Smart College Idea: Save 80 Percent – Dual Credit at Home

A College Degree for $3100, yes it's possible!

If you have kids who want a fast track to a college degree or, if you’re an adult looking for an inexpensive and fast way to finally finish that degree, you’ve GOT TO READ what Becky and her kids have done. It’s absolute GENIUS.

We met Becky Muldrow in San Antonio, Texas at a conference where we were speaking. Becky is a mom, and a smart one at that. With 10 kids she has to be. But what stood out most to us was her absolutely ingenious way of helping her kids get through college in less than 2 years, at minimal costs and mostly from home.

While this concept is designed for Home Schooling families, we’re asking you to think a little deeper. This concept could work for adults wanting to finally get that college degree, or for motivated kids who attend public or private school to get a jumpstart on college. Think, think, think.

Warning, this is a long article . . . actually it’s a transcript of Becky’s presentation she shares around the country. A decision to use Dual Credit at Home isn’t going to be a quick one. But if you do decide to pursue the system that Becky has created, at the bottom of this page you’ll find a discount offer she’s giving exclusively to our readers.

How to Earn a Bachelor’s
Degree During High School

Hi, my name is Becky Muldrow and like many of you, I am a home school mom. Our family has been blessed with ten children, from age twenty-eight all the way down to ten.

I’m sure that all of you parents will agree that there is a BIG difference between home educating a ten year old and a teenager. When your son is ten, you’re just worried about helping him stay focused long enough to get a whole day of school finished! But when he reaches those teenage years, you start to worry about a big seven-letter word. C-O-L-L-E-G-E!

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A College Degree Blessing or Problem

College is our culture’s pinnacle of educational achievement. It’s also the bane of our pocketbooks. Worrying about your child’s future education has the potential to keep you up at night AND empty your savings accounts. A degree doesn’t just consume money. It can also cost our young people many extra years of their greatest commodity —- time.

For many families, college isn’t always a blessing. It can also be a problem.

As home school parents, we’ve obviously been thinking outside the box. My husband and I love to challenge our kids to be creative, innovative problem solvers. One of the most respected home school students of all time, Albert Einstein, has great advice for all of us: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Now you and I didn’t create the existing problems with higher education. But when it comes to deciding how we’re going to approach college, both the METHOD of education and the COST, in our own families, we can’t use the world’s way of thinking.

How We Solved the College Cost and Time Problem

Today I’d like to share with you how our family has solved our college problem. Over the next few minutes, I will explain a different approach to earning an accredited bachelor’s degree that has been successful for not just our family, but thousands of other families as well. You’ll know six key advantages about the dual credit approach and how to earn a bachelor’s degree during high school.

It breaks my heart to hear of parents who give up homeschooling as their kids reach high school. This is an awesome time to finish strong! Parents, you’ve been creative and thought outside the box all during the early school years. Let me encourage you to stay creative!

But before we go any further, I want to introduce you to my family!

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A Little about the Muldrow Family

Gene and I just celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary. Here we are with our ten children — Adam, Katie, Stephen, Melanie, Dianna, Nathan, Julie, Kristin, Michael, and Jason.

I would like to begin with Adam’s story because it’s the reason why I first started exploring options to traditional college. When Adam was fifteen, he told us that he wanted to be a lawyer and asked “how fast can I earn my bachelor’s degree?” In my ignorance, I told him four years. But after seeing his passion, I started to do my own research.

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We found an Education Secret – Credit By Exam!

That was when I discovered one of mainstream education’s best kept secrets. It’s called the credit-by-exam approach and goes FAR beyond “clepping” out of one or two classes.

Defining Credit By Exam Terms

Let’s define some keywords. First, dual credit, or dual enrollment. This is simply earning both high school and college credit at the same time for the same course. Students can do this by taking a class or an exam. You, the parent, then list these credits on their high school transcript and award high school credit – always stay within your state’s home school requirements. (And remember – this same approach can be applied to any student – public, private, or home schooled!)

Dual Credit Definition

The Dual Credit Misconception

When many parents hear the term “dual credit” they automatically think of an on-campus class, generally at a junior college. It’s important to know that is not the only dual credit option available for your teen! An on-campus class takes an entire semester of your child’s time for only three credits. On campus classes do not lessen the time a student spends earning a degree; instead they spread it out over a longer period of time. Most students that take traditional on-campus dual credit classes during high school still spend 4 or more years completing a degree after high school graduation.

While many junior colleges may offer “no tuition” or “reduced tuition” for dual credit courses, when you look into those offers more closely you realize that the choice of classes is very limited, and the cost of the textbooks, campus-use fees, and other costs are not waived or reduced.

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Defining General Education Requirements

Another term we should define is “General Education (or GE) requirements.” These are the subjects all students have to study to complete their degree. These are the “core” subjects – consisting of familiar subjects like math, science, a humanities or fine arts course, freshman English, etc.

Everyone studying for a bachelor’s degree has to complete all of the core subjects. No matter what the major is, each student needs to have a general knowledge of each of these courses. Here’s a link to Charter Oak State College’s “credit for testing and standardized exams” page – this is the regionally accredited college that we’ll talk more about in a minute, but I wanted you to see how a college awards credits for “prior knowledge” of the core subjects.

There are two ways for a student to fulfill core requirements:

#1 – take the course or

#2 – take a college-level exam to prove your knowledge of the subject and be exempt from the class.

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Understanding the value of CLEP Tests

CollegeBoard offers exams that your student can take called CLEP (College Level Examination Program). Another accredited exam program is the DSST program, also known as DANTES. You may be wondering why DSST is pronounced “DANTES,” so here’s a bit of trivia in case you’re ever on Jeopardy! DSST exams were originally created by the US Department of Defense for veterans completing their college education. The tests were called Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, aka known as DANTES.

Now remember, a student only needs to go deeper into the subject(s) that make up their major or concentration. Since they need only a general knowledge in the core areas – a level of knowledge that a diligent student can self-teach – it makes more sense to use an exam to earn these credits than to pay for tuition, books, and possibly even a housing package at a traditional college — and spending at least two years of their life in the process.

What I did when 15 year old Adam said he wanted to be a Lawyer

When Adam came to us about a law degree, he was only fifteen — three years away from the age when most teens even enter college. As a mom, I hated telling my son, “Okay, so you need to finish three more years of high school, four years for your bachelor’s degree, and then three more years in law school.” How DISCOURAGING! After all, he had only been on earth for fifteen years, so for him, ten years would have seemed like an eternity!

I saw my son’s passion and I was determined to find a creative, yet legitimate, way to help him accomplish this dream.

After doing some research, I learned that Adam could take CLEP or DSST exams for college credit, and he could start studying and testing immediately for both high school and college credit. We chose a regionally accredited college that would allow him the opportunity to earn all of the required 120 credits by exam. This was the perfect answer for both problems of an undergraduate degree – the unnecessarily long time commitment and the exorbitant cost. All we needed to know was:

  1. what subjects (and in what order) he would need to study/test and
  2. how to efficiently do that and still master the subject material.

About Charter Oak State College

This was in 2002, but the rules have changed only slightly. That regionally accredited school, Charter Oak State College, now only accepts 114 college credits by exam and requires students to earn the remaining six credits by taking their online Cornerstone & Capstone courses. The Cornerstone course gives students a good foundation for college studies and teaches research skills, and the Capstone course summarizes what your student has learned at the conclusion.

How Adam Earned 120 Credits in 22 Months!

Adam started taking tests right away. It took 17 months for him to earn the first 60 credits, but he earned the last 60 credits in only five months. He was able accelerate his undergrad degree to this extent only because we were willing to think outside the box and chart a course to use credit-by-exam to its maximum potential! He drastically reduced the time commitment AND the cost, but earned the exact degree, a regionally-accredited Bachelor of Arts degree, as students who spent four or more years on-campus and paid $50-$100K.

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It took him 22 months total and cost only $3,100.00 from start to finish for the exams and one year of out-of-state tuition at Charter Oak State College. CollegeBoard estimates that the average student at a public four-year college during the 2014-2015 school year will pay $1,225.00 per year just in books and supplies. More books/texts than you could possibly need are available used on Amazon.

University of Houston Law School for 17 Year Old Adam!

We handed Adam his high school diploma in May of 2004, but that graduation was somewhat anti-climactic because in March he had been awarded a fully accredited bachelor’s degree from Charter Oak State College and been accepted to the University of Houston Law School. He was 17.

What our other kids thought about Adam

When our other kids saw that, they thought, “This is crazy; if the other option is to spend four more years in school, I want to do what he just did.”

We started our family on a Dual-Credit Marathon

This is what started our family on our dual credit journey, and we’ve applied what we learned as our other kids reach high school age. In fact, we realized there’s no need to wait until they’re 15 years old, as we did with Adam. They can begin sooner, at age 13, and combine college-level studies with their “high school” years. We let them live normal lives – music, sports, co-op classes, martial arts, friends, mission trips, etc. – but when it comes to their academic subjects, we raise the bar to college-level and earn the college credits as each subject is completed.

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You don’t have to be a Genius – just have a plan

That’s the first advantage I would like for you to remember about the credit-by-exam approach — it is ACHIEVABLE. Let me be honest right up front, our kids are not geniuses. Trust me, if ours can do it, so can yours. Our kids are not smarter than average home schooled students, it’s simply that our family has a plan to finish bachelor’s degrees earning credits by exam.

Here are some more Real Life Stories

Lest you think it’s just our kids, I want to introduce you to a few more real people.

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Henry’s Story

Meet Henry. Henry looks like an ordinary boy who is a sports fan. But Henry was recently profiled by the University of Virginia’s Cavalier Daily. Why? Because he’s one of their first year Engineering students — and he’s just 12 years old.

How did Henry get in? He took AP (Advanced Placement) exams and on-campus classes for dual credit during high school. (One of our sons took three AP exams several years ago, and he was able to score well and use the credits toward his degree. We no longer use AP exams because they must be taken with your local public high school who, for valid reasons, may not be too excited about letting you do that. Also, each AP exam is only offered one day a year, and we prefer more flexibility.)

Of course, not everyone does what Henry did at twelve years of age, so I’d like to introduce you to another dual credit graduate.

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Travis’ Story

This is Travis Ward. Travis’ story was featured by Mississippi’s Meridian Star. Why? Because last year, eighteen-year old Travis graduated in May with his high school diploma. And seven months later, he completed a certificate in Practical Nursing, How did he do it? Dual credit.

These kids are not smarter than average students, it’s just that they followed a plan to complete their degrees using dual credit.

We’ve talked about how credit-by-exam is achievable, but I’d like to bring up advantage #2 — and that is that the credit-by-exam approach is REPUTABLE.

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Start Thinking Differently

Far too many parents are trapped into thinking that traditional on-campus college is the only way to earn an accredited college degree. If it even exists, it’s a myth that self-paced, at home studies are inferior. Didn’t you deal with education myths when you decided to homeschool? Don’t believe those same myths when they are applied to college! We believe that an at-home, self-paced education is best for our kids. And it can still be the best approach through the college years.

Why should it be any different with fulfilling a college’s general education requirements? You, too, might have started to believe that four years on-campus is the best and most reputable way to go. But what many people do not realize is that reputable colleges that award degrees with a high number of credits earned by exam, such as Charter Oak State College and Thomas Edison State College, are not only recognized but regionally accredited as well.

Look at this College Degree

Let’s take a look at Charter Oak State College. This is a regionally accredited state college in Connecticut. Before today, you might not have heard of Charter Oak, but I’m sure you have heard of some of the other colleges that are accredited by the same regional organization, The New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Ever heard of Yale, the University of Connecticut, Amherst, Harvard, MIT, or Dartmouth?

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The same organization that reviews Harvard’s & MIT’s academic standards reviews Charter Oaks’. It just doesn’t get more reputable than that!

What do Professional Educators think of Dual Credit at Home?

But what do education professionals think about dual credit? What effects have they seen in the lives of their students?

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Read what Lance Brand, a public high school Biology teacher has to say about the benefits of dual credit: “For all students, the ability to take dual credit courses in high school takes away some of the fear of the unknown. Students can see that college can be a reality for them. Once they are invested, they are also more likely to continue down this pathway.”

Now Mr. Brand is likely referring to on-campus dual credit students. But the same holds true for students earning credit by examination. In fact, it might be possible that students using credit-by-exam are even more likely to successfully reach graduation. It’s not a much-publicized fact (but true none-the-less) that many college students quit school, or at least begin taking lighter course loads, because of mounting student loan debt and credit card bills. These are two more benefits of the credit-by-exam method – NO student loans and an affordable college bill!

But are these schools reputable?

Another common question is whether bachelor’s degrees from Charter Oak State College or Thomas Edison State College are recognized by reputable graduate schools. Our daughter Dianna discovered the answer to this question first-hand.

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Dianna’s Story

Like our son, Dianna wanted to go to law school. She completed her bachelor’s degree by earning credit-by-exam, taking one on-campus class and taking Charter Oak State College’s Cornerstone and Capstone courses. Dianna is now twenty years old and graduates in May of 2015 from the University of Texas Law School in Austin. For her to go from Charter Oak to UT’s Law School, which is the #9 law school in the nation, shows that a student’s undergraduate degree simply needs to be regionally accredited. (Of course, they need a stellar LSAT score too!)

Dianna saved not just valuable time using the credit-by-exam approach, but she also saved thousands of dollars.

It’s a financially responsible decision – less student loans!

This brings us to advantage #3. Credit-by-exam is a FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE approach to a college education.

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A few months ago, I took some of our children to the Health Museum in Houston. At the museum, there was a mental health exhibit where people from all walks of life had written down their fears. Fears for the future. Fears haunting from the past. Fears big and fears small.

But one particular fear captured my attention and made my heart tug. Written down on a piece of paper were the words, “I am afraid I won’t be able to pay off my student loans.”

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Student Loan Debt is Crippling!

Parents, student loan debt is an epidemic in our nation. In a story by the U.S. News & World Report, the Institute for College Access and Success it was reported that nearly 7 of 10 graduating seniors in 2013 left school with an average of $28,400 in student loan debt. Furthermore, the amount varied based on the college they attended. For some colleges, the debt ranged as high as $71,000. And for graduate school, the debt mounts even higher.

It’s just like coming out of school with a mortgaged home. Without the home.

Credit-by-exam is a wonderful alternative to the expense of traditional college.

Even if you decide to go the traditional college degree route, both dual credit and credit-by-exam can still save you significantly. Liberty University, for example, will allow students to bring in up to 60 college credits when they enroll. 60 college credits is equal to two years of college – and two years at Liberty is close to $60,000. That’s a hefty savings! And HSLDA calls it a 2-for-1 deal!

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Many colleges will accept only a few credits – perhaps 18, 24, or 30 – but earning those credits in advance of enrollment (or while enrolled) will still benefit your student. It won’t save as much time and money, but those dollars and hours add up!

Regardless of the college your student chooses, know their dual credit policy and earn as many as allowed! I’m happy to help you figure out what would be accepted and how to prepare your student for those exams!

We as parents need to know this kind of information and assist our kids with making wise financial decisions. We owe it to ourselves, our kids, and God to be wise stewards of what He has provided.

How We’ve Formatted the Dual Credit at Home Process

In the years since our children have started earning college credits by taking exams, we have had so many friends ask us how our kids were earning their bachelor’s degrees during high school. Over the years, we have fine-tuned the process and turned it into weekly lesson plans. They are now known as the Dual Credit at Home program. (These lesson plans are available at Dual Credit at Home.)

What is the real cost of this program?

Did you know that according to Consumerist, the average American worker spends $1,092.00 per year just on coffee? That is just for coffee. (My husband totally didn’t agree with this figure until he recently bought me a cup of coffee at a coffee shop. He immediately concurred that perhaps there’s some truth there!)

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But, consider this — the average cost of a bachelor’s degree earned from Charter Oak State College using our Dual Credit at Home study plans is less than $5,000.00, or five years’ worth of coffee! Thankfully when we’re saving this much on college, we don’t have to give up coffee! But $5,000 for a bachelor’s degree!?! With all the talk about the high cost of higher education, why aren’t we hearing this message? Because it isn’t a profitable option for brick and mortar schools. And that’s OK. There’s enough consumer demand for an on-campus college experience, and enough students and parents willing to pay for it, that those of us who prefer a different option can take it and get ahead of the pack!

A Debt-Free Scenario

Consider having your student earn their undergraduate degree using credit-by-exam and then having an on-campus experience in a master’s or graduate program! They would enter grad school at about 18-19 years of age. Debt-free!

How Dual Credit at Home is customizable to your family

We’ve talked about how credit-by-exam is achievable, reputable, and financially responsible, but now it’s time to talk about one of my favorite advantages —- it is CUSTOMIZABLE.

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Moms and Dads, we recognize that God made all of our children unique—and that they learn in unique ways, with interests, skills, and talents special to them. Unfortunately, a traditional college education does not take into account the uniqueness of a child.

Traditional education, especially now that we have entered the era of Common Core, is about producing a cookie cutter, production line of college graduates.

Self-study and earning credits by exam are the exact opposites.

Self-study at the college level gives your family the ability to customize a learning approach that complements your child’s interests, strengths, weaknesses, and existing schedule. If your child wants to accelerate, he can finish sooner than even Dual Credit at Home’s recommended plan of earning the first 57 college credits in 49 weeks. But what if your family already has a busy high school schedule or your child needs more time to study? That’s okay. CollegeBoard will bank your earned credits for up to twenty years! And while Dual Credit at Home is 49 weeks of lesson plans, most students spend about 2 years on average earning those 57 credits for several reasons…they’re still taking co-op classes, music lessons, sports, part-time jobs, etc.

You can even Start Before High School!

You can start your children on the road to earning dual credits even at a young age. One of our daughters blogs at Class Hacked, telling about her dual credit experience as she completes her BA degree this year! Another daughter, at 13 years of age, recently began taking CLEP exams and has earned twelve credits along with her regular school schedule.

Credit By Exam is Profitable in more ways than you might thing

The fifth advantage of credit-by-exam is that it is PROFITABLE for your student, and not just financially.

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This approach will challenge your student academically and help him learn crucial life skills, such as being self-motivated and how to think critically.

Albert Einstein believed that “the value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.”

Unfortunately, many colleges no longer train our children to think. In fact, today’s college students are spending far less time thinking and studying than previous generations.

A survey cited by the Washington Post discovered these astonishing figures. Out of the seniors surveyed at the University of Virginia, they averaged only 16 hours of study in a week. That is less than 2 1/2 hours PER DAY.

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Your child is capable of so much more than average! Credit-by-exam will help your child learn creatively.

They will be Challenged Academically

Dual credit studies are also academically challenging. As homeschoolers, we had a vision back when our kids were five or six that we could do better than traditional education, but often we’re not holding that bar very high when they reach high school.

Our kids can achieve much more than even we may think. Challenge them. Give them a vision. Your child will rise to what you as parents say…”I know you can do this, and we’re going to do this together.” You will be amazed at what your kids can do!

Instead of teaching to the test, college-level exams help your child learn how to thoroughly self-teach, a skill that they will treasure for the rest of their life, regardless of the subject.

College is the Foundation of your Child’s Future

College is not the sum total of your child’s education. College is only part of the foundation toward lifelong learning. It was Jon Acuff who summed it up accurately, “Your diploma is the start of your education, not the end.”

Build that foundation well.

Dual Credit At Home is Achievable for Your Family

The last advantage of credit-by-exam that I want to leave you with today is that it is DOABLE for your family. The last thing I want is to share this option with you and have you informed but overwhelmed. I want to show you the practical steps to earning a bachelor’s degree during high school.

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Remember, the dual credit approach is CUSTOMIZABLE, so while dual credit doesn’t have 87,000 possible combinations like Starbucks claims, it does have many more than you might expect.

Meet Emma one of my Dual Credit at Home students

Let me introduce you to a dual credit student — meet Emma. She’s fifteen, homeschooled, active in her church and sports, and volunteers every month at a local nursing home.

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Emma’s Not Sure of her Future

Emma’s an average student, enjoys being outside, struggles with a few subjects, and hasn’t quite decided what she wants to do with her life. She is thinking about becoming a coach, but is also interested in physical therapy.

Pause Emma for a moment — what about a student who doesn’t know what he or she wants to major in during college? How can credit-by-exam benefit them?

Most College Students are Unsure of their future

According to the National Center for Education, 80 percent of students will change their major in college. Also, their research revealed that students will change their major an average of three times.

The Cost of Uncertainty

Parents, this doesn’t just mean a change in the learning path. This means a major change in that student loan package and the number of years it takes for a student to earn their undergraduate degree.

The Benefit of Starting Even When Uncertain

I overheard a conversation one day between one of our sons and his younger sister. He asked her what she wanted to be. She said she didn’t know yet, and what he said next was full of wisdom. He said, “That’s okay. But if you’ll go ahead and get started, when you do decide, you’ll be half-way there.” He was telling her to go ahead and get both the high school credits AND the college credits for the core subjects earned. Then when she decided, she’d be ready to start on the courses for her major.

Starting Young Give your Child Freedom

Parents, this is one reason why I recommend the credit-by-exam approach. Give your child the freedom and time to decide on a major, but help them get closer to graduation by finishing up, to the extent that their college of choice allows, the general education requirements at home, saving both time and money.

