Skip a Year of College in Only 3 Steps!


Completing a college degree can be a long and daunting task.  The road ahead can seem overwhelming, and the prospect of successfully finishing can feel distant.  This is especially true when you are first starting college: you have a whole host of requirements in front of you, and you have yet to finish any of them.  Taking all of your required classes and gathering enough credits to earn your degree takes years, even if you plan ahead well.  It can take even longer if you can’t afford to be a full-time student or make mistakes when planning your complex schedule (book your private Santa Ana CLEP tutor today).

Luckily, there are options for you to earn a degree more quickly while also helping guarantee that you follow through with the program and successfully work around a tight schedule.  We are going to accomplish this by attempting to skip an entire year of college using planning, studying, and the help of an outside expert. Here are the three steps to skipping your first year of college:

Look Up Your School’s CLEP Policies

This plan is going to hinge on a specific set of standardized exams: the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams.  You are going to be taking CLEP exams in specific areas to earn credit in college.  You can think of this as similar to Advanced Placement (AP) exams from high school that could earn you credit in college based on your score.  In fact, CLEP and AP are both made by the same company, the College Board.  Some important differences between the two are that CLEP exams tend to be much easier to pass, there are more subjects in CLEP than AP, CLEP can be taken after you have left high school, and CLEP is primarily accepted at community colleges rather than four-year schools.

CLEP is not exclusive to community colleges.  There are several notable online colleges that accept CLEP credits on route to a bachelor’s degree (e.g., Kaplan University, DeVry, Grand Canyon, Thomas Edison, University of Phoenix, etc.), and there are many traditional university’s that accept CLEP as well (such as Texas A&M, Universities of Arizona, Kentucky, Florida, and many more).  You can also work towards a transfer degree at a community college using CLEP before transferring to a university.

Whether you are planning for an associate’s degree at a community college or higher, the key is to look into what school you are planning to go to and finding their CLEP policies.  For example, we’ll look at Santa Ana College in southern California.

Santa Ana College’s CLEP policies can be found here.  Note that you can see what CLEP exams they give credit for, how much credit they give for each, and which can be transferred to a California State University.  You can also find if the school has a maximum amount of CLEP credits allowed, or if they allow CLEP credit to pass certain graduation requirements.  This list will be similar for many community colleges, but it is vital that you find the information before you start making any CLEP plans.  Now we can proceed to step 2.

Find a Tutor and Choose Your Exams

The next step is to find an experienced CLEP tutor to help you choose which exams to take, plan, and study for them, take practice tests, and ultimately pass your exams and earn credit.  Of course, you can take these actions on your own.  However, an experienced tutor will greatly increase your odds of finding success.  It will also reduce the stress and research time that you will need to do, it will optimize your studying, and it will hold you accountable to keep making progress and follow through with your goals.  Online tutors can also be very effective options in CLEP preparation.

The tutor can also help evaluate your current knowledge and help you choose which tests are best for you.  They can ask questions about your previous class experiences and grades, what subjects you feel most and least comfortable with, and give you diagnostic tests to see where you are in different areas.  Often, a student has enough prior knowledge to pass at least one CLEP exam with minimal to no extra preparation needed.  Other tests will need more studying, but you will be surprised at how much you might already know for these tests.

Using our example of Santa Ana College, your tutor might find that you were very good at English classes, had a very hard time with math, completed four years of Spanish, and did well; we’re okay at social studies classes and are overall pretty good at memorizing things.  This is a lengthy list, but are just examples of some information your tutor could find.

They would look at Santa Ana requirements and credits and might recommend these tests for you:

In total, these exams would earn you 33 college credits at Santa Ana College.  This is the equivalent to more than a year of full-time schooling.  Unfortunately, Santa Ana does no give credits for some of the college composition classes, nor do they give credit for math below algebra.  While some of these exams may seem too new and difficult to take without a class (such as marketing and management), you would be surprised at how well a tutor can prepare you to have enough information to pass these tests in only a few short weeks.

You may also notice that we can achieve this goal even without science and math tests.  If you are good at these subjects, it may open up even more credit possibilities.  The tutor will help you come up with this list, and plan a study and exam schedule to knock out these tests as quickly and efficiently as possible.  You can take more than one test at a time at exam centers, so it is often good to study them in chunks.  You are also allowed to retake tests if you do not pass them on the first attempt, though a good tutor will often confirm your likelihood of passing with practice tests first.

Take Exams and Submit Credit Applications

The last step is the simplest.  After working with your tutor to make a list and a schedule, the final task is to take your exams and submit your scores to your school to receive your college credit.  It is always good to talk with a school counselor first to make sure the process goes smoothly ahead of time, and to confirm what you learned from your research into their CLEP policies.  After this is done, you will be able to start college with enough to skip up to an entire year of school, and you will be able to focus more on your major and choose your classes with more freedom.

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