Posted in HS4CC

Parent Question: Using CLEP for an Associates Degree

Kelley asks “A question that’s been buzzing around my head… Can the CLEP credits a student earns be used towards an associates degree at the local community college? Their website does list what CLEP is accepted, does it matter/apply if the student is dual enrollment? The local community college has guaranteed acceptance at local universities for those with associates. Is there an advantage going this (associates) route? The associates is one option we’re looking at as well as just a combo CLEP with some dual enrollment.”

Excellent questions!! Let’s hit each of these.

(1) CLEP credit can be used towards an associate degree (or any degree) at any college that participates. About 76% of all colleges in the USA do award college credit for passing a CLEP exam, so if yours doesn’t, it’s worth looking at a few others.

(2) Their website might not publish a list because it’s a “don’t offer” kind of situation. I worked for a college like. We allowed students to test out of 75% of their associate degree, but at the time you couldn’t find that on their website and I was there probably 10 years before I knew that. They give up tuition when you use CLEP, so send an email and very specifically ask them to send you their CLEP acceptance policy and also their CLEP equivalency list. That will give you a guide (Intro Sociology CLEP = SOC101) to use when planning. If they don’t have these lists, it’s exceptionally harder. Also keep in mind that colleges may review their list each academic year and may reevaluate their CLEP policy each academic year. Planning a degree in high school is more risky than simply bringing college credit into your homeschool where it makes sense.

(3) dual enrollment is not technically a degree seeking enrolled student (that’s an explanation for another day) so if you do not intend on getting a degree at that college, you don’t have to send them the CLEP scores (unless you want them to use them as prereqs). If you do plan for a degree there, then you will send the scores and they’ll import them to your teen’s college transcript like a regular college student.

(4) that’s a winning plan. In that case, you’re credit laundering the CLEPs into guaranteed acceptance at the university and assuming you’ve carefully read the articulation agreement protocol, this takes the university’s CLEP policy out of the equation. Keep in mind that even when you get guaranteed acceptance of a degree, prereqs that the university has are always still trump, so say they ask for graded credit in biology…. you can’t get that if you used CLEP (pass/fail, not graded) so you’re not meeting the prereq. What you’re asking about is 100% doable- and will require good planning. 😉 

(5) the advantages are MANY!!! Besides getting a university to accept the CLEPs (as opposed to applying their own policy) the tuition for CLEP is $0. Also, what you pay at the CC will be less than at the university. If you go in 50% done, then you’re 50% closer to the goal. If you can get your teen there, they’ve demonstrated proof of concept and their likelihood of success AND finishing just went WAY up.

Great questions!! You’re asking all the right questions. Lots of things to plan to put this into place, but thinking through the big picture means you’re already on the right track.

Read more about CLEP strategies on Homeschooling for College Credit


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit