Sneaky and Little-Known Ways to Get Credit for Classes


As with anything, there are ways to get around the traditional constraints of academic college life. Instead of actually attending all of your classes for the entire four or five years of your college career, you can learn how to cut a few corners and save yourself some time.

If you’re still a high school student, great! You’ve got opportunities that you can take now that will save you time and money in the future. Many states offer programs that allow qualifying high school students to take college courses at actually college campusus in lieu of their high school classes, and while earning dual high school and college credit. They will usually cover the cost of tuition and all the books you will need for your classes. I did this, and it saved me thousands of dollars and at least a year and a half. If you’re too late to take advantage of this, store it away in your memory and encourage your younger siblings, friends, family, future children, etc. to utilize these little-known tricks.

Another option for high school students is to take Advanced Placement (AP) classes while in high school. These are college level courses taught in your high school by high school teachers. Students earn college credit for these courses only when they earn a qualifying score on the national exams. If you don’t get a high enough score, you might not get any credit for it, but at least it shows your willingness to take on difficult tasks.

For those students already in school, there are other cool ways to get college credit, without having to sit in a boring lecture for 16 weeks:

  • CLEP examinations allow you to take tests on various subjects. If you score high enough, you will earn college credit for an equivalent course at your college. Usually CLEP tests will cover basic, general topics and lower level courses. If you’re a math genius and math isn’t your going to be your major, why not test out of it and save yourself some time?
  • DANTES tests also allow you to test out of certain classes and earn college credit. This was initially designed for military members, but has since been extended to include civilian students as well.
  • Some schools also have their own test-out programs where you can test out of certain classes and earn credit, but not through the CLEP or DANTES tests. Check your college catalog or handbook to see if they offer any such programs.
  • Life Experience Credit is something that many schools will offer to adult students. If you’ve been working in the business world for years and have applicable skills, but no college level training in that skill, you can sometimes earn college credits for knowing what you already know. You’ll just need to make sure you have documentation, and again, check with your college catalog and/or ask an admissions counselor.
  • Correspondence courses are another interesting way to get credit for classes without actually attending. You can study on your own, and send in assignments via mail or email, and take tests close to home proctored at another school or library near you. This is a great way to get some classes done that you are already familiar with, and don’t feel like sitting in a lecture for. Some correspondence courses allow you to work at your own pace.
  • Get an internship. Many college and majors allow you to work in internship (paid or unpaid) positions in a field relative to your major. You can earn a certain number of credits for the hours that you work. Check with your advisor for more information. Many schools cap off the number of work hours you can apply to degree requirements.

So those are some of the crafty little ways I know about to get credit without actually going to class. Do you guys have any other ideas or tricks up your sleeves?

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