Posted in CLEP, Credit by Exam

6 Credit CLEPs

There are 33 CLEP exams.  Most of them are worth 3 college credits, but did you know that 9 of them are worth 6 or more college credits! 

6 credit CLEP exams

College Composition (essay required)
College Mathematics
French Language (up to 9 credits)
German Language (up to 9 credits)
Spanish Language (up to 9 credits)
Social Sciences & History
Biology
Chemistry
Natural Sciences

Benefits of 6 credit exams

  • One advantage of taking a 6 credit exam is that it costs the same as a 3 credit exam.  All CLEP exams, no matter their credit worth, are the same fee.  ($85 effective July 1, 2017)
  • Your budget goes farther.  If you allocate $200 per year of high school for college credit earned, students who selected 6 credit exams will have 54 credits, while students who selected 3 credit exams will have 27 credits.
  • 6 credit exams are worth larger tuition saving.  If your target college charges $350 per credit, each 6 credit exam your teen passes saves you $2,100.
  • 6 credit exams allow you to “max out” on CLEP credit more quickly.  If your target college allows up to 30 CLEP credits, you can accomplish that using only 5 exams vs using 10 of the 3 credit exams.
  • 6 credit exams equate to 1 year of a course, so you have more than 1 year of a subject to complete, you can enter at level 2 (Foreign language is a good example).

    testing

6 credit exams cover more content

6 credit exams cover 1 year of a subject (3 credit exams cover 1 semester) so there is more content to study, but for those students working at the college-prep high school level (as opposed to general or remedial) you’ll find your high school text covers the same content to a lesser degree.

While I don’t want to suggest specific curriculum companies, I do want to use a couple examples that help you understand “how hard” an exam might be, or the scope of it.

Rosetta Stone Spanish (Levels 1 and 2) —> Spanish CLEP exam

Apologia Biology followed by Advanced Biology —> Biology CLEP exam

Saxon Algebra 2 & Khan Academy Probability —> College Math CLEP exam


Not all colleges award 6 credits

Despite these exams covering more content and being ACE evaluated for 6 credits, some colleges still only award 3 credits (of course, some may award none!) It’s your call, but if my teen accumulated 1/2 of a bachelor’s degree in high school by taking CLEP exams, we’d be really motivated to choose the college that awarded him credit for his work.   


Before attempting a 6 credit exam, be sure your student:

  • has an advanced understanding of the basics and a basic understanding of the advanced.
  • has experience reading college level material (usually through textbooks).  Some students find the wording of a CLEP question a little tricky.  They tend to ask a lot of negative questions such as “which one of the following would not be the…..”
  • has taken no fewer than 2 practice tests.   Sources of practice tests include:
    • CLEP Official Guide (1 paper practice test with answer key)
    • REA CLEP (2-3 practice paper / online tests with explanations)
    • FreeCLEPprep.com (1 online practice test with answer key for some exams)
  • Peterson’s  (3 online timed practice tests with instant grading)

    It is my opinion that you’ll need to score 60% -70% on at least 2 TIMED practice tests (3 tests would be better) before attempting the real exam. Never use the same test twice- it won’t be a true score.  Practice tests will not have the actual questions but are representative of the kinds of questions you can expect.


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Insider Tip:  many 6 credit exams overlap each other

Experienced college credit test-takers will tell you to get the maximum return on investment (brain investment, that is) you should study for exams that share or overlap content, and then take both exams.  Many of the 6 credit exams lend themselves to this technique, which I’ll share below.

SCIENCE  

Take high school chemistry and high school physics before college-level biology (CLEP). Follow the CLEP Biology test with CLEP Natural Sciences.  The Natural Sciences exam is 50% biology!  The other half includes some essential chemistry and physics that you already covered in high school.

MATH

If your teen is studying for or has passed College Algebra, go back and pick up College Math too.  Even if it’s not the math they need for their degree, it will probably land as a general education elective.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

If your teen passes one of the foreign language exams with a high enough score, she’ll likely walk away with 9 credits instead of 6!  (cut scores vary by college).  In addition, if your teen earns foreign language credit early enough, or has a knack for languages, there may be time for a second language!  If you’re very sure your teen can master one or more foreign languages in high school, take a moment to read my post about Foreign Language for College Credit

SOCIAL SCIENCE & HISTORY

In the Social Sciences and History exam, it’s really a combo of history, economics, and government.  This exam is a mile wide and an inch deep, so it’s a challenging exam to study for.  Rather than study for this exam directly, my suggestion is to use it after your teen has already taken some or all of these other subjects.  Completing these other exams first will all but assure a solid passing score on Social Science and History with little to no test prep.  NOTE:  this plan below yields 3-4 high school credits and 27 college credits.

