Posted in HS4CC

CLEP, AP, or Dual Enrollment?

Different types of college credit help your teen in different ways and accomplish different goals. The biggest question is which one will serve YOUR TEEN better than the others?

CLEP, Advanced Placement (AP), and dual enrollment are really going to serve different audiences for different reasons. There really isn’t one “best” option for all students, but let’s start with a few key differences between them.

Credit by Exam

Both CLEP and AP are forms of earning college credit by exam. This is distinctly different than earning college credit by taking a course. When you attempt credit by exam, there are a few big points to consider.

  • Not all colleges award/honor college credit by exam, but over half will!
  • Credit by exams can be match up with courses you’re already studying. These exams follow a regular curriculum. For public / private high schools, this is usually done with AP, but homeschool parents can do this for AP or CLEP.
  • Parents decide which curriculum to use for “learning” the subject.
  • Test prep materials follow “learning” and are readily available.
  • Practice tests are readily available.
  • Failing can be kept confidential.
  • One single test determines whether or not college credit is earned.
  • College credit earned by exam replaces the need to take that class in college.
  • Credit by exam is VERY low cost.
  • Credit by exam is not given a letter grade, it is recorded as “credit” or “pass” on a college transcript and has no impact on your GPA.
  • Anyone of any age living anywhere can take credit by exam.

Credit by Course

Dual enrollment is most typically what you think of when you think of earning college credit. In this instance, a student is taking a college course (on campus or online) for credit. The student has a teacher or professor, follows a calendar, and receives a grade on a college transcript. The homeschool parent awards high school credit for the work.

  • Dual enrollment is more likely to transfer than credit by exam.
  • Dual enrollment issues a letter grade and does impact GPA.
  • Dual enrollment replaces a course in your homeschool. One course earns both high school and college credit.
  • The college directs the course scope, sequence, and topics. They also select the textbook.
  • Final course grade is a cumulative effort of many assignments, quizzes, and exams.
  • Dual enrollment is part of your permanent college record and must always be disclosed on future college applications/enrollment.
  • Dual enrollment courses may be free in your state (varies) or have no discount at all.
  • Dual enrollment will carry an application and eligibility process that varies by college.
  • Dual enrollment courses may be self-paced or follow a traditional semester.
  • 1 semester long dual enrollment courses are usually worth a full year high school credit.

Read more about College Level Exam Program (CLEP)

Read more about Advanced Placement Exam (AP)

Read more about College-Based Dual Enrollment


09/22/2021CLEP, AP, or Dual Enrollment? What’s the difference?
Different types of college credit help your teen in different ways and accomplish different goals. Learn the important differences between how to earn these credits and ways that they’ll help (or not) your teen at college. Live stream event. $2.99 technology fee. 4pm-5pm EST
Register Now


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit