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Articles / Applying to College / Transferring CLEP Credits When A College Won't Accept Them?

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

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | May 18, 2018
Transferring CLEP Credits When A College Won't Accept Them?

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.


If you'd like to submit a question to College Confidential, please send it along here.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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