YEAR 1

(1) United States History —> CLEP United States History 1 & 2

(2) American Government —> CLEP American Government

YEAR 2

(1)  Western Civilization —> CLEP Western Civ 1 & 2

(2)  Economics —> CLEP Macroeconomics and CLEP Microeconomics

CLEP Social Science and History exam


Downgraded Exams

If you’ve used CLEP in the past with other teens, you may notice a few exams “missing” from the 6 credit list!!  It’s true, in 2015, the following exams were “downgraded” from 6 to 3 credits.

If you happen to have taken one of these exams while it was worth 6 credits, it’s still worth 6 credits for you.  Exam values are determined by the date you took it, not the date you use it. But, for students who take it now, expect 3 credits unless your college awards a different amount.  (Thomas Edison State College still awards 6 credits for all of these)

Humanities  (worth 3 credits now, worth 6 credits before 3/1/2015)

American Literature (worth 3 credits now, worth 6 credits before 3/1/2015)

English Literature (worth 3 credits now, worth 6 credits before 3/1/2015)

Analyzing and Interpreting Literature (worth 3 credits now, 6 credits before 3/1/2015)

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Posted in Uncategorized

HELP! My high school graduate doesn’t want to go to college.

If your teen graduated this month without a plan for college, and you’re probably feeling EXCEPTIONAL pressure, especially on Facebook. (you know, where “everyone’s” kids are all starting at fussy universities this fall).  I want to tell you something that’s really important but rarely talked about.

Getting into college isn’t nearly as hard as getting out.

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The journey between high school graduation and college graduation.

That’s worth saying again:  Getting into college isn’t nearly as hard as getting out (with a degree).  Trust me, getting out is the better goal, but soon the buzz will die down, and you won’t hear about the struggles some teens are having, the financial challenges the parents are facing, or the worst possible scenario, their teen dropping out.

In other words, it’s intimidating when “everyone” around you starts college, but that’s only because there is a pervasive myth that tells parents “get your kid into college, and all is well in the world. Your job is done!”

Not so fast.  That’s bunk.

Simply, there is a huge journey between high school graduation and college graduation. It’s filled with pitfalls, redirection, and a lot of debt.   Unless your teen is very motivated, he likely wouldn’t have been successful today had you pushed him forward. That doesn’t mean he won’t be up for it next semester,  next year, in 3 years, or in 5.  But every college graduate will tell you that it was their internal motivation that drove them to complete their degree, not the internal motivation of their parents!  I realize all of this is very uncomfortable to talk about, but I hope you’ll explore with me how we can make your situation work out for the best.  (Did she just suggest I back off?  Maybe a little.)


Everyone is not a college graduate

The National Center for Education Statistics keeps track of all education data on all people (not a small sample of people, all people – this is the real deal!)  I like using data when I’m wrestling a problem because my emotional side and my logical side are sometimes at odds with each other!  Data helps me reel in some of my emotions, and look at a problem logically.   I’ve turned to the latest Educational Attainment Data (2017) and the latest College Enrollment of High School Graduates (2017) to discuss the challenge of “getting out” of college.  Why?  Because many parents may interpret their teen’s lack of motivation today as their own failure. (let’s face it, as homeschoolers, a lot of people are watching our kids and how they turn out – I get that, it’s a real pressure.)

Their data reflects young adults aged 25-29.  I want to walk you through a set of information that I hope you won’t skim past:

  • The percentage who graduated high school or GED:  92%
    • This is important to note because if your teen didn’t graduate high school, they would truly be in the minority of their peers.  In 2015, the graduation rate was only 88%, so as you can see, it’s trending up!  As a high school graduate, they are eligible to apply for college, apprenticeship, military, or begin work.  This accomplishment may not be your endgame, but it is still significant for their success as an adult moving forward.  Count this as a win.
  • The percentage who earned a bachelor’s degree:  35%
    • I bet you thought it was higher.  35% is up from last year!  Last year, it was only 28%.  So, roughly a third have earned a bachelor’s degree.  This is certainly not the majority by a long shot.  In fact, bachelor’s degree holders represent a minority in the United States.  (Master’s degree holders are in an elite club – only 9% of Americans have one!)
  • The percentage of high school students that graduated high school and went directly to college:  69.9%
    • Yep!  You read that right, 70% of high school graduates headed directly to college, but only 35% of those between the ages of 25 and 29 hold a bachelor’s degree.  Let’s build a diagram of how that looks using real students.

2017 educational attainment

 

Now, I know you still want your teen to land in the green “35 graduate college” box, but before we go there, I want to share a bit more data and then we’ll build a real plan.

False starts are expensive

Student loan borrowing data tells us that 94% of those that enter college borrowed money.  The general allowances and caps on government borrowing tell us that a student at year 2 in college has borrowed about $12,000. (I’m being super generalized at this point, and I’m not counting any money the parents borrowed).

