As someone who’s constantly looking for ways to earn alternative college credit, I’ve experienced firsthand the stress and frustration of finding good information and resources online.
With the advent of the internet and growing acceptance of web-based learning tools, new educational websites, forums, online programs, and MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) are sprouting out like mushrooms.
How exactly do you know which ones legit? Which websites and online programs are worth your time and hard earn smackeroos?
Don’t worry. I’m here to help you separate the chaff from the grain.
Here are, in no particular order, ten helpful websites for alternative college seekers.
10 Websites for Alternative College Credit Seekers
A great resource for everything you need to know about alternative college credit.
Jennifer’s StraighterLine Dissected article is the most comprehensive break down of StraighterLine courses I’ve ever seen. It has a list of SL courses without proctored exams, approved AP courses, and even courses you can’t pass unless you pass the final exam.
She also writes about her top ten suggested SL courses to take. I also refer to her list of Discount Codes.
The website contains information on accelerating your Bachelor’s degree completion through transferring credits and testing out of Bachelor’s degree through “The Big 3 Schools”.
One of my favorite online resources.
Despite the name, Free CLEP Prep also offers free resources for DSST and Excelsior exams. The website gives good advice, sample tests, and invaluable information about the different exams available. It has free study guides and even an exam difficulty list.
InstantCert Academy provides students with online study guides which can help them prepare for the CLEP, DSST, and ECE tests.
InstantCert is famous for their DegreeForum, a very active online community with over 200,000 members sharing their thoughts and experiences on alternative college education, alternative college credit, online course reviews, discussions on the “Big Three” colleges, and many more.
The website details how one student got his Bachelor’s degree in a month.
One of the pioneers in testing out of a degree. The concept is still relevant, but the plans are several years out of date.
An alternative to REA test prep books.
They offer DANTES and CLEP guides, sample test questions, review materials including flashcards. Their test study guides cost $35.97.
First, you need to register in order to get your courses approved by ACE.
You can use the Credit Database Search to check if your specific courses and exams have been evaluated and recommended for college credit.
The NCCRS (National College Credit Recommendation Service), formerly National PONSI, evaluates outside education and training programs for college credit equivalency.
Use the CCRS Online Directory to check if your specific courses have been evaluated for college credit.
If you’re fluent in a foreign language, you can earn as much as 6 lower division credits and 6 upper division credits by passing any of their official language proficiency exams.
The ACTFL OPI language proficiency exams are available in more than 120 languages. It is a 30-minute one-on-one telephone interview between a tester and examinee.
You don’t need fluency in a foreign language to pass. For foreign language learners, you can still earn 3 lower-division credits as a novice speaker.
Your score depends on your how well you speak the language and the credits you earn are approved by the American Council on Registry and Transcript System (ACE)
I’ve put this on the very last for a reason: It’s expensive!
DIY Degree is a website launched by Jay Cross, a college student who used credit-by-examination to graduate more quickly. His website aims to help self-motivated and career-minded students graduate faster by self-directing their education.
I tried his services but I’m honestly not convinced it was worth the money.