Many homeschooled teens choose to earn college credit or test out of lower-level college coursework by taking college credit equivalency exams like AP or CLEP. Taking a single exam can potentially earn credit for anywhere from 3 to 16 hours of college level work. This can save time and money for interested students and their families.
Homeschooled teens have prepared for AP and CLEP exams through independent study, home instruction, formal classes, study groups, and online courses. Some homeschool curriculum providers and distance learning programs are now offering special AP level courses for interested students.
Before taking any equivalency exam, check to make sure the college of your choice will award credit for that exam. Each college sets its own rules as to which equivalency exams to accept, how much credit to award, etc. Many Virginia community colleges and state universities have very generous equivalency credit policies for both AP and CLEP.
Both AP and CLEP are administered through the College Board, which provides information on testing and registration as well as preparation materials and resources. There are numerous online resources to help students prepare for these exams; some websites even offer free sample exams. Your local public library may have additional books and resources on test preparation.
College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
Homeschoolers may take the CLEP exams at any of the over 1400 colleges and universities which offer testing centers. After you find the testing center nearest you, contact them directly for information about registration, scheduling, and fees.
Other CLEP Resources
Email list for parents interested in learning more about how their homeschooled high school students can earn college credit through CLEP exams.
Advanced Placement Exams (AP)
Homeschoolers must take the AP exams through a participating public or private school. In Virginia, school divisions are required by §22.1-254.1 F of the Code of Virginia to make AP testing available to homeschooled students, and to notify homeschooling families that these tests are available. This law was crafted and requested by The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers.
AP exams are only administered once a year, in early May. The College Board encourages homeschooled students to take the AP exams. Interested homeschooled students should contact schools no later than March 15 to register for the subject exams of their choice. The guidance counselor of your local high school will have additional information about testing and registration.
Students must bring valid photo identification. Acceptable forms of identification for this purpose include a state issued driver’s license or non-driver identification card, a valid passport, or a school identification card or form which includes a photo.
If your homeschooled student does not already have one of these forms of photo identification, the College Board says that you may obtain one “from [your] authorized Homeschool Association or local school district“. The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers does not provide students or parents with photo identification. However, your local school division or homeschool support group may be able to assist you with this documentation if necessary.
Students are responsible for the AP exam fees. Financial aid may be available for qualifying families. Participating schools may negotiate additional fees to cover the cost of additional proctors or administrators.
When taking the AP exam, homeschooled students should fill in Virginia homeschool code 994799 in the “school code” section. This ensures that the homeschooled student’s data and test scores are kept separate from the data of the host school. Student score reports will be mailed to the student’s home address.
The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers is a non-profit public charity with 501(c)(3) status; your donation is tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. A financial statement is available from the Virginia Division of Consumer Affairs upon request.