Julie Lyles Carr: Of Tests, CLEPS, and Credits...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Of Tests, CLEPS, and Credits...

Now that's a provocative title, huh?

But is has been one of the leading areas of research and question as we transitioned 1 of 8 from our humble homeschool to the big world of Higher Education.

This week's posts have highlighted the newest chapter in our homeschool journey as 1 of 8 has started a new chapter in her educational story, her transition to a major university.

About 4 years ago, I began reading up on homeschoolers who were making the move on to college. One book that was quite insightful was Accelerated Distance Learning by Brad Voeller. His experience in earning college credit in a variety of venues was insightful and helped us begin to think through out-of-the-box approaches towards 1 of 8's next steps.

With the cost of a college education continuing to rise, Voeller's suggestions seem more apt than ever. I myself, back in the day, was able to earn two degrees in less than four years by means of CLEP tests, AP testing, ACT scores and 'life experience' credits...and those venues seem even more appropriate today with credit hour costs escalating.

1 of 8 began studying for her ACT about 12 months in advance of her testing date. We knew that preparation for that test and her subsequent scores would go a long way in determining her college placement. And as she worked through the review material, it helped us see where her strengths were and where we needed to go deeper in to some subjects. We treated the ACT prep as an important part of her curriculum for that year. And when her scores came in, it made that prep time all the more worth it.

We chose not to do the SAT with 1 of 8. Most schools accept either, and because 1 of 8 is such a strong writer, we knew that the writing component on the ACT would be a strength for her. We had also begun researching the dual credit program at our local community college system...and by 'we', I mean 1 of 8. Michael and I strongly encouraged 1 of 8 to track down the information herself, to make the phone calls, to write the emails, to keep pushing to get to the people with the answers she needed. 1 of 8 at times found this process uncomfortable and challenging.

All the better.

Because, as we all know, part of preparing for adult life is learning how to keep after the information you need. And we wanted 1 of 8 to own those skills.

So I suppose our first steps in transitioning 1 of 8 to the Big 12 began as she started high school in our homeschool. Test prep and information gathering became crucial components for training.

1 of 8 and I will be joint posting tomorrow as I 'interview' her again about her degree plans, the CLEP credits she will be earning and her overall impression of the process. Stay tuned!

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