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So, while your teen hasn’t started college yet, at least they aren’t among the 33 that started, borrowed, and then dropped out.  That group will have a $125 per month payment for 10 years to repay their loan.  Those students are facing the same uncertainty as the group that didn’t start college – but the difference is that they are doing so with a debt burden on their shoulders.

From statistics and data, we know that student loan debt can be crushing, especially when the student expected to land a high paying job after college graduation, and instead finds themselves without their degree and a monthly debt to repay.


Tip #1  If your teen isn’t the driving force behind going away to college, stay home, pay cash, and don’t leave a paper trail.

Sometimes teens need a push.  Mine have too.  But remember, internal motivation is what drives a teen to complete their degree, so the ultimate win is getting them fired up about building their own plan.  If your teen isn’t the driving force, their potential for finishing a degree away from home is very low.  It is my recommendation that you should still push (a little) but do so in a way that doesn’t create a long-term debt or leave a trail.

A paper trail is a college transcript with 1-2 semesters of mediocre grades followed by a series of “W” and “F” grades.  That is the #1 most common way students leave college when they drop out.   You can avoid this by keeping their work off of a transcript (for now).

ADULT EDUCATION.  The best kind of college classes that are cheap and don’t leave a trail are called “Adult Education” or “Continuing Education” and found at your local community college.  While some of these courses can lead to a license, certification, or credential – that’s not really the point.  The point is for them to get into a classroom where they’ll learn something they’re interested in.  Adult Education courses aren’t graded, and they aren’t part of a financial aid program.  Failure in these courses is inconsequential, there are no grades and no debt.  You simply drop the class.  Future college applications that ask for “all transcripts and grades” does not include Adult Education.

As an example, my local community college offers EMT training as part if a degree program and through the Adult Education program.  Through the degree program, the student must apply, take a placement exam, take pre-EMT courses, earn credits, and earn grades.  A permanent record is created, and the student can use financial aid to pay for the courses.  Through our Adult Education program, a student simply enrolls directly in the EMT course, pays $180 and attends.  Whether the student passes or fails, no grade is recorded.  (no college credit is earned)

Lastly, Adult Education programs exist to meet the needs of adults – so you’ll see a robust blend of personal enrichment (cooking, Spanish, fitness) as well as career growth and development programs (Excel, PhotoShop, Real Estate, Cosmetology, Photography, etc.) that allow a life-work balance.  Adult Ed classes usually just meet one or two nights a week or on weekends, allowing plenty of time for full-time employment.


 Tip #2  Your teen should start full-time employment immediately, and do it at a company that offers tuition benefits.

Full-time work is not a punishment, it’s what adults do!  There is a LOT to be gained from immediate full-time employment.  For some teens, they just need a break from school, so working gives them an opportunity to mature, develop autonomy, and learn about being an adult.  In addition, when a teen works for a company with tuition benefits, they’re tapping into a resource that could pay for their entire degree.  Often an employer that pays tuition expects passing grades.  For the teen that is a good employee and tries hard at work, this outside pressure (from the “real world”) may be enough of an encouragement to work that much harder in school.

I’ve written 2 posts you’ll want to check out if this is the path you’re considering.  I’ve listed 100 employers that should make up your teen’s list of potential employers.

100 Employer / Employee Scholarships

Working During College: Yes or No?


Tip #3  Revisit Homeschooling for College Credit suggestions

You may not realize this, but the credit earning strategies we explore here are applicable to high school graduates too!   If you’ve been a member here for a while, it’s possible that your teen already has some college credit – maybe it was a dual enrollment course, a few CLEP exams, or a Straighterline class.  No matter what they did, if they have even 1 college credit, they’re not behind!  Here is the traditional credit progress schedule:

High School:  0 college credits

Freshman in college:  completes 0-30 college credits (10 classes)

Sophomore in college: completes 31-60 college credits (10 classes)

Junior in college: completes 61-90 college credits (10 classes)

Senior in college:  completes 91-120 college credits (10 classes)

 For those students who aren’t on the competitive admissions track to a prestigious college, or who aren’t pursuing a hands-on trade, it’s easy enough for your student to work full time (see tip #2) and earn credit at home using one of the vendors talked about here.  Read through the tabs above, but I’ll give my personal recommendation for Straighterline BECAUSE they have partnership agreements with colleges that are guaranteed to accept credit, you don’t have to disclose passes/failures, they can be done 100% at home, you can do all general education courses (AA degree) through them, and they frequently have coupons.  (see tip #1).  Furthermore, working on one class at a time, a full time working teen can still complete 1-2 classes per month.  At that rate, your teen is not merely doing, but they are beating the traditional pace of college.

Credit earned non-traditionally through Straighterline, Sophia, CLEP, DSST, ALEKS, Study.com, and others are all valid for 20 years.

