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Transferring CLEP Credits When A College Won't Accept Them?

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Question: If I have received credit from CLEP exams but the college I want to transfer to doesn't accept them, can I transfer them to my current school and then have them accepted at my transfer school?

The College Board's College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) can be a good way for students to receive credits for knowledge they’ve accrued outside the classroom (i.e., “life experiences”) or from taking courses that haven’t provided actual college credit but have supplied comparable information. However, not all colleges accept CLEP and even those that do can sometimes make you feel as if you need to get your college degree first just to figure out how many CLEP credits you’re likely to earn. ;-)


Whenever a student applies to transfer, the new college will provide a “credit evaluation” so that the student will know how many previously-earned credits this college recognizes before the student commits to making the move. An official at the new college will scrutinize all of the credits on the prospective transfer student’s record ... whether these credits came from taking an actual class or from exams such as AP, IB and CLEP.

So unfortunately, if the college you plan to attend doesn’t accept CLEP credits, then adding them to your transcript at your current school won’t do you any good at the next one. The official at the new school who does your credit evaluation won’t be looking at the bottom line (the number of credits that your present college has listed) but at each entry individually to see where those credits come from. And if your transcript includes exams — or even classes — that the new college doesn’t accept, you will lose those credits when you transfer.

You can certainly talk to the registrar at the college where you're transferring to ask if there is an appeals process that would allow your CLEP credits to be considered, but the answer will probably be “no.” However, if you are interested in using your CLEP scores to skip introductory classes at your next school, it’s possible that you will be able to talk your way into entering a higher-level class due to your CLEP results. You still wouldn’t get actual credit for the CLEP tests, but you might at least be able to skip past a class that you would otherwise be tempted to snooze through!

Sorry not to have better news, and good luck to you as you make your move.

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