Caitlin Anderson

  • What is CLEP?



    What is CLEP?

    1. A disease that causes you to lose sleep.

    2. A subject-specific test that allows students to earn college credit.

    3. Chinese Lunar Exploration Program.

    4. Choices 1 & 3

    5. Choices 2 & 3

    The answer is 5. But, for the sake of Accelerated Pathways and this blog, we’re going to focus in on answer 2. I’m not qualified to speak knowledgeably about the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program.

    CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program. In the simplest of terms, CLEP lets you earn college credit for a specific college subject by taking a single exam. Think of it like taking the course final. The only difference between CLEP and a traditional college course is that instead of sitting in lectures for hours at a time, you teach yourself.

    That’s right: you study independently and then take the test.

    CLEP, part of a subset of exams known as “credit by examination,” was developed by The College Board—the same people who brought us the SAT and AP credit. Like DSST and other credit by examination options, CLEP is a way for students to save time and money while earning college credit.

    The College Board offers 33 CLEP exams, covering a variety of lower-division college subjects. Topics range from languages (like Spanish and German) to science and mathematics. If you take a look at the list of available CLEP exams, chances are you'll find one that interests you. And chances are at least a few of these nifty exams are accepted as credit at your college.

    In fact, over 2,900 college and universities accept CLEP credit. And those aren’t just the obscure, backwater colleges either. It’s been recognized by some major players on the college scene. Here’s a list of a few major universities that accept CLEP credit:

    • Georgetown University

    • Purdue

    • Princeton University

    • UCLA

    • Penn State

    What am I getting at here? CLEP isn't "fake" college credit. Prestigious universities like Princeton and Georgetown wouldn't touch it if it wasn't quality. Which means, these $100 exams can help you substantially cut down on the cost of your bachelor’s degree.

    One Caution: Transferring CLEP Credit

    Just because CLEP is accepted at over 2,900 institutions across the United States doesn’t mean it’s accepted at your institution or for your specific degree program. One of the most dangerous aspects of taking CLEP credit is the possibility that you will spend just over $100 on an exam only to find out your college won’t accept CLEP credit for that particular subject.

    So while we recognize CLEP as an exceedingly helpful tool for students who want to graduate college debt free, we urge you to understand your college’s transfer policies before taking an exam. Get in contact with the school to ensure they’ll accept that CLEP credit for your specific degree program.

    This process can, unfortunately, be tedious. Especially if you’re interested in taking several CLEP, DSST, online courses, or other forms of alternative credit during your college experience. But, the good news is, you don’t have to do it alone. We can help!

    In order to guarantee all of the your CLEP, DSST, or other credits transfer to your chosen college, enlist the help of the professionals here at Accelerated Pathways. We’ll build you a free customized Degree Plan, which will help you graduate from your chosen college entirely debt free. When creating your plan, we’ll help you lower your college costs by including any forms of alternative credit (like CLEP or self-paced, online courses) that your college will accept. Click here to learn more about what we do.

    We think pursuing CLEP credit as a way to lower the cost of your degree is an amazing—if difficult—option. Just be ready to put in some hard work. These exams are entirely self-directed, which means you won’t have a teacher watching your back. You need to be confident you’ve learned every inch of your subject before taking your exam.

    Check out the CLEP website, Free CLEP Prep, as well as Instant Cert for more information about how these exams work as well as the best resources to use when preparing for an exam.

    Then, when you’re ready, register for a test on the CLEP website, and start earning credit.

    Good luck!


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  • Nine Presidents, No Degree



    Quick! Can you name the nine U.S. presidents without college degrees? Hint: two of them are on Mount Rushmore. (Answer at the bottom of the post.)

    While I was researching the study habits of the Founding Fathers last week, I became slightly discouraged. It seemed like every Founding Father had started off as a Boy Genius. Most of us can’t compare with being appointed as an Ambassador as an early adolescent, let alone being fluent in the Classical languages.

    I had mentally lumped the Founding Fathers and the presidents together. But I was wrong. I discovered there have been nine presidents who never attended college or completed a degree.

    So how did they make it to the White House?

    Two things—literacy and a healthy dose of curiosity.

    Each one of these presidents knew their education had been limited—some of them with as little of one year of formal schooling! Each of them made the decision to own their education and take it beyond the classroom. They filled their libraries with great books. When they wanted to know something, they would go to an expert source. They knew an education could be gained without years in school. They studied law without going to law school. They had tutors and mentors—men that they trusted for information.

    In time, they became the experts.

    Would any of them make it to the White House today? Probably not. Our modern, information-saturated society, unfortunately, believes education must take place in the traditional classroom setting. Having a college degree makes presidential candidates attractive. It makes anyone attractive. It’s “essential.”

    But here’s the rub. You don’t ever have to step inside a lecture hall to be educated, no matter what the college admissions officer tells you. It isn’t daily attendance to lectures that make someone great. It’s the desire to learn. The curiosity that propels you to study, to know a subject deeply.

    When you combine that curiosity with practical life experience, you have raw potential for greatness on your hands.

    That’s actually one of the main appeals of Accelerated Pathways. Accelerated Pathways students are gaining real-life experience while earning college degrees outside of the traditional classroom. For them, it isn’t an either/or situation. They do both (and so can you).

    While our modern society’s eyes are fixed on the diploma, nine of our U.S. presidents have proven that it takes more than just a college degree to achieve greatness. What can you do in addition to earning your degree that will set you apart?

    And if you’re still curious, the nine presidents who didn’t go to college are: George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, and Harry Truman.