College credit earned this way does NOT leave a paper trail.  This kind of credit consists of pass/fail scores.  Failed exams/classes don’t appear on an ACE transcript. 


Tip #4  Make an action plan

Now I’m the one that’s uncomfortable because this tip can cross a little into the “parenting” category, and I’m NOT in the business of telling people how to parent!  Still, making an action plan is a good way to set financial expectations and live at home boundaries for your teen as they navigate into adulthood.  Our second son just graduated high school and is earning his degree as a distance learner, so even though he’s “in college” we still have a very clear action plan for him that covers the next 2 years. Since we expect our children to eventually move out, our action plan always has that in mind.

Action plans include specific tasks either agreed upon by the family or dictated by the parent.  Action plans should have clear and reasonable schedules and goals for everyone. Examples may look something like this:

You have _______ months of working full time before you have to either enroll full time at college, enlist in the military, join the Peace Corps, leave on a mission, start the apprenticeship program, or move into your own apartment.  

While you’re working full time and still living at home, our financial expectation of you is __________________.

We will pay for classes at ____________ as long as you _____________. 

In _____ months, we’ll revisit your goals and decide what to do at that point. 


work

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Will it transfer? That’s the wrong question.

I’m sure you’ve heard stories about students whose credit didn’t transfer for some reason or another. We’re going to look at “some reason or another” in this post!

road closed

This post is for parents worried about earning college credit while their teen is in high school.  If your teen is already out of high school and enrolled in college somewhere, planning transfer is easy:  call your college advisor.  They’ll tell you, and help you plan.

For high school parents, I know you want to ask “Will it transfer?” The problem is that for high school planning that’s the wrong question.  A high school student is years away from enrollment, thus it is impossible to “lock” your teen into a college policy in advance of them being a college student! In short, you can’t get any promises from a college until after your teen has enrolled at the college.  Once they are enrolled, they’re “locked” into that college’s academic catalog, and you can make decisions within that catalog’s policies.

Homeschooled high school students are earning college credit 2, 3, 4, or more years before it intends to be used!  This means you have to know how to spot the issues that derail successful transfer and avoid them with your teen.

Planning for future college admissions isn’t as hard when you think like a college employee instead of thinking like a homeschool parent!

Colleges differ widely in their acceptance of credit, but they’re predictably and boringly similar in how they disqualify credit from being transferred. The best question you must ask and the right approach to use as plan your teen’s homeschool for college credit journey is:

“Will this class be disqualified from transfer?”

By knowing and then avoiding classes that are commonly disqualified, you improve the likelihood of successful transfer a zillion-fold.  (Maybe not a zillion-fold, but a lot!)  I’m not going to tell you which courses are disqualifiable, I’m going to teach you how to assess this yourself and your family!

Use these 6 tests to see if the course is a good risk or a poor risk. If you can answer “yes” to each, you’re probably going to have a successful transfer. If you hit a “no” anywhere on this list…disqualification is likely.


1. Is the class offered through a university or college? If yes, proceed to #2.

WHY? Many businesses offer classes “for college credit,” through partnerships with specific colleges and the American Council of Education (ACE). Examples of these businesses include Straighterline, ALEKS, CollegePlus, Lumerit, Sophia, Coursera, Study.com, etc. If you’re not planning to attend a college on that business’ partnership list, stop now. These courses rarely, if ever, transfer elsewhere.


2. Is the university or college regionally accredited? If yes, proceed to #3.

WHY? Colleges that are NOT regionally accredited (RA) almost never transfer into colleges that ARE regionally accredited. Public community colleges and universities ARE always regionally accredited, so the likelihood that they’d accept an NON-RA credit in transfer is tiny. Non RA colleges can be legitimate schools with different accreditation, but strictly in the question of future transfer, only choose RA courses in high school. Check accreditation for any college here:  U.S. Department of Accreditation Database  If you find that the college is not regionally accredited, stop now.


3. Can regular college students pay for this course using federal financial aid? If yes, proceed to #4.

WHY? Though you won’t be using financial aid with your high school student, courses that don’t qualify for financial aid are probably professional development or continuing education programs, which almost never transfer. Dig deeper.  If the course doesn’t qualify, my advice is to stop now.  


4. Locate the name of the department offering the course. Is this course part of a degree program that leads to an award with the letters AA, BA, AS, or BS? If yes, proceed to #5.

WHY?  Those degrees/awards contain courses intended for transfer, specifically general education courses.  If this course is not part of a degree program, or it is part of a credential with a different name like Certificate, Diploma, Associate of Applied Science, Associate Occupational Science, or any degree with the word “Technology” in the title, transfer is unlikely.  The course you’re considering is possibly for career training, not college transfer.  If your teen’s ultimate goal is an Associate of Applied Science degree from the school you’re considering for dual enrollment, you’re probably ok.  If a transfer is planned, either into a different Associate of Applied Science degree program or a 4-year school, stop now. 


