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

How Do You Choose between an Online College Course Provider and a Credit-By-Exam (CBE) Provider?

If you already know the material, scheduling an exam and passing it on your first try is the quickest route towards college credit, but taking a self-paced online college course through a college course provider can not only be speedy, it offers a tremendous amount of flexibility.

If you want to have access to one-on-one tutoring and a self-paced class structure, as well as being able to immediately take the same course again to go back over challenging course material, it’s highly beneficial for you to take college courses through an online college course provider like StraighterLine. If you choose to take an online college course, as opposed to just signing up for an all-or-nothing single exam, you get to do so at your own pace, according to your own schedule, and most importantly, take the required exams at the moment you feel you are ready, and on smaller chunks of information. With an online college course provider, you get to choose the “when.”

And, if your first attempt was not successful, and you need to retake the course or the exam, there are significant differences.

When enrolled in StraighterLine’s $99/month unlimited college course subscription program, if you need to re-enroll in the course, you will only be charged an additional $49 to take the same (or any other additional) online college course again as long as you remain a monthly subscriber.

When you choose to retake a credit-by-exam test through CLEP, DSST, or UExcel, not only do you have to pay full price for the exam again, but you are also subject to rigid testing dates, retesting limits, and potentially significant waiting periods.

Can You Really Test out of College and Earn a College Degree in One Year?

The short answer is: yes. Yes, you can really “test” out of college and earn a college degree in one year. This accelerated route towards earning your college degree, however, should be considered the exception, not the rule. It’s not for everyone, and certainly not for every learning style.

That being said, if your goal is to amass as many college credits as possible over the course of a year and ultimately transfer those credits to an accredited college or university , and you consider earning your degree in a year a personal challenge, or you just want to accelerate your path towards a degree, here are some tips you should pay close attention to:

1. Most colleges place a cap on the number of college credits they will accept as transfer credit. Doesn’t matter if you earn college credits through AP, CLEP, DSST, StraighterLine, ACE CREDIT, or UExcel – if the receiving college you are interested in graduating at has capped the number of college credits it accepts for transfer at 30, you will be able to transfer 30 of those credit hours, but no more. If this is the case for the college or university you are looking to attend, your time is best spent earning the maximum transfer credit allowed until you’ve hit that cap. Of note: StraighterLine has guaranteed transfer agreements with its partner online colleges and universities where specific courses and specific numbers of courses are guaranteed to transfer should you enroll in the partner college to finish up your degree. Many of these transfer agreements are quite generous.

2. Most colleges limit the number of credits they accept for transfer from other accredited institutions of higher learning, like community colleges or other 4-year colleges and universities. Transfer credit caps exist to protect the revenue stream and perceived value of earning a degree from a specific institution -- and are not applied exclusively to outside college course providers or CBE. Transfer credit caps are applied to all categories of transfer credits, no matter where they are earned. Even if you wanted to transfer from Harvard to graduate from Ashford University online – you would be subject to their 90-credit transfer credit cap8.

8 Ashford University, Transferring, 2012, p.1.

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