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College credit. To get a degree you must have a lot of it. Is it possible to get college credit inexpensively? Or quickly? Is there a better way than sitting in a classroom and paying $400 or more per credit? The answer is yes! In today’s Information Age, many inexpensive options are available for the enterprising student.
- Credit-By-Examination – “Gain credit for knowledge you already have.” This is the best method for earning college credit. You have probably heard that the first two years of college are a review of high school. By taking exams over what you learned in high school, you can gain college credit. This would enable you to skip the “101” classes and get your degree faster. In addition to saving time, using credit-by-examination can also save you money. With an average classroom credit costing more than $400, credit-by-examination will cost only $27 – $360, depending on the test and the testing program.
- Internships – “Earn money and college credits at the same time.” Is it possible? There are two ways to get credit for internships. Often, credit can be secured through “credit equivalency” programs. You simply find a college that offers credit for an internship that you are taking, apply for the credit, and transfer it to the school you are attending. If, however, no school offers credit for your specific internship, do not give up. You can still gain credit for you internship experience by using portfolio assessment.
- Portfolio Assessment – “Earn college credit for experience that you already possess.” You match your experience with an existing course, write a narrative, gather evidence, and present your portfolio for analysis. This is an especially useful method if you have done a large amount of traveling, volunteering, or working. However, almost everyone has done something that can be used for credit. The drawback for portfolio credits is the cost. While you do save time, most colleges charge the same amount for portfolio assessment as they do for normal classroom courses.
- Online and Correspondence Courses – “Complete courses (almost) anywhere in the world.” Like portfolio assessment, this method is just as expensive as normal classroom credits. The main advantage of online or correspondence courses is their flexibility. They can be taken anywhere, enabling you to take them while living at home or attending a different college. In addition, by paying an extra fee, one can extend the class length and complete it at his own pace.
- Community Colleges – “Attend classes at your local college.” This is one of the best options. The courses at community colleges can usually provide two year’s worth of credits. In addition, community colleges normally have a much lower price per credit than four-year universities. Some in Southern California charge as low as $8 per credit hour – more than a $300 savings. Finally, community colleges are quite experienced in transferring credits to the college from which you are getting your degree.
When using an alternative method for earning college credits, it is important to check whether your college accepts that particular type of credit. Otherwise, you could complete a credit using one of these methods only to find that the college you are graduating from does not accept it. Therefore, check with your graduating college before completing your credit. As Davy Crockett said, “Make sure you’re right; then go ahead.”