    Liked this post? You may also enjoy “Teaching is Impossible,” According to Revolutionary Psychotherapist.

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  • 10 Companies That Can Save You From College Debt


    10 Companies That Can Save You From College Debt

    Originally, this article was going to be titled “Why I Love Starbucks.” As a former barista, I can say the company was good to me. Not only did I get cheap health insurance, great hours, and a flexible schedule, but I got something that really helped me graduate college debt-free: tuition reimbursement.

    Yes, Starbucks gave me money to go to college. 

    It wasn’t much, but $1,000 goes a long way in saving you from college debt. Between my paycheck, tuition reimbursement, Pearson Accelerated Pathways savings, and some money from my parents (which I quickly paid back), I was able to graduate without a single student loan hanging over my head.

    I could wax poetic, proclaiming the virtues of Starbucks—why it’s the perfect job for a college student, especially an Accelerated Pathways student—but I’ll save that for another post.

    For now, it’s time to get smart about your job. 

    What Are Tuition Reimbursement Programs?

    Simply put, tuition reimbursement programs are an employee benefit in which an employer agrees to pay a set amount of your educational expenses. Some companies hand out big bucks to employees, while others just pay a few hundred dollars toward school. Others offer scholarships to their employees’ children. The programs vary, so you’ll want to take some time and research your options. 

    How Do Tuition Reimbursement Programs Work?

    You’ll want to remember that each company’s reimbursement program works differently. For example, Starbucks’ program allows students to pursue any major offered by ASU Online. Other companies, such as BP, offer assistance only to employees who pursue opportunities that benefit both the employee and the company. The bottom line is this: if you’re an aspiring pastry chef, for example, and accept a job at a financial services firm because it has a great tuition reimbursement program, you’ll want to make sure the program actually covers culinary school.

    10 Companies Offering Tuition Reimbursement

    If you want to graduate college debt-free, you’ll have to work hard. Below is a list of 10 companies that offer full or partial educational assistance. 

    1.  Apple

    Apple provides employees with unspecified reimbursement toward approved educational expenses, including tuition. Career opportunities are available in their retail centers, in customer support, software services, design, and marketing.d.  

    2. BP

    BP’s tuition assistance program reimburses eligible employees up to 90% of their vocational and educational expenses, provided the employee receives approval before registering for the course. BP offers employment for students, recent graduates, and experienced professionals in communications, external affairs, engineering, ethics, and compliance, to name a few. 

    3. Discover

    Discover offers fully-paid, online bachelor’s degrees to U.S.-based part-time, flex-time and full-time employees. Tuition is pre-paid directly to the university. Expenditures for books, supplies and other qualified fees are reimbursed. Individuals interested in working at Discover can apply for jobs in account support, financial services, cardmember services, and other departments. 

    4. Disney

    Disney pays 100% of tuition to Disney Aspire network schools. Hourly, part-time and full-time employees are eligible to participate in the program. The company employs theme park staff, software engineers, accountants, animation experts, sales associates, and a variety of other professionals.

    5. Home Depot

    Home Depot offers tuition reimbursement of up to $6,000 per year for career-relevant education and pays up to $2,500 reimbursement per year for employees’ immediate family members. Employment opportunities are available at the company’s retail stores and corporate office.  

    6. Lowe’s

    Lowe’s provides up to $2,500 in tuition reimbursement per fiscal year for full-time employees who have been employed with the organization for more than 12 months. Similar to Home Depot, employment opportunities are available at both their corporate and retail locations.  

    7. Nike

    Nike’s continuous learning benefits vary based on location, however tuition reimbursement programs are available through a variety of educational programs. Nike hires staff for numerous positions, such as sales associate, technical product manager, and data analyst. 

    8. Starbucks

    Starbucks offers 100% tuition coverage for part-time and full-time employees toward first-time online bachelor degrees through Arizona State’s University. Positions are available at both their retail locations and its corporate office.  

    9. Target

    Target provides tuition reimbursement for all exempt and some non-exempt employees toward approved undergraduate, graduate, and MBA coursework. Annual program caps are set at $3,000 for undergraduate tuition, $4,000 per year toward graduate tuition, and $5,250 per year toward MBA tuition. Target offers positions in areas, such as in store management, merchandising, customer support, shipping, and human resources.  

    10. Verizon Wireless

    Verizon Wireless offers tuition assistance to part-time employees, full-time employees and their family members. Their VZTAP program reimburses up to $8,000 per year for full-time staff and up to $4,000 per year for part-time staff. However,  employees who pursue their degrees through Belleview University receive additional benefits. Under their joint partnership agreement, full-time Verizon employees who attend Bellevue University receive up to $13,250 per year, part-time employees receive up to $8,000 per year, and their family members may receive up to $2,500 per year. Verizon offers positions in sales, marketing technology, account management, customer support, supply chain logistics, and other departments. 

    Save Money No Matter Where You Work

    “But wait,” you may say. “I already have a job, and it’s not with one of these companies! What about me?”

    Never fear—there are always options for saving money on college, no matter where you work!

    If you’ve already got a job, ask your employer about tuition reimbursement. Your company may have a program you simply don’t know about.

    And if you’re really interested in living the debt-free lifestyle, consider completing college through an affordable college program such as Accelerated Pathways. Accelerated Pathways is an exciting way to approach your college education—one that doesn’t tie you down with a location, schedule, or debt—giving you more freedom and flexibility than any traditional college campus has to offer.

    Click here to learn more about how Accelerated Pathways saves you time and money on your bachelor’s degree, no matter where you work.

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