4 Ways to Earn College Credit Outside of the Classroom

Written by  //  2018/05/23  //  Academics  //  Comments Off on 4 Ways to Earn College Credit Outside of the Classroom

college credit

With the college admission process and job market becoming more and more competitive, students are seeking ways to earn college credit beyond the classroom. Many high school students want to gain a foothold in the admissions process with AP courses not offered by their high schools. Nontraditional college students have life skills that can translate to college credit, giving them a leg up in admissions, saving them money on certain courses, and building their resumes to make them stand out after graduation.

Advanced Placement Courses

Many high schools offer advanced placement options; however, some students may have the desire to take an AP course not available at their school. This is frequently the case with students who are gifted in areas not commonly taught in high schools or for students attending small schools. In those cases, many online AP courses fill the void. They require mature students capable of managing coursework with minimal supervision.


Nowadays, a 4-year degree isn’t enough to land an entry-level job in many fields. Fierce competition means that graduates need a resume that entails more than working at the university library or in fast food. Internships are the best way for recent graduates to obtain experience that stands out. Colleges always accept internships for college credit, and many internships also provide hourly pay.

CLEP Exams

More than 3,000 higher education institutions across the country accept CLEP exams in lieu of 101 courses, according to Begin College. Other schools, like University of Maryland University College, have many online programs for military veterans. These computer-generated exams can be taken for a wide variety of subjects, including English, mathematics, and science. Earning a passing score requires knowledge beyond the high school level. Students taking CLEP exams need to have sufficient knowledge and skills to succeed in a 200-level class in the subject for which they take the CLEP. Veterans are eligible for the DSST exam. The DSST’s design for military personnel allows veterans to better use their military training to test out of certain courses. Many veterans and military personnel also benefit from attending online universities. They can take courses while still in the military or reserves, or after discharge, regardless of their location.

Portfolio Analysis

Begin College notes that students with a breadth of experience in a certain subject may qualify for credit through portfolio analysis. When students have already acquired a knowledge base that puts them beyond entry level courses, such as through work- or military experience, they can assemble a portfolio, including papers and other documentation, showing their knowledge and skill mastery.

The high cost and time commitment of a college education makes earning credit through alternative methods attractive to both traditional and non-traditional students. College admissions and the job market have grown increasingly competitive and specialized. Students who can demonstrate they are a step ahead of their peers gain the best educational and job opportunities.

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