Using Credit for Life Experience for Online Education

What is credit for life experience? today more than ever, people are avidly searching for quicker methods to achieve their education, including college degrees.

As a matter of fact, people are looking into ways that they can earn their college degrees fast and get to the finish line faster.

This has resulted in accelerated learning programs and accelerated degree programs becoming a popular and fast way of earning a degree.

But what are some of the ways and strategies that one can make use of to accelerate their learning by making use of their life experiences and earn a college degree fast?

Life Experience for Credit

Essentially, credit for life experience should actually be called "credit for life knowledge", because anyone who is interested in pursuing this path will need to demonstrate that they have acquired knowledge, rather than experience. Fortunately, prospective students, and particularly professionals who want to advance their career by earning a higher level degree, can convert their "life experiences" into college credits. This is a great way to accelerate a degree and alleviate at least some of the financial burden that college can create.

This method of degree acceleration, or reducing the amount of time it takes to acquire a degree, can be used at both types of colleges, whether the student chooses to attend an online college program or a traditional brick and mortar classroom. Although it is advisable to inquire at the college that a student is interested in to ensure that the proper avenue is taken to achieve credit for life experience, there are several ways that a prospective student can work on obtaining these credits.

CLEP, DANTES and Excelsior Exams

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is the most common method of proving life experience for college credits. Over 2900 accredited traditional schools and online colleges accept CLEP tests for credit toward an undergraduate degree. CLEP offers students the ability to take five general exams and 32 specific single-subject exams to prove their knowledge and expertise. The cost of each exam is a small percentage of the cost of an entire college course. College credits can be granted for each CLEP test that a student takes, advancing the student into higher level classes and accelerating the degree simultaneously.

The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES), which originally only catered to military personnel, now allows anyone from the general public who desires to earn "credit by examination" to take the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST). Military personnel have the upper hand, so to speak, above any civilians who choose to take a DSST, because the results of the examinations are automatically sent to SMART, or any of the other military educational transcript systems. Therefore, if that individual decides to enroll in college courses, the transcripts are easy to locate upon request. DSST exams are subject-specific and will cost less than $100 each to take.

There are 51 Excelsior credit-by-exams provided by the New York based Excelsior online college for life experience credit toward an undergraduate degree, but they may also be accepted by other colleges. These exams are priced much higher than the other types of life experience tests, however they are offered to military personnel who are considered active-duty at no cost.

Credit for Life Experience Beyond the Exams

Academic Portfolios - Although exams can identify the level of knowledge an individual has about a subject, there are plenty of prospective students and professionals that are planning to go back to school who find testing to be a difficult task. It is quite possible that these prospective students could design their own portfolio that includes letters of recommendation, or other documentation, from past employers, or other people who can vouch for their level of expertise. This option may require students to attend a course that outlines how to effectively create and build an academic portfolio.

Corporate Credit - Some regionally accredited colleges accept credits that are achieved through the CREDIT Program that is sponsored by the American Council on Education's (ACE) Program on Non-Collegiate Sponsored Instruction (PONSI). Most of these academic credits are obtained through successful completion of workplace learning programs that have been ACE approved.

Approved Credentials – ACE also offers certifications to professionals that may transfer into college credits for an undergraduate degree, such as the Certified Public Accountant or Certified Purchasing Manager credentials. Additionally, professional licenses such as the aviation license, health certifications or real estate licenses might be accepted as transferable life experience credits for some colleges.

Most colleges will only apply 30 credits toward an undergraduate degree for life experience, work and career credits altogether, but this is up to a year of college, so it is definitely worth the effort to investigate all of the possible "life" aspects that will transfer.

If you are interested in completing your degree online, keep in mind there are several online colleges that offer credit for life experience options, but you should contact the distance learning university of your choice to inquire about the options that the school offers for life experience credits. You may be surprised at how much credit you can obtain and how much financial burden can be lifted just by evaluating your knowledge and practical experience that you have already earned in your field or profession and converting it to credit for life experience towards your education.

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