5. Is the course’s alpha-numerical 100 or higher? For instance, the number in ENG101 is 101.  ENG101 has an alpha-numeric higher than 100. If yes, proceed to #6.

WHY? The majority of colleges use 100-400 numbers to indicate level. Courses under 100 level (085, 060, etc.) are possibly “developmental” and not eligible for college credit. If the college uses this system, and the course is not at least 100 level, stop now.  A handful of colleges have their own system that looks nothing like this one.  If that’s the case, call and ask.  

100 and 200 are freshman/sophomore lower level. 300 and 400 are junior / senior upper level.  Community college courses generally have a good selection of remedial (under 100) courses but do not go higher than 200. Universities don’t always offer courses under 100-level, but can offer courses all the way through 600 (masters/doctorate).  


6. Does this course appear in the college’s list of approved general education courses?

If yes, congratulations! You’re as close to a sure thing as you can get. You’ve passed the test of 6 key dis-qualifiers.

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What now?  Proceed!   You’re as solid as you can be at this point.  I do have one final warning to those of you with very young teens who are taking college courses very early. Occasionally, some colleges (NOT the majority) will put “expiration dates” on hard sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, etc.) and technology (computer science, etc.).  It’s unlikely that you already have your teen’s target college selected at this point, so best bet is to choose non-science and technology courses now (English, social science, humanities, math) and wait for the 11th grade to take the hard sciences or computer courses.

 

Posted in Curriculum, High School

Say YES to Home Economics

If you don’t know, I’m a trained chef by profession.  I went to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York right out of high school and worked as a chef for many years before I got married and started a family.   I LOVE all things food.   As you can imagine, Home Economics in 7th grade was a big influence on me – it was the first time my passing interest was put in an academic context.

We learned about the cookies we made, and we learned about how to make them better for next time.  I was shown how to crack an egg and peel a potato, and I was allowed to use a knife and the oven.  (I grew up in a home without an oven, strange but true, so this was HUGE!)  I was hooked.  I happen to also love the rest of it:  budgeting, sewing, childcare, etc.

Home Economics (rebranded as Consumer Sciences) has fallen from school curriculum in favor of STEM and fights against the band, choir, and art for a school’s limited resources.  In our measurement-obsessed society, schools have little enthusiasm for subjects that don’t prep kids for standardized exams.  Let me say up front, that there aren’t any college credit options for high school home economics, and unless you’re going to major in home economics (excuse me, consumer sciences) you won’t find many college classes either.  It’s a shame, really.   Home Economics, in my opinion, is an acquired skill.   I didn’t always manage my home as well as I do today but know plenty of adults who must have missed home economics altogether.

I think FUN is to blame.  If a curriculum is too fun or too inviting, gets in the way of important things, like transcripts, college admission, and test prep.

Real home economics teaches basic life skills that will carry a person through their entire life, but they also expose our teens to activities that may not have come up with their activities of daily living.  I realize making a batch of muffins and sewing a placemat don’t feel as important as more time in World History, but I don’t think it’s an “either-or” position, I think it’s an “and” position.  I think World History is important, and, I think home economics is important.

Poor home economics.  I don’t define a home economics credit as making frozen pizza and volunteering in the church nursery.    Those are valuable experiences, but let’s get into the heart of home economics.   Did it take you years to learn how to live on a budget (are you still learning?).  Do you have to eat out a lot or buy convenience foods because you never learned to cook from scratch?  Do you throw a shirt away because it’s missing a button or become stained?  These small skills pay off in a small way once you live in a dorm, a little more when you’re in your first apartment, and a lot once you’ve started a family.  These skills pay off immeasurably if you’re going to be a homeschooling family living on one income for 20 years.

What is home economics?  Many will answer “life skills” and that’s not untrue, but to me, there is a difference between being able to keep your family alive and being a skilled home economist!  In my opinion, home economics are a deliberate attempt to learn and then master skills of the home.  I realize that some of the skills will fall into the category of “feminine” and may not appeal to your sons,  but that’s ok, we all have had to learn things that aren’t our favorite.  There may be many independent years where your son will thank you for teaching him to cook and do his laundry.

What’s covered in a basic Home Economics course?

