“Bachelor’s degree required”. If you peruse through any job board or decide to crinkle through the classified employment section of your daily newspaper, then you have seen these three words more times than you can count. If you have your bachelor’s degree then you feel confident. But if you don’t, then you feel harshly eliminated.
As a wife of a church planter, I can attest that I have never once regretted having my bachelor’s degree, nor has my husband. In fact, our degrees have opened the doors for many jobs that have put food on the table. Now, as a mother of three boys, who are future providers for their families, I feel compelled to set them up to win. I know many successful businessmen who have provided well for their families with only a high school diploma. However, that seems to be more of an anomaly than the norm anymore. So, this post is not to convince you about the importance of a college education. That is your personal choice. However, if you are wanting to find the best option for you or your family to pursue a college education, then read on…
The past few years, I have researched methods of obtaining college credit as well as various universities. My number one goal was to find an affordable Christian college education. I spent a year and countless hours familiarizing myself with all of the options.
First, I discovered that the accredited Christian colleges that I had my oldest son enrolled in used secular textbooks. The only thing that made them Christian was their name and statement of faith. I was under the impression that the material would be from a Christian worldview similar to Christian homeschool curriculum…. not the case. Then I thought, well maybe the teacher is Christian and teaching the secular book from a Christian worldview…. not the case. I received the syllabi from three different Christian universities and all three used secular books. A majority of the coursework was just reading the secular book; some did reference YouTube videos which we do not allow our children to access unsupervised. One university told me that my son would have access to a forum where he could discuss his beliefs with other students and the students have the liberty to discuss what they believe…. uhh, no thank you.
So, after this exhausting process, I decided to look into credit by examination. You have probably heard of Advanced Placement exams (AP), CLEP, Dantes, or DSST exams. Many universities accept these exams for credit and then the student does not have to take the actual course. Each university has their own requirement and guidelines for accepting these credits and you can generally locate this info on their website.
Many people have achieved college credit through CLEP exams. If you want to go that route, I am not your contact for that. I purchased a program that outlined a method for obtaining credit primarily through CLEP exams. It gave a reading list for each exam and it also included an online flash card system. We actually never tried it, but I have a friend that tried it and they found that you were needing to read an undefined number of textbooks to achieve a passing score of 50%. The process involved reading NUMEROUS textbooks, working through 500 flashcards, and taking multiple practice exams (all for a fee) in hopes to increase your score.
The timeframe for one course was about 2 months. The reason that I never used that trusty program that I purchased was that there was no clear indication of what would be covered on the actual exam and so your studies may be in vain. When I attended Baylor University and McNeese University, you studied a textbook, attended lectures, and it was material that was on the exams. In CLEP, you are basically guessing at what will be covered and may be studying unnecessary information. Ain’t nobody got time for that!!! Besides, my boys will not sit down for hours and read textbook after textbook.
The Pros of CLEP:
• You can use Christian textbooks, but that material may not be what is covered on the actual exam
• It is self paced
• It is widely accepted at many universities
• It is less expensive than traditional college
The Cons of CLEP:
• It can get expensive with the purchase of the plan of how to do it (as much as $1000 depending on which one you buy)
• the textbooks are $30 – $50 each on average
• the online monthly flashcard system you have to buy for each child is $20 per child
• the various practice exams are approximately $20 each
• the final exam is $80
• You have to schedule the exam at a testing center which can be intimidating and inconvenient
• If you fail, you have to wait three months to retest
According to ACE’s website, The American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT®) was established in 1974 to connect workplace learning with colleges and universities by helping students gain access to academic credit for formal training taken outside traditional degree programs. With over 35,000 programs reviewed, CREDIT is the national leader in the evaluation process for education and training obtained outside the classroom including courses, exams, apprenticeships, and other types of nontraditional forms of training.
For 40 years, colleges and universities have trusted ACE to provide reliable course equivalency information to facilitate credit award decisions.
Basically, ACE credit works very similar to CLEP credit. You can take a course through a third party company that has received ACE accreditation and then submit that credit to a university for credit.
Within the realm of ACE credit there are numerous choices and as you probably already know, I have researched them all. Our family is beyond thrilled to have found a company called Study.com.
How Study.com works
Originally, this company set up videos to help those who were preparing for CLEP exams. They had no way of knowing the success rate except from those who submitted their results, which was most likely skewed because who wants to submit that you failed? So, Study.com began submitting their courses for ACE accreditation and the rest is history. They currently offer 46 ACE accredited courses and hope to add more.
Although the content is not Christian per say, the content has been family friendly. In fact, my middle son said that he could see the Hand of God all throughout history while taking U.S. History through Study.com. I spoke with someone at Study.com and they said if I ever see anything not appropriate, then to alert them and they would remove it. We have not taken any Science courses through them, but I am assuming it probably contains evolution and we will pass on those.
Each course has highly engaging videos, an accompanying transcript that you can read for reinforcement, online quizzes for every video, chapter exams, and a practice final exam. After completing the coursework, then you can schedule a proctored final at any time of day or night. They video you while you take the exam and then review it within a few days and you find out if you passed or not. Your will receive either a pass or fail for the course. This is based solely on your score on your final exam. You must score a 70% or higher on your final to pass and receive credit.
I could not be more thrilled with the opportunity that Study.com provides. My boys are learning so much and they love the format! With an annual college accelerator subscription, you are allowed to take up to two exams per month. You can slow the learning down for your student, but even one course a month would be a tremendous value.
Where is the transfer guide for my college/university?
If you scroll down on this link https://study.com/academy/try/earn-college-credit.html, in the blue section where it says transfer credit to over 2,000 institutions, you can type in your university of choice. In some cases, you can even see a pre-approved transfer guide of courses that will be accepted and what credit will be granted. They have a team working on adding more partner schools to this feature so you can find out more readily what your specific university accepts. If a transfer guide to your university of choice does not populate in the search window, then you may need to submit the request directly to the Admissions department at that university.
• College Courses for $41…Exclusive price for Fervent Family Members (no hidden costs and no other materials needed)
• The videos are highly engaging.
• It includes online quizzes and testing to check mastery.
• The format is awesome.
• You do not have to take any type of college entrance exam to get started.
• The content that is in the videos and reading is EXACTLY what is on the final exam.
• If you fail your final, then you can retake it in 3 days.
• You can test at any day or time, in the convenience of your home. (But, sorry not in your jammies, they do require you to get dressed.)
• I wish I had known about this two years ago…
Save almost 60% on college credits!
In an effort to try out a new marketing strategy, Study.com graciously agreed to offer my readers a 59% discount if you buy an annual subscription to their college accelerator plan. It is normally $200/month or $2400 per year and for a limited time you can get it for $984! You are allowed to take two college courses per MONTH. That would be 72 college credits in a year! There is no dual credit option or college option cheaper…ANYWHERE!
If you decide to enroll.
1. Sign up the student for a free trial under the MONTHLY COLLEGE ACCELERATOR plan.
2. Forward the emails that you set each account up under to me at email@example.com along with your request to transfer to the ANNUAL COLLEGE ACCELERATOR plan at least 24 hours before your 5-day trial expires for 59% off a total of $984/year per student.
3. They will apply the discount and charge you the reduced total. You can view this within each study.com account at anytime. Here is their website so you can check it out: http://study.com