Transcripts, CLEPs, and Other Ways to Get into College
- Thursday, December 09, 2004
While some colleges place a limit on the total amount of credit you can earn through CLEP exams, others may not allow CLEP scores to count as credit toward a degree at all. Says David Callihan, author, speaker, and CLEP prep classes teacher, "With the CLEP program, you could find your child testing out of a significant portion of an Associates Degree without even stepping on campus." Many Christian colleges accept CLEPs toward their four-year degree programs as well. For homeschoolers who take the accelerated learning approach toward high school, CLEP tests provide a great way for students to earn double credit.
"It is becoming quite apparent that the material being taught in the first two years of college is 'remedial high school'," Callihan told TOS. "So why not teach it right the first time and then get the college credit too?"
Although CLEP scores may be accepted for credit at many colleges, it's usually necessary for the student to provide results from a standardized test like the SAT or ACT. Some homeschoolers will opt for GED testing instead, but Callihan doesn't recommend that method. "GED testing is a drop down in your educational status," he told TOS. "Usually it's reserved for people who quit high school or have bad grades. Even the federal government recognizes it as second level, since GED grads are not sought after for enlistment into the military. They're called level two recruits ¾ and homeschoolers just won the battle to be considered level one recruits when they enlist. So when I say I don't recommend the GED, it's not because I think it's subservient, it's because the system says it's subservient."
"If you're homeschoolers, you have every reason to believe you're providing a substantial education," Callihan told TOS. "If the parents are responsible for a student's education, the parents should be the ones to validate the education. Public schools across this country are asking for parental involvement and saying, 'it doesn't work without it!'" Homeschoolers are taking ultimate responsibility, Callihan believes, but they're often labeled "unqualified" to give their children a diploma. Still, there are ways to document your student's high school years to prove ¾ beyond the shadow of a doubt ¾ that their educational history is valid.
Getting Technical — Transcripts, Essays, and Other Paraphernalia
Most homeschooling parents recognize the need for a detailed transcript of high school work. Still, compiling four years of home education into an understandable record can be a somewhat daunting task, especially for parents who use the "Charlotte Mason" or "Unit Study" approach to schooling. "I think it frightens most homeschoolers because it's an area that's unknown," said homeschooler Wanda Gibert. "Parents need to realize that what they're teaching is valid and approved, that it can be presented in an acceptable manner." Gibert completed high school transcripts for three of her six children; her oldest daughter graduated with a four-year degree in special education, her oldest son is completing an apprenticeship as an electrician, and her second daughter (a recent high school grad) is taking courses at a local community college. One of her favorite resources is Creating Transcripts and Issuing Diplomas: What Every Parent Should Know, by Inge Cannon. Cannon is the founder of Education Plus, a company devoted to helping parents base their homeschooling philosophy upon biblical principles. In her book, she explains the reasons for creating a solid high school transcript.
"In a sense, a student's high school transcript is like [a] tax return," Cannon writes. "It summarizes and reports in a concise way the total educational profile of the student's experience. Behind that transcript should stand a portfolio of work samples, bibliography of resources used, detailed test information, anecdotal records, recommendations from employers and directors of extracurricular activities, etc. This further documentation would then be available for any interview where it might become necessary."
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