Uncertain Emma Starts the Dual Credit at Home program

Back to Emma. She is unsure about her degree choice, but she knows that she has to complete the general education requirements. She eventually plans to enroll in Charter Oak State College because she likes the idea of earning up to 114 of the 120 credits needed by taking college-level exams.

Because Emma and her parents are new to the world of dual credit, they decide to purchase her lesson plans from Dual Credit at Home. (Dual Credit at Home is 49 weeks of our family’s actual lesson plans, delivered weekly by email or all 49 weeks at one time if requested that way.)

Where Emma is Headed

By the time she’s finished with Dual Credit at Home, Emma will have earned 57 college credits and learned the foundation of effective self-taught education. Emma will apply this same study/test approach to completing the remaining credits for her bachelor’s degree.

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Emma’s First CLEP Test

Equipped with her Dual Credit at Home lesson plans, Emma starts studying for her first CLEP, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature. On test day, her mom takes her to a local testing center, which can usually be found at a junior college or a four-year college in the area. You can locate a nearby testing center here at CollegeBoard’s website.

The Cost For CLEP Testing

The cost for Emma’s first exam will cost right at $100.00. Eighty dollars of this cost is spent online with CollegeBoard to purchase the exam and $15-$20 dollars goes to the testing center on the day of the test to cover their cost of proctoring exams. This literature test is typically worth 6 college credits (and therefore 2 high school credits). It would have cost Emma many times this amount to earn six college credits either in an on-campus classroom or from many colleges’ dual enrollment programs.

Emma’s On Her Way to a Degree!

At the end of the test, Emma instantly gets her score — and she finds out that she passed! Emma’s thrilled, mom and dad are excited, and they continue the process till Emma has earned 57 credit hours from following Dual Credit at Home’s study plans.

It took Emma about 1 ½ to 2 years to get this far because she took some time off from school each day to help care for a sick grandparent. She’s now sixteen, but over the last year, she’s decided that she wants to be a science teacher.

Emma Enrolls with Charter Oak College

Now that Emma has her 57 core credits banked with CollegeBoard and DSST, she applies for admission to Charter Oak and asks both testing organizations to transfer her credits so that she can matriculate, which means to pay the tuition and enroll in a degree seeking program. (Here’s a blog article explaining how to apply these 57 college credits to your child’s high school transcript. Always stay within state-specific high school requirements.)

Emma knows that she has to take Charter Oak’s Cornerstone course, which will teach research skills and also earn her three additional credits. This eight-week course is offered several times a year, so she can choose it at a convenient time. Emma will also take Charter Oak’s online Earth Science course, which will earn her the needed science lab credit (students can also earn this lab credit locally, perhaps at a junior college).

Emma Continues Earning College Credit from Home!

The process of earning the rest of her credits is just like what she did for the first 57. Dual Credit at Home has taught her how to study efficiently, so Emma is likely within one year of finishing. Emma has the list of requirements, so because she is now working with an advisor, she starts taking exams that will earn her 36 credit hours in her concentration (or her major), with 18 of those hours at the upper level for her major. (In fact, we enroll our own kids in Charter Oak State College only after they’ve accumulated 80-100 credits and we see the end in sight. That way we only pay for one year of tuition.)

Course Order Matters

It is important for Emma (and each student) to take exams in the correct order, and it is here that she is glad she followed Dual Credit at Home’s plan first. Because Emma had already taken the Natural Sciences exam, she’s now eligible to also take the Biology exam for additional credit. BUT, if Emma had taken the Biology exam first, she may not have been awarded the full number of credits allowed. Because Emma loves science, she may even go on to take the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) subject test in Biology, for up to twenty-four credits! This $150 test is worth a semester’s worth of science credit!

Emma Earns Elective Credits

She still needs a few electives to round out her hours, so because Emma enjoys reading, she decides to take some additional college-level exams in Literature and the GRE Literature test which is worth up to 18 credits. Not everyone loves reading or science, but there are also accredited exams in history, computer science, business, and many other subjects.

Emma Earns Her Bachelors Degree for $5000

After just a year with Charter Oak, Emma finishes earning her 120th college credit hour. She’s spent approximately $5,000.00 and she is two months shy of her eighteenth birthday. Emma can now pursue her teaching certificate or master’s degree. She has no student loans, so her future is bright. She does not have to make her future plans based on money.

Emma’s Story Could be your Story too!

Parents, Emma’s story may only have a few similarities to your student’s plan, but for every “Emma,” there are dozens of other students with similar paths laid out before them. Their names are Berkley, Caleb, Kristin, Julie, Mateo, Cassidy, Chloe, Seth, Marie…

And your child’s name can be listed right along with them! All it takes is you being willing to help YOUR child think outside the box.

Dare to be different. You’ve been creative this far. Stay that way!

Dual credit is doable. Other families are doing it and your family can too!

Let’s review the steps of how to earn a bachelor’s degree during high school once more.

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Dual Credit At Home Action Points to a College Degree

1. Choose the option of earning a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree from Charter Oak State College using credit-by-exam. Or chose to earn your degree from a different school and take advantage of their credit-by-exam policy.

2. Self-teach/study and take college-level exams to fulfill general education requirements as allowed by the school of choice. Using Dual Credit at Home’s Study Plans greatly simplifies this! Your student will learn how to study a subject and be ready to pass the exam – they’ll apply what they learn during this time to the process of completing the degree. We’ve worked into the Study Plans what we’ve learned as several of our kids have earned their degrees this way and gone on to law or graduate school.

3. Take additional exams to fulfill other degree requirements for your major and for electives. Accumulate credits with DSST and CollegeBoard – perhaps as many as 80-100 before enrolling. Remember, they will hold scores for 20 years!

4. Apply for admission to Charter Oak (or your school of choice) and request your testing transcripts be sent for evaluation. Charter Oak’s is a simple online application – it is NOT a traditional college application process where you may or may not be accepted.

5. Enroll in Charter Oak State College (As soon as they receive your transcripts they will evaluate the exam credits and apply them to your particular degree plan.)

6. Take Charter Oak State College’s Cornerstone Course (teaches research skills, online, 8 weeks, for 3 credits).

7. Take Charter Oak State College’s Earth Science course (if needed) to fulfill the science lab credit requirement. This step is not necessary if a student has earned a science lab credit from an accredited college.

8. Continue studying for and taking exams to fulfill the remaining credit requirements (120 credits needed – the general education requirements must be met, you must have 36 credits earned in the area of your concentration with 18 of those at the upper level, and you must earn the remaining credits in electives).

9. Take Charter Oak State College’s Capstone Course (write a faculty-approved paper summarizing your degree, online, 8 weeks, for 3 credits).

10. Graduate! Move into the career of your choice OR go on to graduate school.

Email me anytime at Becky@DualCreditAtHome.com. I’d love to help you as you are finding college options for your kids!

Or Visit our website to learn more: http://dualcreditathome.com/ 

SPECIAL DISCOUNT OFFER TO MONEYSMARTFAMILY.COM VISITORS

Receive $50 OFF of the discounted price of $1096 for the program (original price was $1495).

Just use the discount code: moneysmartfamily in the “Who Referred You” box when you enroll.

Becky also offers a free one-hour workshop about the Dual Credit program. Access the workshop here.

Read all of our Debt Free College Blog Series Here:

3 thoughts on “Smart College Idea: Save 80 Percent – Dual Credit at Home

  1. Julie

    I’ll echo Wendy’s comment about kids who don’t test well. CLEP and DANTES are great alternatives for those that do. College Plus walks you through the path if you need guidance. ALEKS.com is also ACE-accredited and offers college-level math classes (and lower, but only College Algebra and above typically transfer) at a very reasonable monthly or yearly tuition rate. Students work at their own pace. We had to petition for them to be accepted because schools are largely unfamiliar with them, but it’s McGraw-Hill (the textbook company) so they eventually were taken. Same with Latin in the Christian Trivium, which is accredited by the University of California. For students who do better in an online classroom, Allen Community College (Kansas) is a regular brick and mortar school that offers online classes for out of state students for $125 per credit INCLUDING BOOK RENTAL (I think 16 is the minimum age.) Students who do well can join Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society. My youngest got a $6k per year scholarship to her 1st choice university based on PTK. Charter Oak is a good school; Thomas Edison and Excelsior are similar. Each person needs to look at what they have credit-wise and see which of the three ends up less expensive.

    When they’re ready for the MBA, CSUDH.edu is the least expensive we found. Would be interested if others knew a less costly alternative.

    Reply
    1. Steve Economides

      Julie You are a college wizard – thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.

      Reply
  2. Wendy

    Great article, but not the best option for kids who don’t test well. My daughter took two clep tests and missed them both by a point or two. She is bright and had definitely studied. She is now taking dual enrollment classes online and doing well.

    Reply

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