Get Community College Credit for What You Already Know
Once you're admitted to a college, see what options there are for receiving credit for prior knowledge and learning experiences, especially if you're an adult learner. Standards are high, so it's not a breeze to get credit this way, but you could save some time and money.
In addition to taking community college courses while in high school, there are several other ways to turn knowledge and experience gained through formal and informal means"such as on-the-job training, independent study, or life experience"into a head start on your college degree or certificate. Normally, you will need to be admitted to the college before pursuing this type of credit. Common methods include:
- Credit earned in high school
- Credit by examination or certification
- Credit for nontraditional programs or life experience
- Credit by transfer
Some colleges allow you to earn credit; others may not award credit but allow you to bypass or waive certain introductory courses, or advance to another level of coursework. Because
college policies and standards differ, be sure to check with the office of admissions or registrar about what options are available to you. Usually, the college catalog will have the policies listed under a heading such as "Advanced Standing" or "Credit-by-Examination."
Credits Earned Through Examination or Certification
Some common ways that you can earn credit by examination are:
- Advanced Placement (AP) examinations. If you've recently taken Advancement Placement courses and examinations in high school or through independent study, your prospective community college may award you credits in certain subject areas, depending on your exam scores and their policy.
- College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). Taking CLEP exams, which test for material covered in introductory college courses, are a common way to earn credit by exam. You may have acquired the knowledge through self-study, your job or life experience, home schooling, advanced courses in high school, or many other ways.
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