Fast-forward to a college degree

Published 8:53 pm Wednesday, July 22, 2009

As the cost of college tuition continues to rise, many students find themselves digging deep into debt, while others simply refrain from enrolling at all.

One way to solve this dilemma can be found in College Level Examination Program tests. CLEP tests offer students a way to acquire college credit for up to 34 courses through 90-minute multiple-choice exams at local testing centers.

Each CLEP exam is designed to test for basic proficiency in a chosen subject equivalent to that which would be delivered in a college classroom setting. For example, should a student attempt to CLEP a general education requirement in history, she could choose from several 3- or 6-credit pass/fail examinations. Upon receiving a passing score, the student would receive full credit as if she had taken an entire course.

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In some cases, it’s possible to CLEP the entire first two years of college. With the cost of each exam at $72, fulfilling the general education requirements for college couldn’t be made cheaper. Students can choose from college English to math, from Spanish to biology, and more.

Aside from the potential savings CLEP exams offer, they also allow students to study at their own pace, on their own time, and from home. Preparing for CLEP exams couldn’t be cheaper too; official study guides can be checked out from most local libraries or ordered online for around $10.

Although each CLEP exam is fully accredited, students should check with their current or prospective school’s guidelines regarding the transfer of CLEP-acquired credit. It is imperative that any students attempting to gain college credit through CLEP examinations contact their college advisor before attempting an exam to ensure their school will grant them full credit.

Additionally, some schools limit the amount of credit a student can earn through CLEP examinations. All of the colleges/universities in the Hampton Roads area accept CLEP exams for credit; however, students should check with their advisor directly to find out exactly how a given CLEP exam will apply towards their general education requirements. For instance, the CLEP College Mathematics exam translates to Math 101M at Old Dominion University.

The introductory courses required by colleges and universities often prove to be a repeat of a student’s junior/senior years in high school. CLEP tests offer those who utilize their educational opportunities in secondary school to breeze through these freshmen courses, saving themselves considerable amounts of time and money in tuition costs.

Finally, there is no age restriction for CLEP examinees. Students as young as 14 years of age have been successful at conquering these exams and getting a head start on college!

To find out more about CLEP exams, a simple Internet search will yield an abundance of additional information, but for specific information students should contact their school directly.