Do you have a bunch of knowledge, but don’t want to take redundant required classes in that knowledge and spend tons of money to go towards your degree? Would you like to test out of boring, stupid, waste-of-time-and-money core requirement classes for your degree? Do you find teaching yourself to be much faster, less stessful, and more rewarding than going at a pre-set pace, sitting in a classroom, doing hours of homework and tests designed only to prove your knowledge to a teacher, etc.? Do you wish to save thousands of dollars in the pursuit of your undergraduate degree (Associate’s or Bachelor’s)?

Well then listen to me, because i’ve got the answer to these. I’m not being paid to sell you this concept, but out of my love for you all, and my love of efficienct education, i’m telling you this because it’s helpful. You can earn a LOT of college credit taking tests. You can take the tests whenever suits YOU. You’ll have to teach yourself, but the tests cover a wide array of subjects. Each one is $80. Most are equivalent to a 3-credit course in the subject, but some are worth 6, and the language tests are worth a whopping 12! (Yes, that’s a whole semester’s worth of credits for a mere $80). Each test is multiple choice ONLY. Now most 4 year schools have a limit on transfer credits (typically capped at 60), but there are a handful of accredited universities that don’t have a cap on transfer credits. One such school is Excelsior College, which I’m about to be enrolled in. I’ll be using it to complete my BA by the end of the year through taking for-credit exams. I’ve accrued 80 so far from the 3 colleges I’ve been to, and the AP tests I’ve taken. I’ll be taking the required 8-week capstone course in the latter half of the semester, and an additional 3-credit course for my own pleasure (and for eligibility for Pell Grant money), but the remaining 34 credits will come all from exams. This is completely legit, and not bullshit. Excelsior offers Associate’s degrees as well, if you want to take your degrees step-by-step. Most community colleges will also not have a cap on transfer credits, so you can check out your local community college too for an AA.

The main tests are called CLEP tests and DSST tests. If you need more Upper Level (300/400-level courses) credits, Excelsior offers their own exams open to anyone in the world to receive credits, although they are usually around $300 (still much cheaper than any college course). You should be able to take these exams at any testing center (all community colleges should have one) whenever you damn well please. Degrees do not have to be uber-expensive, debt-shackling, rigidly structured courses which require redundant study of information already learned or study at a fixed pace that may not suit your life/aptitude for a given subject!!!! You can DIY faster, easier, and cheaper!!!

Of course this doesn’t apply to those who are enamored by the “college experience,” or who are particularly proud of the “brand name” of their degree (the degree title and the name of the university granting it). But if you just want to get your damn degree over with and start working, don’t have time or interest in the “college experience,” want to move on to grad school where you have more academic freedom and personal challenge, want to save money, and have the drive/knowledge to put into self-study, prep, and going in to a local testing center to take 90-minute multiple choice exams, this is the route for you.

For me, personally, this is the holy grail of education. I would have done this back in high school and graduated high school with years of college already under my belt–maybe even a degree or two. I’m so excited to be done with undergrad this year and to do so circumnavigating the usual BS i hate about traditional education.

Here are links to these exams for those who are interested. If you have questions, please ask me, and i’ll do anything and everything i can to help you figure out what you need to do to get your degree fastest; even if you’re enrolled at a 4-year school and wish to just knock off some of your time there.

CLEP Tests Here

DSSTs Here

Excelsior College

More info about DIY degrees, for those interested:

Good luck everyone. Feel free to ask any questions.