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CLEP, AP, or Community College?

When you are looking at using CLEP, AP, or Community College, you may wonder which one is best.  "Best" is not always easy to decipher.

I'll tell you the big truth about all of this:  it depends on the college your child will ultimately attend.  If you ask 10 different colleges, you might get 10 different answers.  Some very prestigious colleges feel the same way about AP exams and community college classes.  It's almost impossible to tell.


Jennifer wrote to me expressing great concern that CLEP exams would hurt high achieving students.  She worried that CLEP tests were too easy compared to AP.  Someone told her that a college looked negatively upon CLEP tests.

Each college is unique. In my business I talk to a lot of colleges.  I try to represent the views of many colleges as even-handedly as possible.  It's important to realize that the range of college preference and attitude varies dramatically - as much as parents homechool preferences from unschool to classical.  I'm trying to serve the entire homeschool community who may go to any of these colleges.  It's difficult to give absolute answers to questions that vary so much from student to student and college to college.  As with everything we homeschoolers do, it's the parents responsibility to determine from the colleges what they want to see.

No harm will come to your child for taking the CLEP.  It may or may not be beneficial, but it can't hurt.  You have the option of submitting scores or not submitting scores to colleges.  You can choose to include CLEP on the transcript or not include it.  Taking a CLEP test doesn't mean your child didn't learn something - it's not going to hurt anyone. There are many opinions on CLEP (good and bad) and many opinions of AP (good and bad).  Some colleges don't accept community college credits either.

All you can really do is to educate your child as best you can, and then get to know the colleges where he might apply.  Try to give each college what they want. So for example, if you wanted your child to attend that particular school, you would simply not submit CLEP scores to that college, and you would leave it off the transcript.  But if his number 2 school DID accept CLEP, you would send them the CLEP scores to show what your son could do.

That said, if you are thinking about the Ivy schools, your best bet is AP for testing.  Check to see if they value community college classes - some really encourage that, and others just hate community college classes.

With my gifted child, we decided NOT to send him away for college at a very young age.  The local colleges were very accepting of CLEP.  I waited until the summer before we applied, and had him take all the CLEPS he could pass at that time.  We didn't have CLEP accumulated over the years.  Gifted kids are.... complicated, with lots of moving parts.  It's not just what they are capable of in college, but how mature will they be, and when will they be ready for college, and should they leave home before they are 18, etc.  Very complicated stuff.  So for now, take it one day at a time.

Just remember the key concept:  educate your child to the best of your ability for right now.  When the time comes to apply to colleges, you'll be ready.

 

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Comments 7

Guest - J W on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 18:00

Thanks for the confidence-booster!

Thanks for the confidence-booster!
Guest - Ron DeLap on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 03:52

One other thing to consider is the potential effect on scholarships. Some colleges may consider your student a transfer if he/she has significant transfer credit from a junior college. Generally, 4-year institutions award far fewer scholarships to transfer students than to new (First Time in Any College) students. Best to check first with the 4 year institutions you will be considering after high school.

God's blessings,

Ron DeLap
Dean of Engineering, LeTourneau

One other thing to consider is the potential effect on scholarships. Some colleges may consider your student a transfer if he/she has significant transfer credit from a junior college. Generally, 4-year institutions award far fewer scholarships to transfer students than to new (First Time in Any College) students. Best to check first with the 4 year institutions you will be considering after high school. God's blessings, Ron DeLap Dean of Engineering, LeTourneau
Guest - Bonnie on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 05:16

Thanks Lee for that straight answer. I now know we will just CLEP test what my daughter finishes each year, and then submit it, or not!

Thanks Lee for that straight answer. I now know we will just CLEP test what my daughter finishes each year, and then submit it, or not!
Guest - Margie on Monday, 19 August 2013 23:03

Ron is correct. Any dual enrollment credits over 11 hours will not be accepted at any out of state university. Within our state, there is no limit on hours and they will not hinder her freshman status. If she goes to an out of state college, she will get no credit and will possibly be penalized for any dual enrollment hours over 11. Ask each college you are considering.

Ron is correct. Any dual enrollment credits over 11 hours will not be accepted at any out of state university. Within our state, there is no limit on hours and they will not hinder her freshman status. If she goes to an out of state college, she will get no credit and will possibly be penalized for any dual enrollment hours over 11. Ask each college you are considering.
Guest - Lee (website) on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 08:51

Margie,
Ron is correct, but only SOME colleges limit credits, and it's not ALL state colleges. Every college will have unique requirements and restrictions, so you have to check your own college choices. But it's not correct to say any credits over 11 hours will not be accepted by any out of state university - because that can vary a LOT even if it is your experience.
Blessings,
Lee

Margie, Ron is correct, but only SOME colleges limit credits, and it's not ALL state colleges. Every college will have unique requirements and restrictions, so you have to check your own college choices. But it's not correct to say any credits over 11 hours will not be accepted by any out of state university - because that can vary a LOT even if it is your experience. Blessings, Lee
Guest - Mary on Monday, 18 August 2014 18:34

I assume we need to have one transcript that is the same and is sent to all the colleges we apply to...correct? It would be so nice to tailor the transcript but that seems like cheating and I assume we can't do that.
Mary

I assume we need to have one transcript that is the same and is sent to all the colleges we apply to...correct? It would be so nice to tailor the transcript but that seems like cheating and I assume we can't do that. Mary
Guest - Lee (website) on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 06:59

Mary, yes, one transcript for all the colleges. You can make it look just perfect for your top choice college, but use that same version for all the other schools as well.
Blessings,
Lee

Mary, yes, one transcript for all the colleges. You can make it look just perfect for your top choice college, but use that same version for all the other schools as well. Blessings, Lee
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Thursday, 19 September 2019

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