Many high school students have the opportunity to participate in advanced placement classes. These can provide a nice cost savings when you get to college if you take full advantage of the program, its features and receive a satisfactory grade on the exam. Unfortunately, not all students are selected to participate in the AP program because of time constraints, grades or lack of availability from their school.
But there are other options available that anyone can utilize, such as the CLEP program offered through the College Board. By using this program properly, you could receive college credit for up to four semesters worth of college courses without ever stepping into a college classroom.
In order to make the most of your college education, as well as save the most money on tuition, room and board and graduate on time or early, the following steps will help you get ahead of the college game, before you even start.
Step 1: Make sure that you apply for and receive college credit, for all high school advance placement classes that you took and passed with a grade of 3.0 or higher. These will allow you to eliminate one college class for each qualifying AP exam that you passed. These alone will help, but with most students changing their major at least once, it may cause you to fall behind schedule and have to take additional classes later to catch up.
Step 2: CLEP exams offer another source of potential savings in this area. These credit by exam programs allow you to study online and take an exam that if passed will give you full college credit for the class without ever stepping in the classroom. There are over 30 classes you can take by exam and receive credit.
The CLEP program will allow you to get credit for several classes at the introductory level and the cost of studying and the exam itself is just over $100 per exam. This can be a great savings tools for students that want to ensure they graduate on time or those that want to graduate early and save an entire semester or even a year of college costs.
Step 3: Many successful students also use the CLEP program to get ahead so they can pursue a dual major or a minor in some other field of study. Whichever way you choose to use them, they will help you save money. Be sure to check with your college before you enroll in the CLEP program to make sure that they honor these credit by exam classes. Over 3,000 schools presently do. You can also check the College Board website for additional information on CLEP credits.
Step 4: Another strategy that many students use to get ahead is to take 18 credit hours each semester. Most schools do not charge extra for taking six classes instead of five, so use the opportunity to get the most out of your education. If you take one extra course each semester, you could also graduate early and save thousands.
Summary: While college is a great time to mature and grow socially, it is getting more expensive every year. By utilizing some or all of these strategies, any student can qualify for more college credit at substantially lower costs. Make sure that you take advantage of these opportunities and cut your student loans and other college costs to a minimum.