Posted in CLEP, Guidance Counselor, HS4CC, Long Game

CLEP and your GPA

CLEP isn’t graded credit, so technically it doesn’t help or hurt your GPA…but, resourceful parents can use this strategy to help their teen’s GPA remain strong.

CLEP (College Level Exam Program) allows a student to test out of a class. The concept is simple- take the CLEP College Algebra exam at home (for free) so you can skip taking College Algebra at your college (not free!).

Credit by exam, which includes CLEP and other types of exams like Advanced Placement or DSST, are recorded on a college transcript as “cr” or “credit” and don’t carry a letter grade. Technically, this isn’t supposed to hurt or help your GPA, and while that’s true, there are little things to think about as you bring CLEP into your plan. In this post, we’ll look at a few strategies for protecting your GPA.

Keep something in mind- CLEP exams (and AP / DSST) are almost always going to replace courses that make up the first two years of a degree. That means that it is impossible to “CLEP out” of a bachelor’s degree, so even when you use the most CLEP credit possible at a college that accepts an unlimited amount of CLEP, you will never fully CLEP out of a degree- there will be graded credit in there somewhere.

Your GPA is already strong

If your GPA is already strong, CLEP won’t help or hurt your GPA. For some students, it’s possible to CLEP a class that they may otherwise have earned a lower grade in. This strategy actually protects a high GPA and keeps a good student moving forward.

FALL Semestercoursesgrade
English 101, 3 credits
Math 121, 3 credits
Psych 101, 3 credits
History 112, 3 credits
Computers 101, 3 credits
A
A
A
A
CLEP
15 creditsGPA 4.0
Table A

In Table A, the student worried that they might not be able to earn an A in their computer class, so by passing the CLEP, they removed the possibility of a B or C brining down their GPA.

You want or need a higher GPA

This is the toughest situation because you can’t raise your GPA with CLEP, so every CLEP you take is a lost opportunity to raise your GPA. This is the one situation where choosing CLEP may not be the right strategy.

Look at this example of a student’s transcript in Table B:

FALL Semestercoursesgrade
English 101, 3 credits
Math 121, 3 credits
Psych 101, 3 credits
History 112, 3 credits
Computers 101, 3 credits
C
B
B
B
C
15 creditsGPA 2.60
Table B

The student has a 2.6 GPA but needs to bring it up above 3.25 to qualify for a special major. Watch how their decision to CLEP or not CLEP moves the needle.

SPRING & SUMMER Semestercoursesgrade
SPRINGEnglish 102, 3 credits
Biology, 3 credits
Economics, 3 credits
History 115, 3 credits
Psych 202, 3 credits
CLEP
CLEP
CLEP
CLEP
A
SUMMERPsych 221, 3 creditsA
GPA 4.0
Cumulative GPA 4.0
Option 1

In Option 1, the student’s GPA for the semester is 4.0 because they earned A’s in both their graded classes, but their CLEP scores didn’t give them the same boost that earning good grades would have. Contrast this with Option 2 where the student earned good grades in the classes instead of CLEP.

SPRING & SUMMER Semestercoursesgrade
SPRINGEnglish 102, 3 credits
Biology, 3 credits
Economics, 3 credits
History 115, 3 credits
Psych 202, 3 credits
B
A
A
A
A
SUMMERPsych 221, 3 creditsA
GPA 3.83
Cumulative GPA 3.27
Option 2

As you can see in Option 2, the student’s high grades pulled their GPA up over 3.25 and they can proceed toward their GPA goals.


To CLEP or not to CLEP?

If GPA is a concern, the best way to use CLEP is when you already have a high GPA. If your GPA is low, using CLEP will not raise your GPA and you’ll have to stack up many graded credits to build your GPA.

For those who have good grades and are not under the gun to raise their GPA, CLEP can help preserve your good GPA and accelerate your college program! CLEP can bring the goalpost closer, help you complete college faster, and costs nothing.

As with everything, it’s all about choosing the right strategy!


Author:

Site Owner, Homeschooling for College Credit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s