CLEP and Student Advising
Advising Current College Students
During orientation or an initial advising session, encourage incoming students to take CLEP exams and advance their education path. Students who have received excellent scores on placement exams, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, or ACT and graduated with honors, can test their knowledge and advance out of introductory courses by taking a CLEP exam. College juniors and seniors may need to take a CLEP course to complete the credit requirements that they need to graduate. In addition, students who are thinking of dropping out or taking a semester off can be encouraged to stay enrolled by earning credit through CLEP exams.
Advising Returning Students
Many returning students differ from younger students in their learning styles. And work, child care, and financial concerns may present schedule and study challenges. They bring unique strengths to college with them like real-world experience, an ability to apply abstract concepts to specific tasks and situations, and often, a more focused and goal-oriented approach to their educations. They may be able to use their prior learning to earn college credit. CLEP exams are designed with adults in mind, as they help returning students:
- Save money
- Save time
- Focus on advanced coursework
- Accelerate their degrees
Review your college's CLEP policy, approval procedures, and time frames for earning CLEP credit.
Find out about returning students' post-education plans and previous academic transcripts to assess which CLEP exam may be right for them.
Confirm that CLEP credit can be used toward requirements in the student's major area.
Advising Transfer Students
Depending on the transferring student's circumstances, CLEP exams may be a good way to determine placement into advanced coursework or to help the student map out their time at your school.
Review your college's CLEP policy, approval procedures, and time frames for earning CLEP credit. Transferring students who have already accumulated a large number of college credits may be eligible to take CLEP exams, depending on your institution’s standards.
Find out about adult students’ post-education plans and previous academic transcripts to assess which CLEP exam may be right for them.
Confirm that CLEP credit can be used toward requirements in the student’s major area. Find out if a student’s CLEP credits earned at another institution can be transferred to your institution.
Advising Military Service Members
DANTES funds CLEP exams (one attempt per title) for the following groups:
- Military personnel (active duty, Reserve, National Guard): Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Navy Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, and Air National Guard
- Spouses and civilian employees of: Coast Guard (active and reserve)
Learn more about military member eligibility.
Military Retest Policy
Eligible military candidates who take a CLEP exam can have the $90 exam fee funded by DANTES for the first attempt per title. If a candidate tests at an on-base or base-sponsored test center, they do not have to pay the test center administration fee. Eligible military candidates should contact the test center of their choice to find out if they are responsible for payment of the test center’s administration fee.
If military candidates want to retake an exam previously funded by DANTES, they need to wait six months and pay the $90 exam fee in addition to the administration fee required by the test center (unless the test center is on base or base-sponsored). DANTES does not pay the exam fee for a previously funded CLEP exam.
Eligible veterans may receive reimbursement for CLEP exam and administration fees from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Active-duty military service members should consult their Education Officers or Navy College Office for specific information about their educational plans. Veterans should consult the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website for more information about eligibility.
Check to see if your institution is a member of the Service Members Opportunity Colleges (SOC Consortium), which coordinates associate and bachelor’s degrees in a variety of curriculum areas for the military. This organization can provide you and your students with specific information for service members.
Find out if the student has an SOC Student Agreement, which provides a comprehensive contract for degree, so that courses, tests, and military experience that are part of a degree plan may be transferred to the student’s home college. When all degree requirements set out in the degree plan are met, the home college (which in this case may be your institution) awards an associate or bachelor's degree. Very often, military students have compiled a number of college credits from various sources, including CLEP, in the SOC Student Agreement.
Ask your military students about any existing CLEP test scores and their preparation for CLEP.
Advising International Students
By earning a qualifying score on a CLEP exam, international students can demonstrate to colleges and universities in the U.S. that they have undergraduate-level knowledge in a specific subject of study. Through CLEP, they can advance to more challenging courses.
CLEP exams are optional and not required for admission to U.S. colleges and universities. Therefore, information about CLEP is often not included in an institution’s student recruitment information, and students have to ask about CLEP to get the information.
Passing a CLEP exam offers specific benefits for international students. They can:
- Earn credit for language skills. CLEP offers exams in three languages: Spanish, French, and German. Many international students are native speakers of or have advanced knowledge in these languages and could earn undergraduate credit and fulfill the world language requirements at the same time.
- Earn credit for previous study. In some cases, credit that students have earned at an international college or university may not be transferable to a U.S. institution. CLEP exams can provide an alternate way for students to show that they have learned college-level material.
- Save money on tuition. Higher education in the United States is costly, and international students have fewer opportunities for scholarships and financial aid than do U.S. citizens and residents. Shortening the time it takes to earn a degree means saving money on tuition and fees.
This session provides an overview of CLEP. Topics will include CLEP exam rigor and design, the test development process, the benefits CLEP offers to students and institutions, the process of adopting a CLEP policy for your campus, and ideas on publicizing CLEP on campus. This session is designed for advisers, faculty, admission officers, and testing center professionals.
Best Practices in Advising Students about CLEP
In this session we will share best practices for advising students on the availability of CLEP exams. Topics will include: how to effectively review and update your existing CLEP policy, how to identify possible candidates for CLEP exams, review of study resources available, and suggestions for publicizing your CLEP policy. This session is particularly beneficial for advisers and faculty with advising responsibilities.
CLEP for Military Service Members
This session highlights the benefits available to active duty military service members, veterans, and eligible spouses for taking CLEP exams at no charge. This session is designed for Veterans Affairs Officers, advisers, and faculty with advising responsibilities. This session is recorded and available on demand.