Part of your college planning process should be brainstorming ways in which you can get college credit before even entering a college classroom. Starting your college experience with credits can give you a head start on your degree program.
Of course, every higher education institution will have their own set of requirements when it comes to credit for prior learning, so be sure to check with a college’s admissions department.
Check out these three options for earning college credit before starting college.
1. Relevant Work Experience
Some colleges will offer students credit for previous professional experience they have that relates to the degree program they are planning to earn. You may need to provide documentation that proves your work experience. Depending on the college, you may be asked to provide a combination of the following documentation:
- Letters from previous employers
- Professional certifications
- Job descriptions
For working professionals returning to college to complete an advanced degree, such as a Master of Business Administration or Master of Science, your career experience and previous degrees may substitute for many of the prerequisites needed for many of the courses.
2. Military Experience
Many colleges also offer credit towards a degree program to those who have served in the military. While each college will require different documentation, you can expect that you will need to share an official military transcript, which documents, among other things, the following:
- Military course information
- Military experiences
- Test scores
Colleges generally provide additional resources to students who have served in the military. These resources can include scholarship opportunities and academic and non-academic assistance. Most colleges have a designated military services professional to assist students.
3. Previous College-Level Classes
For those students who have previously completed advanced placement classes or other college-level classes prior to attending college, the higher education institution you are attending may recognize these classes as equivalences to part of their curriculum. Depending on where you completed your classes, the documentation needed for verification may differ.
Of course, if you are planning to transfer to a college and have previously completed courses at a different college, it is worth your while to have your transcripts sent to determine if you have any course equivalences.