There are hundreds of ways to earn college credit, and each type is a little different. Sorting through these types can be overwhelming and difficult. Most HS4CC families earn college credit from many sources in high school and then send those credits to their teen’s target college after high school. There is a lot of information here, so to help you make the most of this page:
- Credit is grouped by level of transferability, from “Excellent Transferability” down to “Improbable.” This is the MOST IMPORTANT way to learn about college credit. If you want to keep things simple, stick with “Excellent Transferability.” Credits that are less transferable require more time to learn how to use them wisely.
- Each credit type will take you to an entry on this website. That entry is written by me, not the company that sells the credits, and will teach you how to use that program in your homeschool.
- There are pros and cons to every credit type, and most of the time it comes down to your unique goals. As long as you take your time and learn a little bit about each type, you’ll have no trouble picking the best college credit for your teen!
Type 1: RA Graded Credit (Excellent Transferability)
Regionally Accredited (RA) Graded Credit has the highest level of transferability and acceptance. These credits result in a letter grade on a college transcript. Credit options in this section are solidly transferable into colleges that accept transfer credit.
- (1) College-Based Dual Enrollment (DE)
- (2) Arizona State University (Universal Learner)
- (3) Outlier (legitimate credit laundering to University of Pittsburgh)
- (4) Wescott Courses (credit laundering to UMassGlobal)
- (5) Veritas Press / Scholars Academy (credit laundering to Cairn University)
- (6) Classical Conversations (credit laundering to Southeastern University or The College at Southeastern)
- (7) IEW Christian Halls (credit laundering to Southeastern University or Donnelly College)
- (8) Summer School
- (9) Winter Break, Minimesters, Accelerated Terms
- (*) Olivet Nazarene University: free college credit <–high school grads only
Type 2: Credit by Exam (Good Transferability)
Credit by exam programs are standardized tests that a student prepares for independently and upon successful passing of the exam, can result in college credit at a college. Credit by exam is considered “potential” college credit until it is turned into actual college credit by a college.
- (10) Advanced Placement Exam (AP) (approx. 85% of colleges accept)
- (11) College Level Exam Program (CLEP) (approx. 76% of colleges accept)
- (12) DSST/DANTES Exams (approx. 50% of colleges accept)
- (13) Foreign Language Exams – Advanced Placement, CLEP, ACTFL, NYU-FLP
Type 3: ACE Credit (Limited Transferability)
The companies/organizations in this category sell courses “for college credit” that have been evaluated by ACE. ACE (American Council on Education) is a third party credit evaluator that evaluates all types of learning programs that happens outside of a college. Officially, ACE advertises that there are almost 1,500 colleges that “may consider” ACE credit. Unofficially, this credit should only be used when you plan to use one of the partner colleges. Inside a partnership, credit transfer is guaranteed!
- (14) ALEKS Corporation—McGraw Hill (ACE)
- (15) Saylor Academy (ACE & NCCRS)
- (16) Sophia (ACE)
- (17) Straighterline (ACE)
- (18) Study.com (ACE)
- (19) Workplace Training (ACE)
- (20) GED Exam (ACE)
- (21) The Institutes for Statistics Education (ACE)
- (22) SeeMore Impact Labs (formerly CSM Learn)
- (23) Penn Foster College (limited to ACE courses only)
- (24) Gateway Education (ACE)
Type 4: NCCRS Credit (Very Limited Transferability)
NCCRS (The National College Credit Recommendation Service) is a third party credit evaluator that evaluates all types of learning that happens outside of a college. A company may market and sell courses “for college credit” that have been evaluated by NCCRS. While there are almost 1,500 colleges that “may consider” NCCRS credit, only when a company has a formal written partnership with a college should this credit be considered transferable. Unlike ACE, there is no NCCRS holding place for credit, so if a company goes out of business before you need the credit, it may be lost. Most colleges do NOT accept NCCRS credit. HS4CC List of NCCRS Partners
- (25) Coopersmith Career Consulting (NCCRS)
- (26) Davar Academy (NCCRS)
- (*) OnlineDegree.com (NCCRS) <–must be 18+
- (27) Law Shelf (NCCRS)
Type 5: Special Transfer
Credit in this section usually have very specific procedures to follow, limitations, or are part of a special relationship. This is a unique category for credit types that don’t fit well into the other groups.
- (28) Prior Learning Assessments (PLA)
- (29) Secular or Religious MOOCs (edX, Coursera, Hillsdale College, BYU)
- (30) TECEP Exams – Thomas Edison Credit by Exam Program
- (*) Christian Leaders College – free college credit to use at Liberty University
Type 6: Not Recommended
These programs /companies/products are currently NOT recommended for any one of many reasons, including but not limited to: program discontinued, business closed, loss of credit recommendation, loss of partnerships, misrepresentation or errors with credit transfer, etc.
- Challenge Exams (any college)
- College Plus
- FEMA Independent Study
- Gateway Education
- InstantCert Courses
- National Fire Academy
- Pearson Accelerated Pathways
- TEL Learning
- Texas Engineering Extension Service TEEX
- The Institutes (Insurance)
- TOR Academy
- UExcel Exams
- Unbound / Be Unbound
- Verity College Education