It varies by curriculum designer, but in general, the more of this the better:

Finances and Budgeting (income, expenses, saving, credit, budgeting)

Household Care (interior cleaning, laundry, repairs)

Automobile Care (routine maintenance, pumping gas)

Basic Sewing and Mending (Fix a button, patch a hole)

Shopping and Storage of Food (refrigerated, frozen, and non-perishable)

Basic Lawn and Garden (Mowing, weeding, planting, pest control)

Basic Home Furnishings (selecting furniture, painting a room, hanging curtains)

Safety (CPR, First Aid, child-proofing, personal protection, over the counter medication)

Child Care (feeding, changing diapers, supervising, nurturing)

Organizing (a place for everything, everything in its place)

Entertaining (special cooking or baking, decorating, guest lists, etiquette)


Parent Mentoring

I think homeschool parents have an advantage when it comes to teaching and modeling good home economics.  Why?  Because we’re always teaching our children!  It doesn’t start or stop with the clock.  So while it’s common sense to teach these skills to our teens, I like to be a little more diligent about it by making a list of “must know” and tackling it with my husband.  A list is good because if you have many children like I do, it helps you remember who knows what and who doesn’t.  It also helps you really consider the skills familyyou’d like your teens to take with them when they leave home.  My kids watched a lot of lawn mowing before they were allowed to do it themselves, and many years of practice before they were “good” at it.  Many skills lend themselves beautifully to parent mentoring, but you may also want to use a formal curriculum or course.


When I started looking for a formal home economics curriculum, I was pretty disappointed.  My go-to and favorite review site Cathy Duffy Reviews doesn’t have a section for home economics, but I’ve done my own homework.  In addition to these high school programs, I’m going to list a few more “grown-up” options that are fantastic.  For example, I love the ServSafe Food Handler course!  In addition to it providing a real career credential they can add to their resume, your teen will learn a ton about basic kitchen sanitation – something everyone should know.   If you have a favorite to add, I’d love to know about it!


High School Textbook-based

Alpha Omega Home Economics Lifepac (10 workbook course – Christian)

Christian Light Publications (10 workbook course – Christian, for females only)

Landmark’s Freedom Baptist (1 book – Christian, for females only)

Abeka Family and Consumer Sciences (1 book – Christian, cooking only)

McGraw-Hill Catalog (over 200 books to choose from- Secular)

Foundations in Personal Finance, Dave Ramsey, (Christian/ Secular)

Online Learning

Home Economics Kitchen Skills, free online course, Plain and Not So Plain (Christian)

Household and Personal Management, free online course, Plain and Not So (Christian)

Foundations in Personal Finance, Dave Ramsey, (Christian / Secular)

ServSafe Food Handling Certification $15 food safety course includes certification.

Alison Diplomas, free open courses in Childcare, Caregiving, Nutrition, and many others. Can be taken individually or for a diploma.  These are not for college credit.  (Secular)

Life Skills for Young Men, Plain and Not So Plain (Christian)

 

 

Posted in College Majors, Distance Learning, engineering, Science

Member question: Can my daughter study mechanical engineering online?

Great question Vivien, thank you for asking!  There is only 1 college that meets the very rigorous criteria required for this search.

(1)  Regionally Accredited University or College (note, you’ll find many “accredited” colleges but the only accreditation you should be after if you’re becoming an engineer, is regional.  Forgive me, but Wikipedia says it well:

 

While it might seem that national accreditation would be more important than regional accreditation, this is generally not the case. Regional accreditation is older, and with a few exceptions, more prestigious than national accreditation.[4] Most non-profit institutions are regionally accredited, while most for-profit colleges and universities are served primarily by national accrediting agencies.

(2) ABET Accredited Program is considered the standard for an engineering degree.  This is a program accreditation, not a college accreditation.

Graduates of ABET-accredited programs who work in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology can seek professional recognition by enhancing their credentials through licensure, registration, and certification programs where appropriate. Graduation from an ABET-accredited program is increasingly a required minimum credential for such professional recognition.

…and the winner is

The University of North Dakota

That’s it.  Just one school is RA, ABET, and offers a full engineering program as a distance learner.  Their engineering program(s) is not new to distance learning.  I have information going back to 1989, so these guys have been doing this for a while!  I always like to see some experience as a distance learning provider before enrolling.  (I’ve taken classes at two colleges, and my husband at a third, that were brand new at offering distance learning.  Let’s just say it’s not always best to be first).

There will be brief campus visit(s) required for labs.  

The University of North Dakota offers several options:


Program Overview

Distance Engineering Degree Programs

  • Leads to a degree in one of UND’s undergraduate degree programs accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
  • Designed for working adults who are unable to complete a full-time, on-campus program.
  • Follows the same curriculum as UND’s on-campus engineering programs.
  • Available online with on-campus labs (ranging from 5 to 14 days) held during the summer in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
  • Provides online access to recorded classroom lectures and course materials from anywhere, at any time.
  • Requires supervised (proctored) exams to be completed within a specified timeframe at a location near you.
  • Waives select course requirements if you demonstrate work experience and extensive knowledge in the field of engineering.
  • Taught by highly qualified UND faculty who are committed to distance learning and are available to answer your questions by phone or email.
  • Offers student support services, such as online tutoring, library, tech support and advising services.
  • Begins every Fall (August), Spring (January) or Summer (May) Semester.

