Earn Extra College Credits
and Graduate Early

You may be able to earn extra college credits for work and life experiences. While these programs tend to benefit adults, including military, some undergrads can take advantage of testing programs allowing them to gain credit for non-college types of learning.

Some colleges allow undergrads to earn extra credits by taking the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) as an undergraduate to earn extra college credits.

Volunteer work shows experience within your community with service organizations, political activism, or children or animal causes, or other activities for which you might feel a passion.

I once set up an entire on-going money making operation to benefit our high school band. In that process I learned purchasing, budgeting, maintenance, management, and finally, to delegate,



This College Entrance Examinations list gives you the names, acronyms, and brief descriptions of the most widely used of these programs.



Programs or actions that give you extra credit for college

  • Evaluations of your personal and professional portfolio, including:

    • Work history including accounting, management, typing, computers, sales, editing

    • Education, including work-related, special training, or special licenses

    • Hobbies and interests

    • Skills training, adult ed classes,

    • Life experiences, which include housekeeping and its attending tasks: budgeting, nutrition, meal planning, childcare

    • Any courses, education or training that might be equal to a course given by that college, for which you might receive credit. This would include military training, and classes at non-accredited institutions.

  • As you assemble your portfolio, be specific and straightforward about what you have learned, and how it would apply to your intended major.

  • Earn extra college credit by taking proficiency exams offered by your school

  • Ask about "challenging" certain classes in which you have knowledge or experience. One of our students skipped the foreign language requirements by challenging the Russian Language courses required of his major and demonstrating (more than average) competency in the language.

  • Ask at your school about accelerated degreeprograms. These programs offer special classes that meet, in addition to your regular classes, a couple of times a week, and shaves time off your trip to your degree.

  • Combining degree programs allow you to combine your undergraduate degree with a Master's degree, and still finish in five years. Saves time, saves money, and looks good on a resume.

  • Go to summer school. Lots of advantages here besides saving money: saves time, you may receive more personal attention, If you go each summer, you can usually graduate in three years, depending on your major. Be sure, before you sign up, that the classes will transfer.

    • A junior college class in, say, Calculus, the summer before you start college, will put you one up on taking it during the regular school year. In addition, if you have a job while in college, taking a class in summer school will make your life a bit easier, since you can work around it, and still have time to study.
  • Take online classes during the summer to earn extra college credit

  • Take classes part time, if you have a heavy workload

  • Take any of about 80 Job Ready Assessment Tests where you can obtain credit in a variety of vocational and technical fields such as Computer Science, Graphic Arts, Culinary Arts, professional development and mechanical skills and abilities such as welding and electrical work.

  • Take the DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST) - along with about 100,000 others each year - to earn extra college credit for knowledge you already possess. Their WEB site has sections for student and adult learners, counselors, the corporate world, and the military.

  • Look into Excelsior College Examinations with about 40-50 tests that can give you the chance to earn extra college credit for classes taken, or things you have learned. Their site offers sample tests, test locations, and other info.


    Sign up and take some CLEP Exams (College Level Examination Program)

    You can "CLEP" your way to extra college credit and graduate early.


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