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College Plus and CLEP testing vs. "Real" college

As I write this, my son Sam is taking a CLEP test in Natural Science. We went in and paid $25 to the college for administering the test and then $77 for the CLEP people. He paid this himself this time.  If he is successful, that will mean he gets 6 college credits for $102. If he were to take the same course as a class he would pay closer to $2000 for the same 6 credits.

Some of my friends who have their kids on the dual credit track, or who are having their kids on a college prep course in high school have been leery of this path Sam is on. A couple of them have said that college is more than acdemic credit - that they want their kids to have the "college experience" of interacting with other students and professors and being stretched socially as well as academically. They want a complete package. And that's great.

But at the end of this journey, if Sam is successful and stays true to this path, he will have an accredited college degree, just like his friends that use dual credits or that go to the traditional school. In that regard they will have equal footing in the "real world" when looking for employment, filling out resumes and going into interviews. The difference might be that Sam will be able to work more and put away more money, and he will be spending less. In fact he will probably come out of this without any debt for his eduation at all.

But he will also have grown in the real world as he deals with his boss, and with costumers and with managing his school and his work schedules and trying to fit all of that including studying into his week. He is enrolled with College Plus to help with that. Sure, this isn't the "traditional" (albeit only about 100 years or so ) way of doing things, but if the result is to become an educated individual able to tackle the rigors of adult life including gainful employment, then I think Sam will be amply prepared.

And for those who think CLEP exams are not as rigorous as the course, here are some samples.
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