This is a $125,000 degree. Let’s look at ways to bring that number down.

Tuition is high.  If you’re a North Dakota or Minnesota resident, on-campus tuition is just under $400 per credit.  If you’re from anywhere else, you’ll pay close to $850 per credit.

In my estimation, you should be able to complete 60 credits externally through a combination of CLEP, AP, dual enrollment, and transfer credit.  Expect to pay about $6,000 doing that, but you’ll cut the cost of this degree by 50% before scholarships.

They accept CLEP and AP.  While it doesn’t say it on their policy page, my intuition tells me that engineering majors won’t allow your teen to use CLEP or AP for credit in any of their sciences.  Stick to liberal arts, social sciences, foreign language, or humanities.

They accept dual enrollment.  If you have an option of earning dual enrollment credit through your local community college, this can shave a lot of the cost for you.  This is the best way I know of to learn English 101, English 102, and all the math that’s coming!

They accept transfer credit.  Use your community college to receive guaranteed transfer of an associate’s degree.  They have a LOT of articulation agreements, not just in-state (common) but with other outside states (rare).  If you live in one of these states, contact the University before enrolling in your state’s community college.  Dot the i’s and cross the t’s.  A lot of money is at stake here! 
Arizona

Kansas

Minnesota

Michigan

New York

North Dakota

Texas

Washington

Wyoming

Posted in financial aid, High School, Resources, Scholarships, working

100 Employer / Employee Scholarships

Last week, I wrote a nice long post demonstrating some of the financial and real-world benefits of Working During College.  At the end of that post was a list of companies that would pay your teen’s tuition while they went to college!

In today’s post, I want to share a list of 100 companies that frequently offer scholarships to their employees or children of employees!

Parents:  check with Human Resources immediately!  Scholarship application deadlines are sometimes a year in advance.

Who qualifies?

It depends.  In some cases, a parent’s dependents are eligible to apply, but in other cases, the teen must be an employee.  If you or your teen already work for one of these companies, simply contact your Human Resources department and ask for more information.

My teen wants a job that isn’t on this list

Working is great, no matter how you slice it, but rather than browsing and hoping to find your teen’s employer, be proactive and talk to them about seeking employment at a company that offers educational benefits through scholarships or tuition reimbursement.  That’s being smart and planning ahead.  A summer job isn’t supposed to be a permanent career that’s deep and rewarding. It’s a nice way to earn some spending money, learn responsibility, develop a work ethic……. and possibly earn a scholarship!

What’s the difference between tuition reimbursement and a scholarship?

Tuition reimbursement generally requires continued employment with the company while you go to school.  When you’ve finished a course, the company writes you a check to reimburse you for the tuition you paid.  Tuition reimbursement can sometimes pay for a full degree, but often has a service requirement or other obligation in exchange for the educational benefit.

Scholarships are awards given to a student for achievement.  Often, these are one-time awards.  Scholarship amounts vary by employer, but it’s not unusual to see scholarship awards for $500 – $2,500.  Typically, a scholarship is a one-time award without further obligation.

I’m seeing a few names that are also on the tuition reimbursement list.

That’s right!  Many companies consider investing in an employee’s education as a very important part of their mission.  According to the Society for Human Resource Management (the largest HR organization in the world), as many as 91% of large companies maintained or increased their educational benefits since 2014.  In contrast, as few as 4% offer any kind of student loan forgiveness program.  In short:  plan to find these benefits before you start college and resort to borrowing.  Among millennials, as many as 1/3 reports falling behind on their student loan payments.  Ouch!

