Understanding the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) for Military Personnel

Posted in Blog

What Is CLEP?

The College Level Examination Program, better known as the CLEP, is a program that is available through multiple colleges and may be available on base too. You typically spend two hours or less working on the exam, and based on the score you receive, you’ll earn a certain number of credits that you can then transfer to the college or university that you want to attend. This program serves as a good way for military personnel to earn college credits before signing up for classes.

CLEP exams cover social sciences, composition, science, mathematics, world languages and business. Some military bases also offer CLEP testing services.

How Much Does CLEP Cost?

The College Board maintains a database of schools that award college credits for CLEP exams, but check your university's website to find the most up-to-date information. Each CLEP exam costs $89, plus administrative fees.

Why Take A CLEP Exam?

A single college course can cost hundreds of dollars at a community college or thousands of dollars at a university. Many military personnel find that introductory level courses designed for 18-year-old freshmen are not needed for older and more experienced members of the military. By contrast, a CLEP exam is usually free and takes only 90 minutes. Even if some studying is required, the overall time commitment for a CLEP exam is much less than a standard college course. Finally, CLEP tests are a much better fit for the busy lifestyles of active duty members of the military who can study for the tests on their own schedule.

Courses You Can Take

According to the official website for this examination program, you can take exams relating to more than 30 different topics. Exams can help you show that you have a good understanding of Spanish and other foreign languages, information systems, biology, American government and other topics. You can also use the website to find out where you can take these exams and to sign up to take one or more.

Why Use This Program?

The biggest reason to use this program is because it lets you save on the cost of your higher education. Attending a private university can cost more than $35,000 a year, and even attending a community college can cost a few thousand dollars a year. Schools base the cost of classes on the number of credits that you earn in those classes. Taking an exam is often less expensive than signing up for one of those classes, and you can even retake that exam if needed to score higher. Signing up for this program can also help you save time and reduce the amount of time that you spend working on your degree.

Accepting CLEP Credits

Before taking the CLEP, you need to find out if the school that you want to attend will accept the credits that you earned. Contacting the school directly is the best way to find an answer to your question. Talk with the Dean of Admissions or another person within the admissions department. You can also do a simple search on the school’s website or turn to the CB for help. The CB website includes a list of schools that will accept credits earned via these examinations, though you may find that some of that information is outdated.

Tips on How to Prepare for the Examinations

You need to review the exam descriptions to help you know how much time is allowed. Become familiar with the sample questions and get to know the testing platform. Understand how the marks are distributed and study every day. You also need to check with your college to see how many credits you will earn.You cannot afford to ignore the importance of the examinations discussed in this list, especially if you want to make your study life stress-free. The examinations discussed above only require your commitment and adequate preparation to pass.

Defense Activity for Non Traditional Education Support (DANTES)

According to the College Board, the organization responsible for administering these exams, the Defense Activity for Non Traditional Education Support, funds these exams. Also known as DANTES, it allows students enlisted in a military branch to save money on their education expenses. The College Board states that DANTES will cover the cost of these examinations for military personnel on current active duty status as well as those who enlist in one of the reservist branches. DANTES will also fund the exams for civilian employees of the Air Force and other branches as well as the spouses of military personnel.

Why Should You Take the Exam While in the Military?

Some students may wonder why they should sign up and take one of these examinations while in the military. If you want to enroll in college after completing your service, taking even one exam will significantly reduce the amount of money that college costs later. As DANTES will pay for the exam, you can get some of the required credits out of the way early on, which will then reduce how long you spend in school. You may find that some of the duties you do in the military can help you on some of these tests too.

Where Can You Take the Exams?

Approximately 1,800 campuses across the United States offer the College Level Examination Program for students. This number also includes military bases associated with the Air Force, Marines and other branches of the military. Taking an exam on base can help you save some time because you do not need to travel to a local campus, arrange to take time away from your duties or borrow a car to get to a testing center. Bases that offer the exam will require that you show ID and often allow both enlisted personnel and civilians to take the exam.

Finding a Testing Center

Finding a testing center is much easier than you might think because you can find all the information that you need on the College Board website. The site actually lets you search for the name of a specific college, but you can also search for testing centers in a specific state. It will then show you all the colleges and bases that administer the exam in the state you selected. You can also use the College Board website to sign up for one or more exams and register for a testing date.While in the military, you can enroll in a college that offers classes for military and start work on your degree, or you can take exams and gain credit for the knowledge you already have.

Tags: Military Education

Related Stuff