On Monday, I had the opportunity to attend a dual-enrollment seminar given for homeschoolers by our local community college. It was a very informative night, but I was truly struck by the obvious disdain for CLEP credits. At one point, one of the recruiters actually recommended that homeschool students should take the AP exam instead. Well, I thought college credit was college credit. Why is the AP exam superior? I am always suspicious of “recruiters” with this view. Why?
Firstly, in the state of Virginia, the AP exam can only be taken by students who have taken the AP class work from an AP certified teacher. Therefore, this is simply not an exam available to most homeschool students so CLEP credits would be the homeschooled students main source of obtaining college credit via testing. If this is an inferior option, how could a public school test preparation class be superior? Perhaps, this is a mental fantasy by the recruiter? Perhaps, this is some pitiful attempt at making sure that homeschool parents never realize how much time and money they could save through the CLEP test option.
Secondly, in the state of Virginia, you are exempt from taking the Community College placement test if you already have college credit. What better way to bypass that hurdle than by having a few CLEP credits? Now, you may not think a community college placement test is a big deal, however our local community college has denied homeschool students the ability to take any dual-enrollment classes based on a low score on only one part of the placement exam!
Thirdly, again, in the state of Virginia, you must be classified as a junior to apply for dual-enrollment. Is that an age? or a designation? Why is this important…. because the placement test can be used to deny enrollment to students they feel are “too young”. What age is your homeschooled junior? I know a lot of homeschooled students, and the age can vary from 12-17 depending on ability… Now typically, the parent would determine ability, but now the community college gets to determine ability….
I think their disdain comes from another place. I think its about control. They want to have control over when your child is allowed to move forward in their education and perpetuate the idea of continued adolescence through high-school frivolity. I say, go to your community college with college credit, it that’s your goal,…. skip the placement tests, and all of the gray areas of dual-enrollment… Have no surprises concerning your child’s ability to enroll and most of all, maintain control of your child’s educational path to higher education.