  1. A&W
  2. Abbott Laboratories
  3. Adobe Systems
  4. ADP
  5. Aetna
  6. Alcoa
  7. Amazon.com
  8. American Airlines
  9. American Cancer Society
  10. AT&T
  11. Baxter International
  12. Biogen Idec
  13. BMW Group
  14. Bosch
  15. Build A Bear
  16. Burger King
  17. California Grape Grower
  18. California State University Bakersfield
  19. Capital One Financial
  20. Carmax
  21. CenterPoint Energy
  22. Chevron
  23. Chobani
  24. Citigroup
  25. Community Bankers Assoc. of Illinois
  26. ConocoPhillips
  27. Costco
  28. CPS Energy
  29. Cracker Barrel
  30. CVS Pharmacy
  31. Darden Restaurants
  32. DirecTV
  33. Dish Network
  34. Dominion Resources
  35. Duke Energy Corporation
  36. DuPont
  37. Edison International
  38. Express Scripts
  39. Exxon
  40. GameStop
  41. General Electric
  42. General Mills
  43. Genzyme
  44. H&R Block, Inc.
  45. Harley Davidson
  46. Hewlett- Packard (HP)
  47. Home Depot
  48. Humana
  49. Hyundai Motors
  50. IBM
  51. Intel
  52. J Crew
  53. JetBlue Airways
  54. Kentucky Fried Chicken
  55. L.L. Bean
  56. Land O’ Lakes
  57. Long John Silver’s
  58. Lowe’s
  59. Marathon Petroleum
  60. Mayo Clinic
  61. McDonald’s Corporation
  62. Meijer
  63. Morgan Stanley
  64. Mutual of Omaha
  65. National Roofing Contractors Assoc.
  66. Nordstrom, Inc.
  67. Nucor
  68. Oshkosh
  69. Pacific Gas & Electric
  70. PepsiCo
  71. Pfizer Inc.
  72. Phillips 66
  73. Pizza Hut
  74. Rockwell Collins
  75. Roller Skating Association
  76. SAS
  77. Servco – HI
  78. Southwest Airlines
  79. Starbucks
  80. State Farm
  81. Subway Restaurant
  82. Sunoco
  83. Taco Bell
  84. Texas Instruments
  85. Tj Maxx
  86. Uline
  87. Union Pacific
  88. United Technologies
  89. US Bank
  90. USDA
  91. Valero Energy
  92. Verizon
  93. Vermont Grocers Assoc. Member
  94. Wakefield Healthcare Center
  95. Wal-Mart
  96. Walgreens
  97. Walt Disney
  98. Wells Fargo
  99. Whole Foods
  100. Yum!
Posted in CLEP, College Admission

10 RA Christian Colleges that Accept CLEP

Colleges / Universities on this list are listed in no special order, but are all Regionally Accredited (RA) and have a public CLEP policy (meaning I can find it in one of their publications.)  You can look up colleges using the same tools I use:

(1) Accreditation U.S. Department of Education Accreditation Database

(2)  Search “CLEP” on the College’s website.

Regional accreditation is very important when choosing a dual enrollment college *during high school*  because credit earned at a non-RA college credit rarely transfers into RA colleges.  After your teen graduates high school, choosing an RA or non-RA college is a matter of career direction and personal preference.  Examples of careers that require an RA degree are generally those that require a state-issued license:  Nurse, Medical Doctor, Physician Assistant, Lawyer, CPA, Dietitian, Psychologist, K-12 Teacher, Social Worker, etc.  or that require a master’s degree or higher.  Non-RA college attendance is discouraged on this site as a general policy.

 


1. College of the Ozarks

P.O.Box 17
Point Lookout, MO 65726
Phone: 417-334-6411
http://www.cofo.edu

College of the Ozarks CLEP Policy

Fun fact:  Students here do not pay tuition!  


2. Liberty University

1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24502
Phone: 434-582-2000
http://www.liberty.edu

Liberty University CLEP Policy

Fun fact:  This is the largest Christian university in the world!


3.  Eastern Nazarene College

23 E Elm Ave
Quincy, MA 02170-2999
Phone: 617-745-3000
http://www.enc.edu

Eastern Nazarene College CLEP Policy

Fun fact:  All children of pastors or missionaries receive a $5000 grant each year.


 

4.  Texas Christian University

2800 S University Dr
Fort Worth, TX 76129
Phone: 817-257-7000
http://www.tcu.edu

Texas Christian College CLEP Policy

Fun fact:  Accumulating 30 CLEP credits will save $58,000 at this college.


5.  Bob Jones University

1700 Wade Hampton Boulevard
Greenville, SC 29614
Phone: 864-242-5100
http://www.bju.edu

Bob Jones University CLEP Policy

Fun fact:  High school students can take online dual enrollment courses at 50% tuition.


6.  Northwest University

5520 108th Ave NE
Kirkland, WA 98083-0579
Phone: 425-822-8266
http://www.northwestu.edu

Northwest University CLEP Policy

Fun fact: High school students can earn an Associate degree in Ministry Leadership online. 


7.  Biola University

13800 Biola Ave
La Mirada, CA 90639-0001
Phone: 562-903-6000
http://www.biola.edu

Biola University CLEP Policy

Fun fact:  Students can apply up to 32 CLEP credits toward their degree. 


8.  Cedarville University

251 N. Main Street
Cedarville, OH 45314-0601
Phone: 937-766-2211
http://www.cedarville.edu

Cedarville University CLEP Policy

Fun fact:  High school students can take online dual enrollment courses for $150 per credit (free through PSEO for Ohio residents).


9.  Oklahoma Christian University

P.O. Box 11000
Oklahoma City, OK 73013-1100
Phone: 405-425-5000
http://www.oc.edu

Oklahoma Christian University CLEP Policy

Fun fact:  Average student teacher ratio is 13:1


10.  Oral Roberts University

7777 S Lewis
Tulsa, OK 74171
Phone: 918-495-6161
http://www.oru.edu

Oral Roberts University CLEP Policy

Fun fact:  Students can complete 60 credits (50% of their degree) by CLEP and AP!