CLEP exams, Community College, and Scholarships can be confusing to sort out when homeschooling high school. Wouldn't it be nice if there was just one single source for information, so you could figure it all out easily? It seems like there is conflicting information out there!


I attended your classes at the recent Homeschool Conference in Cincinnati. Just noticed your post on facebook and read the entire article (ReduceCollege Expenses with CLEP and CollegePlus! ) You mentioned your sons completed one year of college via clepping and one year via the local CC (community college). And, you mentioned full-tuition scholarships. I was told at the  conference (can't remember if it was a speaker or a homeschooling mom) that if your child attends a CC, that eliminates your opportunity/possibility for a scholarship. This obviously isn't true--at least, it wasn't in your sons' cases.  Please clarify this for me--thanks!

Here is the big problem, universities are unique companies with their own policies; there isn't a single answer out there. Each college will handle things differently. Not all colleges have the same policies on accepting CLEP or community college credits for scholarships or credit. They may each decide whether or not to accept AP or CLEP tests and then decide if they will give credit, placement, or be used for outside  documentation only. Universities decide their policy on who gets scholarships as well; just those who demonstrate "need" or those who have superior test scores. These decisions are usually based on the bottom line; what will increase their ranking nationally, what is the best business decision for their company.

Meanwhile, their crazy and widely-varied policies can drive applicants CRAZY!! I would love to tell you that you can ALWAYS get scholarships  with CLEP or Community College courses, but that's not true. I would love to tell you that you will NEVER get scholarships if that were true (just to help with planning) but that's not true either!

If you know a college has one policy, it's tempting to assume ALL colleges have that policy. If only that were the case! To be honest, some colleges accept AP and some don't. Some accept CLEP and some don't. Some accept Community College and some don't. I'm sure that the speaker you heard honestly believed their experience would apply to all colleges, but it doesn't.

The university that my children went to had a unique policy.  They would allow 1 year by credit (CLEP or AP) and 1-2 years of community college. They would not allow more than two years of a combined experience and you had  to attend that university for a full 2 years in order to receive a degree from them. In my sons' situation, our CLEP and Community College credits all acted as outside documentation that our homeschool had been effective. They provided "data points" showing that my homeschool 4.0 was in fact accurate. It strengthened our overall college admission package, making us a better business investment for their scholarship money.

Your best plan is to check with your Number One college choice and find out their policy. If you don't have a first choice yet (unlikely for younger kids, I know!) then you may want to carefully read the policy on the four colleges where your child is most likely to apply.

I wish I could easily clarify the issue for you. The truth is that you'll just have to check with each individual university to see what policies they have.

Has your child received credit for CLEPs or community college courses, or did they help your child get scholarships? Please share!


Please note: This post was originally published in May 2010 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

For more information about marketing your child so they can compete for scholarships, you may want to check out my Getting the BIG Scholarships online class or Getting the BIG Scholarships DVD  For more information about Community College, you may want to read some stories about what community college is REALLY like.