Did you know that you could earn college credits while still in high school? Earning college credits in high school not only helps you graduate faster from college, but it also helps you save money on tuition. More and more high schoolers are opting to earn college credits before even receiving their high school diploma, and there are plenty of options available.
Traditionally, high school students would earn college credits through AP, IB, and dual enrollment courses. All three of these options involve challenging coursework and exams. Not only that, AP, IB, or dual enrollment courses may not be available or feasible for some students, that leaves CLEP as an excellent option for earning college credit before setting foot on a college campus.
What is CLEP?
CLEP, or the College-Level Examination Program, is a Credit-by-Exam test where you show how much you know about an academic subject. CLEP exams usually test core college subjects, such as History, Math, World Languages, and Composition and Literature. You earn college credits by achieving a qualifying score on the tests. Over 3,000 colleges and universities currently accept CLEP test scores, which are administered by the College Board.
The best thing about CLEP is that you don’t have to sit down for an actual class like you would with AP, IB, or dual enrollment classes.
Benefits of CLEP for High Schoolers
You can earn college credits early.
CLEP’s biggest benefit is that you can earn college credits before filling out a single university application or receiving an acceptance letter.
Because CLEP is available at most colleges, you can still attend your college of choice without CLEP exams affecting which school you can attend.
You can shorten your college career.
For example, say you took and passed four (4) CLEP exams during your high school years, and each of those exams counted for three credits. In total, you would have earned 12 college credits, and you would have passed the majority of your first semester classes.
While some students may worry that shortening your time at college would affect the ‘college experience,’ many students have found that CLEP has enriched their experience. Many students have pursued gap years to travel, study abroad, or start an internship with the extra time.
The reality is that very few people will graduate from college in four years. Many students are taking longer to graduate than ever before, and it’s not uncommon for people to spend six years or more completing their undergraduate degree. So, if you can test out of a semester or a year or more from your college career, it’s not a bad idea to consider. You’d be much better off at the end of your studies using CLEP.
You can save a lot of money.
Additionally, the money they saved in the process helped them start careers without a mountain of debt looming over them. How much debt? The average college student owes 30K in student loans by the time they graduate. How much could CLEP save you? CLEP exams typically cost between $80 – $100 each, while the average 3-credit college course costs more than $1,700.
Using our earlier example of taking and passing four (4) CLEP tests, with each test at $80 apiece, you can expect to spend about $320. The same four courses attending a regular college class would cost you around $6,800. Doing the math, that’s $6,480 in savings! But the savings don’t have to stop here. You can always take more CLEP tests, earn more credits, and save even more money on college.
You will appear more college-ready.
Getting into college is tough. If your dream school is very competitive, every SAT or ACT score, grade, and extracurricular activity counts. You’ll stand out as an applicant with CLEP credits. CLEP helps you boost your application beyond high school accomplishments and shows that you’re prepared for college. You devoting time to taking and passing CLEP exams shows university admissions that you’re dedicated to your education can handle challenges and that you work hard to achieve your academic goals.
Getting started with CLEP
How can you get started with CLEP credits while still in high school? Make sure you cover these two key factors.
- Be sure that the college you’re attending accepts CLEP exams for the courses you plan to CLEP. Some colleges require that you take some science courses in a traditional class.
- Be prepared to pass your CLEP exam on the first try using Smarter with Achieve for Credit-by-Exam prep. Our test prep offers live online instruction from experienced teachers. Plus, you can attend courses from the comfort of your home.
Smarter with Achieve can help.
High school is full of obligations, from extracurricular activities to academic classes and social obligations. Give yourself a headstart for college by testing out of courses using Credit-by-Exam. Smarter with Achieve helps you CLEP out of college courses before setting foot at a university. Attend our prep courses and start earning college credits in as little as four weeks! See how we can help. Chat with an Advisor today!