CollegePlus! is an alternative approach to earning recognized undergraduate credentials. It’s actually a Christian coaching program that helps students earn their bachelor’s degrees faster, for less, and for sure through CLEP exams, online courses, and onsite classes from local colleges and universities. Depending on their major, students may use all three or just one of these.
There are two degree tracks open to CollegePlus! students, depending on their degree plan. Most students take the maximum amount of CLEP and other exams possible, and then enroll in a distance learning college. This degree track typically saves students $25,000 or more on their degree costs! Other students complete a limited number of CLEP exams before enrolling in a traditional classroom environment at the college of their choice. These students save an average of $7,000 by enrolling with CollegePlus!
CollegePlus! students usually decide to graduate with broad degrees since statistics show that 80% of college grads work in a field unrelated to their college major. Students graduating through a distance learning college such as Thomas Edison State College can choose from over 20 different majors. (Starred majors indicate the ten most popular.)
Bachelor of Arts (BA) major fields include: Anthropology, Biology, Communications*, Computer Science*, Criminal Justice, Economics, English*, History*, Humanities*, Journalism, Liberal Studies, Music*, Natural Science/Math, Political Science, Psychology*, Social Science.
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) specialties include: Accounting*, Computer Information Systems*, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management*, Human Resources/ Organizational Management, International Business, and Marketing.
Other specialty majors include Engineering and Pre-Med.
To help students who are unsure about their major, CollegePlus! recommends Life Purpose Planning, a series of assignments that help identify a student’s passion in life and how to pursue that life calling. Completing Life Purpose Planning and choosing a broad degree are ideal for younger high school students who want to do college in high school but aren’t sure what to major in. They can eventually complete graduate school in the field of their choice since just about any undergraduate major is eligible for any master’s level program.
Every CollegePlus! student is guided by a degree coach that walks them through their entire degree process. This coach is knowledgeable in study skills, CLEP exams, and navigating the distance learning college the student will graduate from. CollegePlus! also offers online workshops to hone skills and equip families for the steps needed in college admissions.
Michael Back, Director of Christian Home Educators of Ohio, says “We home educators are always thinking outside the box. CollegePlus! is certainly outside the box! A college degree in half the time, at a fraction of the cost with real life and work experience and parental involvement. CollegePlus! is the way to go.”
For more information about College Plus! visit: www.collegeplus.org
The following article describes one homeschool student’s experience with CollegePlus!
A Test of Faith, by Jana Kornfeld
Tests have always been my ultimate nemesis.
That’s why I consider it poetic justice that I have successfully tested out of approximately 90% of my fully-accredited, four-year college degree.
Approximately 25 tests and a BA in Communications later, I finally feel that I have finally conquered the insurmountable test-mountain. And does the view ever look good. Especially when I look back down over all the obstacles (whether real or imagined at the time) I’ve surmounted.
My hate-affair with tests began as a first grader when I took the Iowa Basics test. It was the first real test this sheltered little homeschooler had ever taken. Maybe that was why I didn’t understand that you fill in the little circles to answer the questions, not write the answers in the blank.
The answers I wrote in the blanks proved to my Mom what she already knew – she was doing just fine as a teacher and I was doing just fine as a student. In some subjects, we were doing even better than fine. At 6 years old, my reading comprehension was at a high school level.
But none of that mattered to me. To me those evil little circles labeled me as a failure. I remained haunted by that crippling word throughout the remainder of my school years. I cried myself to sleep and drove my Mom to distraction wallowing in my self-pity for years afterward.
It didn’t get any better in high school. When it came time to take the ACT, I made a 22 and was perfectly mortified. At the time I simply couldn’t and wouldn’t believe that my score was above the national average. I just knew that other homeschoolers I knew and public school kids I heard talking made scores in the upper 20s and even 30s.
It got even worse. My parents decided I should take the ACT again to see if I could improve my score. I was beyond mortified. I just knew I would get an even worse score even than before. I was sure my parents were just trying to prove to me once again that I was a failure. But no matter how much I ranted and raved, begged and pleaded, complained and cried, I still had to take the ACT again.
This time I made a score of 21, but my “I told you so” to my parents rang hollow. It just really didn’t matter anymore. Nothing would ever really matter, because I’d never amount to anything.
I was just an inferior, worthless human being. A failure with a capital F.
In high school my Mom mentioned that I should take some CLEP tests. (CLEP is a method of earning college credit by taking one test as opposed to taking a college class.)
My Mom was excited about the prospect of me earning dual credit and saving all that time and money. I thought she was crazy and disregarded the idea completely. After all CLEP tests were tests.
Not only that, CLEP tests were for smart kids only. Not kids like me. I’ve always just been an average student. In math I always made dozens of careless mistakes and had to take Algebra three times. I barely did my science until high school, and when I did I flunked Chemistry and didn’t even finish Physics. I was a good reader but hated English. I rarely made 100s in anything.
It took about a year and a half of getting over myself, growing up, and trying new things before things slowly started to sink in. I began to realize that my worth as a student or as a person is not bound up in test scores. I began to realize that it’s not about what I am or what I can do. It’s about what God can do with my weaknesses if I’m willing to trust Him and then leap outside my comfort zone.
In the meantime I developed a determination that hardened into a resolve. That resolve was to beat the system of test labels that had enslaved me as an inferior homeschool kid for so long.
My resolve was soon tested. I learned about a program called CollegePlus! that coaches students through the process of earning their degree through accelerated distance learning methods. It was an answer to every prayer I’d ever prayed as far as continuing my education went. I would not only be able to save time and money, but I would be able to remain at home and stay involved with my family, church, and community ministries. It seemed too good to be true.
Of course, there was a catch. One of the primary ways I’d be earning college credit with the help of CollegePlus! was through . . . CLEP tests. How could I even think about taking dozens of those things? How could I even entertain the idea of filling in hundreds of thousands of little black circles? I knew I would be a stubborn, brazen fool to even try.
But in the end, I decided to take that test of faith and let God take care of the outcome.
Taking that first test was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. It would have been so easy to just put it off or forget it. But I couldn’t back down now, not after I’d come so far mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And so I just did it.
I didn’t make an amazing score. It was just average. But I passed.
With God’s help I passed all but one of those 25 tests, and with a little persistence I even passed the failed test. None of the scores were extraordinary, but I got through them all.
Just to make sure I didn’t get too comfortable, God threw in tests like math and science that quickly reminded me I couldn’t be confident in myself. Slowly, His strength was being made perfect in my weaknesses.
Looking back, I see that the greatest test of all was learning where to place my confidence. Even though I’ve earned my degree, it’s still just a piece of paper. One I know I didn’t earn alone or with my own smarts.
To me, that lesson alone was worth every test I took.
Copyright © 2010 by Jana Kornfeld
Jana Kornfeld is a homeschool and college graduate who earned her fully-accredited BA in just 14 and a half months for under $10,000. She is now a coach with CollegePlus!, the mentoring program that helped her do it.