Posted in HS4CC

Mary Margaret’s Story: 100 Credits and Counting

I want to introduce you to a rising 12th grader named Mary Margaret. I met her mom before COVID, back when my local public library allowed me to give free college workshops to the homeschool community in person. Since my audience is typically only adults, it’s always a pleasant surprise to meet a teen, but I had no idea…

My name is Mary Margaret Lewis. I am a rising senior in high school and I have completed coursework for my AA degree. This is the story of how I did it.

In the winter of my Sophomore year, my Mom and I attended a presentation by Mrs. Cook-DeRosa about Homeschooling for College Credit at our local library. We had no idea where that presentation would lead! Other than Advanced Placement exams and some community college classes, we had no idea how much was available to us in North Carolina.

I had already registered to take three AP exams that May, but soon after listening to Mrs. Cook-DeRosa, I completed the Modern States course and CLEP exam for US History I (material I learned as a freshman). I passed the exam and decided to give this ‘degree thing’ a try.

I enrolled at the community college and began taking online classes the summer in between 10th and 11th grade. I originally planned to complete the Associates in Science degree by the end of high school. After studying for and passing more CLEP exams, a few more AP exams, and some more community college classes, I realized that the Associates in Arts degree could be earned earlier than the Associates of Science. I changed pathways and now I’m a month away from starting my senior year with a degree already “in hand.” 

Looking back, I noticed a few things that I find interesting about my journey:

  • First, because of COVID, all of my college classes were online.
  • Second, I never took more than two dual enrollment classes in any one semester.
  • Third, Modern States provided the vouchers that paid for my CLEP exams and the preparation that allowed me to pass those exams on the first try.
  • Finally, developing a strategy for earning my Associates Degree became like a game to me—I regularly reviewed my plan and checked the community college website to determine if there was a better way to reach my goal.

If I can do it, you can do it!

Cost Breakdown

Community College classes – I only paid student fees and text books (Note: North Carolina covers tuition at the community college for high school students who participate in the state’s dual enrollment program. If your state doesn’t offer free dual enrollment, look at our list of out of state programs here.)

CLEP – Tests and proctoring are free with a voucher from Modern States. I only paid for one proctor fee because I messed up the paperwork! (Note: anyone of any age/grade can take unlimited free CLEP exams under this voucher program. Read more here.)

Advanced Placement – I paid for classes and exam fees. (Note: while anyone can develop their own official AP courses, you have to find a local high school willing to let you take an AP test.)

Total number of college credits – 100!

Below is the path I followed since attending the “Homeschooling for College Credit” workshop

Sophomore Year 


  • CLEP US History I (3 credits)
  • AP US Government and Politics (3 credits)
  • AP Macroeconomics (3 credits)
  • AP Latin (11 credits)

Junior Year 


  • ACA 122 College Transfer Success (1 credit) -Dual enrollment college course
  • COM 231 Public Speaking (3 credits) -Dual enrollment college course
  • CLEP College Algebra (4 credits)
  • CLEP College Composition (3 credits)


  • MAT 172 Pre-Calculus Trigonometry (4 credits) -Dual enrollment college course
  • CLEP Spanish Language Levels 1 and 2 (12 credits)


  • CHM 151 General Chemistry with Lab (4 credits) -Dual enrollment college course
  • ENG 112 Writing and Research in the Disciplines (3 credits) -Dual enrollment college course
  • CLEP English Literature (6 credits)
  • CLEP Humanities (6 credits)
  • AP European History (6 credits)
  • AP Computer Science A (3 credits)

Senior Year


  • GEO 111 World Regional Geography (3 credits) -Dual enrollment college course
  • GEO 131 Physical Geography (4 credits) -Dual enrollment college course

-Fall (To Come)

  • MA 201 Calculus (3 credits) -Dual enrollment college course
  • HO 201 Homer/Vergil (3 credits) -Dual enrollment college course

Spring (To Come)

  • AP Statistics (4 credits)
  • AP Physics 1 and 2 (8 credits)

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Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit