Online courses for college credit

How to Take Online Courses for College Credit

Between the skyrocketing cost of attending traditional colleges and universities and the explosion of Web-based classes, an increasing number of people are moving toward taking online courses for college credit. All too often, though, students discover that the Web-based classes they take don't translate into credits they can apply to a degree. Here, then, is a primer on finding the right online courses for college credit.

Brick-and-Mortar Institutions

Traditional colleges and universities in [statetitle] and elsewhere may offer online courses for college credit, either through their regular course offerings or via extension classes. For example, UC Berkeley Extension offers undergraduate courses (both lower-division and upper-division) that deliver transferable academic credit, as well as courses for professional certificates. Similarly, the State University of New York (SUNY) offers accredited online courses for college credit that will lead to an SUNY degree. Even Harvard offers online courses for college credit.

Free Online Classes

Whether you live in Mechanicsville VA or anywhere else in the U.S., traditional universities' online courses for college credit can be costly. True, the cost is less than it is for taking in-person coursework, but for those who are financially strapped, free online courses for college credit are an appealing alternative. Navigating the maze of free coursework can be a challenge, however, since completion of the classes doesn't necessarily translate to college credit. In order to ensure that the coursework will move you toward the degree you seek, it helps to have a clear goal in mind. Study the course catalog and degree requirements of the college from which you'd like a degree, and find free online classes that are a close match to those offered at that college. Typically, you'll need to take third-party exams in order to gain credit for the knowledge you accumulated in the free online classes, which leads us to....

Getting College Credit for What You Know

There are few free online courses for college credit, so you can take exams that measure what you know and that are accepted by close to 3,000 colleges. The CLEP (College Level Examination Program) exams are administered by the same folks that administer the SAT and AP exams. A CLEP exam costs less than $100, and is a good alternative for those who are working on their lower division coursework. So, for example, if you take a free online course in introductory sociology, you can take that CLEP exam and obtain the credits you would have received had you attended a brick-and-mortar university or accredited online course.

If you live in Mechanicsville VA, taking online courses for college credit is an excellent way to cost-effectively launch a college career, gain a professional certification, or simply expand your knowledge.