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Thursday, June 7, 2007

CLEP for College

Studying for and taking a CLEP test to get college credit is doable for any bright, motivated high school student. Homeschoolers could conceivably build their entire high school curriculum around taking CLEP tests, adding in subjects that are important to know. One can procure an entire college degree through taking
1. CLEP tests
2. DANTES tests
3. Online Courses
4. Classes at the local community college.

All of these can be combined to earn a degree in the amount of time it takes to get a high school education - or less.

Once you have taken enough CLEP tests to be a sophomore in college, universities don't require a high school diploma when a student is enrolling and transferring credits to their school. They do, however, still require an SAT or ACT score.

Here are a few things you should know:

1. Many accredited universities, both prestigious institutions and less prestigious, offer online degrees. A couple don't require any classes to be taken at their school to grant a degree (the entire degree can be earned through CLEP and DANTES if you are willing to get your degree from one of these schools- they are Charter Oaks and Excelsior). Most require a certain amount of credits to be taken through the online classes at their school. Some have an age requirement for their online program. Usually, these programs are called Adult Education and are geared for the adult who didn't complete their degree, has a full time job, but wants to earn their degree from home. They are also sometimes called Degree Completion Programs. Skip any university that requires the student to take any classes AT the school to earn their degree.

2. Be careful about institutions that tell you they are accredited. Stick with the ones that are known universities and the two mentioned above. If you haven't ever heard of the college or university, be careful - there are a lot of scammers out there.

3. If you choose to do CLEP instead of dual enrollment, make sure the university your child wants to attend accepts the particular CLEP tests that your child will take. CLEP tests are not accepted at every school, and not every CLEP test is accepted at every school that accepts CLEPS. The CLEP test has to be evaluated and matched up with a course that the school offers. If the CLEP test does not match up with any course or is not as thorough as the course offered at that school, they will not accept it.

3. It is highly recommended that you either get your child's entire degree through CLEP and online university education. However, if your child does not want to go this route - and desires to get an undergrad degree on campus - but wants to CLEP out of some courses, make certain your child does not CLEP or Dual Enroll subjects that the child wishes to pursue as a career. It's very important that your child enter those classes as freshman and shine as super stars and be leaders to students in their major area of study. For example: If your child is strong in science and plans to study a science field, it will do them a disservice to enter junior or senior level classes as 18 or 19 year olds. They will feel insecure as they struggle to adjust to the classes, lifestyle and college life; they and won't be able to show off their true potential - and may get passed over for special projects with the professor and special assignments. If they enter as freshman, they will be able to really show their true genius. So, if they are going to CLEP only some classes, have them CLEP subjects that won't be important for their career.

There are a lot of homeschoolers going this route to college. What are the benefits and what are the detriments:
Benefits:

1. Many homeschoolers know what they want to do for a career before graduating from high school. Many times these aspirations require a higher degree than a bachelors. Thus, the child can jump start their career by getting the bachelors degree out of the way so they can move on to get into graduate school, law school or medical school. Schools are often impressed with the drive of students who completed their degree at home through self motivation.

2. Sometimes college-life serves as a hindrance to a child's dreams. There are many pitfalls and pot holes that a child can fall into when they go off to college. Most children are not mature enough at 18 or 19 to handle the pressures and partying that electrifies the college campus - the beautiful, uninhibited girls, the fawning boys, the "fun" they are having every night of the week, the stimulating ideas that bespeak tolerance of morally bankrupt ideas, professors who have made it their goal to strip faith in God from "their kids". Yes, college life today is not the same as it was when we were in college. It is a mine field (unless they go to Bryan, Liberty, Bob Jones, Oral Roberts - expensive Christian institutions).

3. Your child can live at home with you while they earn their bachelors degree. In fact, they can live at home while they earn their Masters as well.

4. You will save a lot of money. To complete a four year degree through mostly CLEP, will cost you $4,000 or less. To send your child to college will cost between 4,000 - 30,000 per year.

Detriments:

1. Your child will miss out on interesting opportunities - like internships and specialized classes.
- Actually, your child can get internships without being associated with a particular school.
- Your child can and should enroll in at least one or two college classes before they graduate if they plan to get higher degrees. This is a great time to explore interesting fields and specialized classes.

2. Your child will be at a disadvantage if they do not experience a competitive classroom environment.
- This is true if your child plans to procure a higher degree. The child needs to overcome their insecurity in a classroom of adults and learn the pace of a college level class. Thus, I highly encourage you to enroll your child in a few real life college classes at a local college before they graduate.

3. Your child will not get to participate in clubs, intramurals and other fun college activities.
- For most students, this is not better than earning a degree in the most efficient manner and moving on with adult life. For some, this is important enough to make going off to college a necessary move.

4. Your child will miss the opportunity to work with professors and be chosen as research assistants and learn important things necessary for a prosperous career in the field.
- Though not all fields of study offer this kind of advantage, this can be true for science related fields. If your child will be in certain fields of science or engineering, especially those that specialize in research, this is something to consider. It may be better for your child to go to a college that will offer the specialized training and opportunities they need to succeed in their career.

5. Your daughter will not meet any eligible men to marry if they stay home. Neither will your son meet any eligible girls. - If your child plans to go to graduate school of some sort - they'll likely meet a spouse at that time. If your child doesn't plan to go on to graduate studies - and you live in a small town with a church of 23 people, you might want to consider sending him/her to college to complete their degree. But you could get a lot of it done at home through CLEP and save lots of money.

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