Could You Earn Your College Degree in One Year? Part One: Page 2

Earning College Credit by Proving What You Already Know

The American Council on Education and its institutional members, including more than 1,800 colleges and universities, have worked with each other to develop a standard through which specific college courses can be compared and judged as equivalent. At the heart of this comparison is the concept of learning outcomes. For one college course to be considered equal to another college course (in terms of college credit), the learning outcomes also need to be the same.

Learning outcomes for any course at any institution of higher learning (including online college course providers) can be evaluated by ACE. Once a course has been through the rigorous analysis delivered through ACE, it can then be determined how many ACE CREDITS (college credit hours) it is worth. As a result, a receiving college can be confident that a 3-credit hour course completed elsewhere, for example through online college course provider StraighterLine, is worth the same 3-credit hours as if it was taken at its own institution. Thanks to ACE, like can be compared with like, and credits can be transferred through ACE to participating schools.

In addition to ACE, The College Board uses this same concept of learning outcomes when offering the results of its subject matter tests. When you pass a CLEP exam, you demonstrate that you already have mastered each learning outcome required for successful completion of a corresponding college course. Therefore your CLEP test results can earn the equivalent number of college credits for that subject area as if you already had taken that college course. Using your CLEP score, you can have college credits transferred to the receiving college of your choice. As with any credit transfer program, be sure to check that the college where you plan on enrolling accepts the credits you’ve already earned. You want to have a successful college credit transfer experience.

Why Online College Course and Credit-By-Exam Providers Matter if You Want to Earn Your Degree in One Year

In reality, there are 3 common ways to earn your college degree:

1 - Enroll and take for-credit classes at a four-year college or university and graduate with your bachelor’s degree in four years. To graduate with your bachelor’s degree, you will typically need to earn 120-credit hours.

2 - Enroll and take for-credit classes at a two-year college (community college or online college or university), and graduate with your associate degree. To graduate with your associate degree, you typically need to earn 60-credit hours.

3 - Earn college credits from college classes taken through online college course providers, distance learning programs, or through credit-by-exams, and transfer those college credits earned to your receiving college of choice. You can earn 3- or 4-credit hours per course or exam.