Did you know that college costs an average of $20,000 each year? If your teen is looking at four years of college, they’re looking to put themselves (and maybe you) in at least $80,000 in debt.
Now let’s say your teen has saved money like a miser through high school to help pay for college and he wins a couple scholarships to boot. So his debt is around $70,000. Even if he makes a $300 payment each month toward his college loans, he’s looking at nearly 20 years of payments! And no, that doesn’t including interest. . .
Makes you blink a few times doesn’t it!
Did you know that the first two years of a 4-year college are pretty much a repeat of the last four years of high school? Why pay $20,000 a year to repeat it? Today (and in the next several posts) we’re going to chat about ways your teen can earn high school credits and college credits at the same time – and drastically cut their college costs while they’re at it.
Earning College Credits by Examination
Earning credits by examination (CBE) means your student earns college credits off campus. That means they have one foot in the door before they even graduate from high school. One of the ways to do this is through CLEP.
CLEP Tests (College Level Examination Program)
CLEP tests evaluate a student’s understanding of college level work. These tests generally cover material you’d take in your first two years of college (generals) which is basically a repeat of your four years of high school.
Passing a CLEP test can earn you college credit AND high school credit at the same time. For example, if you study and pass a CLEP test on History of the United States I – you’re done with that high school class for the year!
Killing two birds with one stone just took on a whole new meaning!
Developed by the College Board, the people behind AP and SAT, the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) has been the most widely trusted credit-by-examination program for over 40 years, accepted by 2,900 colleges and universities and administered in over 1,800 test centers.
If you’re a student interesting in CLEP tests, follow these easy steps:
Step 1: Check with your college of choice. Each college sets its own CLEP policy which means it decides which tests it will accept, the passing grade required, and the credits you can earn from it.
Some colleges limit how many credits you can earn through CLEP and only grant credit to their enrolled students. Since it varies from school to school, please take the time to research the colleges of your choice.
More questions to ask your college:
1.) Does the college require that you “validate” your CLEP score by successfully completing a more advanced course in the subject?
2.) Does the college require the optional free-response (essay) section for the examinations in Composition and Literature as well as the multiple-choice portion of the CLEP exam you’re considering?
3.) Will you be required to pass a departmental test such as an essay, laboratory, or oral exam in addition to the CLEP multiple-choice exam?
To find Course Equivalency (which college class a CLEP test can be used in place of) for any college go to:
>choose equivalencies by school
>Step 1: select “state” and “school”
>Step 2: select “state” click on “Standardized Examinations”
>checkmark CLEP first and then click “add schools”
>click “create guide”
>on the CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) side click “all”
open a new tab on your computer and go to your college’s website
>look for or do a search for “academic catalog”
>look for and click on TC (Transfer Curriculum)
Step 2: Look over the 33 CLEP tests and decided which tests you want to take – keeping in mind Step #1.
- Amazon.com – CLEP Official Study Guide
- Credits Before College.com >Resources & Links >Quality Practice Exams >Study Skills (outlining)
- Homeschool College USA
- Clep Prep – specifically for homeschoolers
- Petersons.com – $20 per test
- InstantCert.com – online CLEP flashcard website – $20/mth (has good Specific Feedback Forum to chat with others)
Although a passing test score is generally around 50%, Cheri Frame from Credits Before High School suggests students scoring at least 58% on two consecutive practice tests before taking the test at a test center.
Step 5: Register for the CLEP tests online. You can test year-round and there is no age requirement for taking a CLEP test, some students start taking tests in junior high!
- Create an account at College Board and you can schedule CLEP tests 24/7, search for test centers, and purchase study materials if needed.
- Register and pay for the test you’d like to take. You’ll receive a payment receipt and ticket ID.
- Once you’ve registered for a test, contact the test center you chose to schedule a day and time to take the test. (Days and times may be subject to college policy.)
Step 6: Take the test when scheduled. CLEP tests are administered on a computer and take about 90 minutes to answer the multiple choice questions. You receive one point for each correct answer. Points aren’t deducted for wrong or skipped answers so it’s strongly suggested to give an answer for each problem.
You will need:
- your registrations ticket
- any paperwork required by the testing center
- No. 2 pencils
- two valid photo IDs (more info below)?
- no calculators allowed, there are calculators built in to the computer software
Step 7: Wait for Your Scores
Your scores are reported instantly (except for essays which take 3-4 weeks). You can see what your scores mean, and decide if you want to send the scores on to a college or retake the test.
- Wait at least 6 months before retaking a test or you may not be given credit for it.
Most institutions require a test score of 50 to earn anywhere from 3-12 credits per test, but that can vary per institution policy.
Step 8: Send Scores to Colleges
Once you get your scores, you’re able to send one score report free of charge to the college you designated when you registered. You can also leave that part blank if you’re undecided when you register.
You can request your CLEP scores by filling out a CLEP transcript ($20 fee per transcript). All scores are included on the transcript and kept for 20 years.
CLEP Contact Information
Toll Free: 800-257-9558 (8 a.m. to 6 p.m., ET, Monday-Friday)
You have two choices:
1.) Your teen must visit your local DVS branch office in person to apply for a state ID card. There’s no appointment needed, but they may have to wait in line. (Students under 18 will need their parent or guardian’s signature on the application.)
Information student’s will need:
- primary identification with full name and date of birth (i.e. birth certificate, U.S. passport book or card, Certificate of Birth Abroad (FS-545 or DS-1350) issued by the U.S. Department of State)
- secondary identification (i.e. above document, U.S. state-issued driver’s license with photo, non-metal U.S. Social Security card)
- their Social Security number
- payment for the application fee (cost is under $20)
2.) Print out this student ID form, affix a picture to it, and have notary sign it.
Homeschooling in High School Series:
Part 1: Grading & Planning
Part 2: Explaining High School Credits
Part 3: Defining Fine Arts, Electives & Extra Curricular Activities
Part 4: How to Prepare A High School Transcript
Part 5: High School Testing
Part 6: Earn Credits with CLEP
Part 7: Earn Credits with DSST/DANTES
Part 8: Earn Credits with Advanced Placement (AP)
Part 9: Earn Credits with PSEO + HSLDA Transcript Service Giveaway! (coming soon!)