10 Reasons to CLEP in High School

Students are finding a number of reasons to add CLEP and DSST exams to their high school studies. However, it might feel like you are the only one interested in graduating without debt! Many students are eager to have “the college experience” that so many talk about. Print off this list and ask your students to circle the three that might apply to their educational goals. Then you do the same. This makes for great dinner table conversation.

Several years ago when having this very discussion with my then 7th grade daughter, she viewed college in terms of an exciting lifestyle. She didn’t understand the costs, time commitment, and other opportunities she would not have if she chose a four-year campus experience.

Opportunity Cost – A benefit, profit, or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else. Teach it to your kids!

It was actually fun to brainstorm other options or experiences she could have during her young twenties if she took a more non-traditional approach to earning a degree. Where did this ultimately lead? Fast forward … here are her highlights: She graduated high school and college in the same month. The cost was about the same as what we paid for her braces. In addition to her two degrees (AS in Business and BA in Psychology), she took courses through LifeTime Fitness and received her certification as a Personal Trainer. She worked full-time for two years, stashed away $5,000, and at age 20 (Sept 2015) she headed to New Zealand where she is working/traveling/experiencing life. When her visa expires in Sept 2016, she plans to see and travel through South East Asia.

Here are some ideas you might want to share with your student to start the conversation.

1. The first two years of college are generally a repeat of the same courses you just finished in high school. Minimize the repeat and earn college credit when studying it in high school. “Study it once, study it well, and move on!”

2. Save $$ on a college degree. Credit-by-exam offers students a huge savings. A CLEP or DSST exam worth 3-12 credits costs about $100. Three credits at a college will cost between $400-$3000 depending on their cost per credit. Do the math for what a year of CBE can save.

3. Accelerate your degree. Have other plans besides college after high school? YOU determine the time it takes to earn your degree. Open up other opportunities with the time you save to build a strong resume: internship, study abroad, missions trip.

4. Need to “prove” your academic skills to a selective school? Demonstrate you can achieve college-level work by documenting your CLEP/DSST coursework on your high school transcript.

5. Sharpen your worldview by discussing controversial topics that can be included in social science courses with your parent vs. a secular professor.

6. Need an incentive to do your best in high school? Use CLEP/DSST as a “final exam” worth achieving.

7. Learn the study skills NOW that are essential to being a successful student at college. Don’t wait until you are paying college tuition to find out they need improvement.

8. Still spending 4 years on campus? Pick up a second major, learn a second language, or take classes that just interest you.

9. Study at your own pace, whether that is accelerated, or slower than what is set in a college semester course. Use CLEP/DSST to earn credits while you are working, or involved in an activity that makes the schedule of traditional college classes difficult.

10. Want to start in Spanish 2, or Pre-calc? Pass out of lower level credits and start in a more advanced level course.

** If you have a reason to add, please send me an email. I would love to include it.

Please share this article with friends and introduce them to Credits Before College.


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