I do life differently. When the majority of the American College students are living and attending their chosen universities across the globe, I live at home. My bedroom is my classroom. My books and laptop are my teachers. I teach myself college far away from any dorm room. By studying for various exams I can test out of college courses for an average of $110 per course. Most of my resources are free, thanks to the library and the internet. My education is at my own pace, therefore I never “fall behind.”
When the majority of the American College students are living and attending their chosen universities across the globe, I live at home. My bedroom is my classroom. My books and laptop are my teachers. I teach myself college far away from any dorm room. By studying for various exams I can test out of college courses for an average of $110 per course. Most of my resources are free, thanks to the library and the internet. My education is at my own pace, therefore I never “fall behind.”
A few reasons went into this decision.
First, College is expensive. Collegedata.com claims the average cost per year for public college is $9,650 for state residents and $24,930 for out of state attendees. Private colleges average $33,480. If I take the average 30 credits a year and with each test, you can earn between 3-6 credits, I will pay $1,100 or less per year. Once I get around 90 credits, I will transfer to an online school for the last year and pay the $9,650 rate. I will get my degree for less than $15,000 total if I solely follow this route.
Second, I love to travel. My wanderlust costs me the money I save, at least it feels that way. I’ve spent three months living with my cousin and her family to help her move. I took road trips across the country with friends. I even traveled to Asia with my dad, all during standard course terms. I decide the best time for me to learn and it gives me the freedom to go where I want to go. I go when it is convenient for others and costs less for me since the average student is in class.
Third, I don’t need to spend months on information I already know. If I know the topic well, I can spend days or weeks reviewing before getting credit for that knowledge. If I am struggling with a topic, I can spend more time on what I do not understand. I always look for the best ways to grasp a topic quickly and have found an abundance of resources quite effective.
Thre are two main tests as well as various online resources to achieve credit at your own pace.
CLEP (College Level Examination Program)
College Board offers 33 subject tests that give a good overview of your Gen-Eds. For courses you know well the REA Study Guides are a good investment, but you can review in other ways. I started out buying REA for every exam I took but it isn’t comprehensive enough for the history exams. Each REA Study Guide contains review chapters and two practice tests. Studies show the more practice tests you take the better your grades will be. check out this TED Talk for more info.
DSST (DANTES Subject Standardised Test)
With over 30+ DSST exams you can get a few more specialized courses into your degree. Anthropology, ethics, world religions, and History of specific eras can all be found in the DSST catalog. They don’t have a specific book, however, Instantcert, an online flashcard service, provides a good overview of both CLEP and DSST courses. They also have a specific forum for exam feedback that is vital to keep up to date on what to study.
All of the credits I have received are from these two. If you have a more medical bend chek out Excelsior College.
Great online classes- Though I have not personally used these sites, I know many students who found success with them.
If you want this kind of education but need more direction check out Lumerit Education, an online college that encourages Distance Learning and will walk you through your degree plan.
If you want more course specific resources check out some of my future posts!
Be sure to check out your college’s policy on transferring CLEP and DSST exams. Not every school accepts them even though the are ACE Accredited.
cover P.C. Ilaria Rossini
Have you Experienced Any form of Accelerated Distance Learning? Comment below!