4 Reasons to do College Online

College is crazy expensive nowadays.

But it doesn’t have to be, especially if you pursue an online degree. There are definitely tricks to spending less on your diploma, and I’ll share several below.

Skip the Math

If you decide on an online degree (or even if you don’t!), you do not have to earn every credit from the institution you choose. Most colleges will accept CLEP test credits.

CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program. And these little guys can save you hundreds and thousands of dollars.

A CLEP test is basically like the final exam for a subject. Let’s say you are majoring in history and happen to be pretty great at math. But you’re not interested in spending an entire semester to pass a college mathematics course when you could just take the test and be done with it.

That’s where CLEP examinations come in. For a fee (a little over $100, depending on the location), you can take a 90-minute exam and be done with college math forever!

There are tons of CLEP exams to choose from, and in a variety of subjects. Some are worth three credits, some six, and a choice few are worth nine! Just think: $100 for six credits! You can peruse the list yourself here at the CLEP website. More information can be found here at CollegeBoard.

DSSTs are another type of test similar to CLEP, but they are graded a bit differently. Often if you can’t find just the right CLEP for your needs, DSST might have what you’re searching for. You can find more information on DSST exams here.

Another thing about CLEPs and DSSTs is you can utilize them even if you aren’t considering an online degree. Most colleges will accept them, and they can shave some money off your overall college costs.

Do be sure to check your college’s acceptance policy.

Some universities are a lot more flexible than others. My alma mater, Thomas Edison State University, is one of the most flexible where CLEPs are concerned. Check it out here!

Save your Cash

There is no doubt — an online university can save you thousands!

For example, four 3-month semesters at Thomas Edison State University (and I only needed 365 days because I was able to transfer so much CLEP and DSST credit) cost between $8,000 and $9,000.

And I was an out of state student.

That’s not even close to what an in-state student has to pay to attend a physical university when you factor in room and board (in some cases more than the tuition fees themselves).

And even if room and board is not a problem, gas money and other transportation costs add up quickly.

Study with your Cat

You can do school in your pajamas. I mean if you really want to, no one will stop you!

You can study with your cat. You can research in your living room. You can write your final paper at Starbucks (I actually did). You can read on an airplane.

And you can do it whenever you want. If you’re a night owl, you can cram until 5a.m. If you’re a morning person, you can get up at 5a.m., study your heart out, and go to bed when your grandparents do.

You can also have a job. I’m going to brag a little more about Thomas Edison for a minute. This university is focused on providing a flexible education for people who already have jobs and families. It is especially considerate toward members of the military, which I think is pretty neat.

Succeed Ahead of the Pack

If you build your own education using CLEP or DSST exams, and/or online go-at-your-own pace courses, you can fly through your education and come out before everyone else!

Each person is different of course. I took almost four years to earn my degree. But others have done it in much less time. And if you complete your last class in February or some other abnormal month like I did, it allows you to hit the job market before the spring graduation.

So How does it Work?

Studying without the accountability of seeing your professor’s face turn red when you forgot something or observing how well everyone else in your class is faring does require self-discipline.

It also requires a lot of research and knowledge. There are so many options out there it can feel quite overwhelming.

And I know because I was there.

In my next College post, “5 Things you should Know about Online College”, I’ll share tips from what I learned, tools you’ll want, and how you can totally succeed in your virtual education!

Have you attended school online and want to share your experience? Or do you have questions I didn’t answer? Regardless of the case, drop a comment and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have!

Want more posts like this? Check out my blog Writing Life here for posts on writing, unusual words, fun quotes, and more!

Photo credit: violetta via Pixaby cc

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