College Credit for High School Work
The easiest and least expensive way to earn college credit for your high school work is through scoring well on college equivalency exams. The most widely accepted equivalency exams are the College Level Examination Program (CLEP®) and Advanced Placement (AP® ) tests. (More than 90% of colleges in the U.S. award course exemptions or credit for many of these exams.) Both the CLEP® and AP® programs are developed by the College Board, the same organization that publishes the SAT college entrance exam and the SAT subject tests. You can read more about the CLEP® program here. You can read more about the AP® program here.
The individual colleges and universities that participate in the CLEP® and AP® programs determine which exams they will accept, how much credit will be applied and what score students must achieve in order to earn credit, course exemptions or advanced placement. You will find an institution’s equivalency exam policy on their website. Search by “credit by exam,” “AP policy” or “CLEP policy.”
Which equivalency exam you take will be determined by your purposes:
- CLEP® exams are shorter, easier, less expensive and less prestigious. These are a great choice if the main goal is college credit for required coursework.
- AP® exams are far more rigorous, and therefore, more respected. High scores on AP® exams will be weighted heavily for merit scholarship consideration and college admittance at competitive schools and programs.
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