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How to Get College Credit When Planning to Attend College

Updated on July 6, 2013

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Getting College Credit out of College

This artical discusses a variety of ways to obtain College or University credits, without speding the time and money on required to actually take them.

Discussed herein are

  • Taking Advanced Placement Classes while in High School
  • Using CLEP exams to prove mastery over a particular subject

There may be other programs as well, so please list others in the comments section. I greatly enjoy what I learn from readers.

Advanced Placement Classes in High School

Many high schools offer "Advanced Placement" classes, that require the mastery of advanced material in the subject offered. They also may give college credit as reward for doing such rigorous work. Another advantage is priority access to computers, software and lab equipment, which is often in short supply.

According to Wikipedia's Advanced Placement page accessed 5-14-2012:

The Advanced Placement (AP) program is a curriculum in the United States and Canada sponsored by the College Board which offers standardized courses to high school students that are generally recognized to be equivalent to undergraduate courses in college. Participating colleges grant credit to students who obtained high enough scores on the exams to qualify.

This is a wonderful way to gain college credits while still in high school! Always clear this with your high school's counselor, of course. Most Colleges and Universities require classes such as English 101, Calculus 101 and other Freshmen level classes, for which a student already has mastery. Many may accept AP classes from high school, saving substantial amounts of money.

At this moment, let us break for some High School Valedictarian humor:

A Recommendation for Advanced Placement Classes

What CLEP Exams Do

CLEP exams can prove competency over the material taught in the course. Some courses are pass/fail, but most assign a grade to the student taking the exam. This grade is usually not added to a student’s transcript.

The college or university to granting the credit determines pass criteria and credits entirely on their own. Student should determine what CLEP credit from their institution is feasible.

The American Council on Education (ACE) recommends a certain grade and a certain number of semester hours for CLEP credits. A student may be able to choose between schools allowing CLEP credit depending on the area. This can save substantial money.

Most CLEP credits are given assuming a student can make a C- in a class. Still, do not underestimate their difficulty!

What is CLEP

College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests give course credit for courses that students are required to take during the first two years of college education.

Many people have learned such skills on the job, in military service or self study. I personally had to CLEP an English 101 that I had previously taken at the same University, because the institution claimed that the requirements for graduating had escalated over the seven years I had previously been a student there. As I recall, the price was $65 at the time. However, versus $100 per credit hour for three hours, I felt that this was worth the chance, was always well read and did not want to re-take English 101!

CLEP tests usually cover the material covered in one semester. Each higher learning institution has their own policy on what classes can receive CLEP credit which is usually added to the student’s transcript as transfer credit.

Transfer credit does not affect the GPA or grade point average at the new college or university. The advantage of getting a CLEP to waiver a class is that payment is not required for that class.

Amazon Kindle Products for Pre-Study of CLEP

What You Will Need Upon Enrollment

Transcripts from any other educational institution. If from High School, the AP class and assessment of what College/University requirement it fills.

If any other colleges or universities were attended, have those transcripts at the ready.

The results of any CLEP test taken. It only makes sense to check with your school what CLEP credits can be accepted and for how many credit hours, however if you are applying to several schools, see what that school permits.

The education institution has more bearing on how many credits will be transferred to accomplish CLEP credit. Students should check with their advisers beforehand before spending the money on a CLEP exam. A CLEP grade of C- may or may not be sufficient at your school. Try to always check ahead!

Extreme politeness to the person in charge of credit transfers is always a plus! Then you can additionally impress them with your people skills. There may be latitude according to how you impress these decision-makers.

Amazon suggetions for saving on college

Other Resources

See the College Level Examination Board for more details.

Keep on reading my articles as I feel interested in this for awhile (especially when the economy is so bad!).


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    • Laura in Denver profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Deibel 

      6 years ago from Aurora

      There's no harm in asking. Also, you can ask for credit from non-degreed classes or military experience.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I wonder if classes taken 20 years ago will count! (I don't suppose so! Too many years.)

    • Laura in Denver profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Deibel 

      6 years ago from Aurora

      Bella DonnaDonna, I usually avoid politics and religion. But thank you.

      In my case, I earned the English 101, then years later was told the format changed.

      I CLEPped because it would have bored me to death to have to do it again.

      Colleges do have major money grabs going and need to cut back the same way government needs to cut back and quit interfering small business IMHO.

    • Bella DonnaDonna profile image

      Bella DonnaDonna 

      7 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I think it's partially a money grab by colleges short of funding by inept politicians.

    • Laura in Denver profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Deibel 

      7 years ago from Aurora

      Very true. If your have advanced English skills, why take English 101?

      I had an interlude of 7 years between going to the SAME university, and they wanted me to take English 101 again!

      I CLEPped it just fine and saved a bunch of TIME and MONEY.

    • Eloise Hope profile image

      Eloise Hope 

      7 years ago from Portland, Oregon, USA

      Good info for budget-watching times! Every student should be thinking about this; not just for the budget. Skipping a prerequisite can mean fitting a class into your schedule when the lower level course doesn't fit.


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