Homeschooling parents find that the CLEP program is a perfect fit with their teaching style and goals. The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a series of standard tests which are recognized by over 2900 colleges and universities as the equivalent of successfully completed course work. By taking and passing these CLEP exams, people of all ages are able to opt out of certain basic classes, and at some institutions, receive credit just as if they had taken the class.
There are CLEP tests available in 34 different areas of study. From American Literature to Basic Psychology, Calculus or Chemistry, self-study guides and practice tests are available from CLEP. When a student is confident that they are prepared, they go to one of the many CLEP testing centers around the country, and sit for the CLEP exam in that topic. There is a fee for study materials and for testing, but considering the savings that can result from a passing CLEP score, the cost is minimal. Study guides are about $25, and the test fee is $72 for each subject. However, if the college of your choice will accept the CLEP test results, then the tuition for that class, and the cost of textbooks is saved. Even community colleges may charge as much, per credit hour, as one CLEP test!
The CLEP option is ideal for homeschools. Homeschooled children are often better at independent learning than their peers who have studied in classrooms. CLEP seems tailor-made for them. Students may take the tests at any age, although a minimum of age 15 is recommended. By covering material in a familiar format, homeschooled students can easily get a jump start on college, saving both time and money. It is easily possible that by successfully completing CLEP courses that students can enter college as a sophomore. Think of saving the costs of an entire year of school!
Often, homeschooled students choose to attend smaller colleges. This is a good fit with the CLEP exam and CLEP test program, because more small schools than large accept the credits. By carefully researching schools which accept CLEP scores, it may be possible to complete nearly two years of college at a huge savings. The cost of a higher education is staggering. Often the small colleges which attract homeschooled students are the most expensive. CLEP allows families to save enough money so that it is possible for parents to give their children that small school experience for their final 2 – 2 ½ years of college.
CLEP exams are standardized across the country. Although it is often argued that standard exams do not promote true learning, they can be a great aid to homeschoolers. It can be impossible to assess the quality of education a homeschooled student has received without such tests.