does not include Prep Course Plans) if you do so within 24 hours of your purchase. To do so, contact our Customer Success team.
Notwithstanding the above, however, Prep Course Plans are non-refundable.
After 24 hours of purchase
You are committing to register and pay for at least one prep course.
You are agreeing to pay for all prep course(s) of which you have registered for or completed, plus 20% of the remaining balance due for your program. Contact our Customer Success team for the exact amount.
Your remaining balance due is calculated based on the program you have in place at the time of your last completed course.
You may stop future scheduled payments once your payment obligations have been fulfilled. To do so, contact our Customer Success team.
Once you stop future scheduled payments, recurring payments will be turned off within 5 business days.
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