Our First Son’s Story – About 2004
Because our oldest son knew early on that his goal was to attend law school, he wanted to earn his undergraduate degree as quickly as possible. Knowing that his college studies would repeat much of what he was already studying or would study in high school at home, we discovered that he could earn his college degree while completing his high school diploma if he studied each subject well enough to pass the corresponding college-level exam. (He chose Charter Oak State College because of their accreditation and their credit-by-exam policy. All study would be at home and at his own pace.) This would shave years off his post-high school education and land him closer to his career goals!
Starting with the end in mind, we created a Four-Year Plan (click the link to download a template for your family) that included all the exams needed to earn a regionally accredited B.A. degree from Charter Oak State College. For the next 21 months, he studied for those exams and passed them. He covered all the core subjects and electives and still had time for extra-curricular activities including speech and debate. He began law school at the University of Houston Law Center at age 17 and graduated with honors at age 20. He was able to accomplish this because we had a plan to follow as he combined high school and college.
Another Son’s Story – About 2007
When our next son saw his older brother’s success, he was motivated to study diligently and began taking exams for college credit himself. He earned a General Studies major with a concentration in Business, also from Charter Oak, primarily using credit-by-exam. He then went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree following a more traditional method (classroom study). He is living in Chicago working by day as a librarian and by evening/night/weekend as what I would consider a “home” missionary. Crohn’s Disease has kept him from the foreign mission field (his original dream), but he loves his volunteer work in South Chicago with Cornerstone Baptist Church.
One Daughter’s Story – About 2011
One of our daughters began taking exams when she was 14 and earned her B.A. in History/Literature (again choosing Charter Oak State College) after four years of combined high school and college. She was accepted to the University of Texas School of Law at age 18 and graduated in 2015 at age 20. She is working as a policy analyst in Austin, TX with the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Julie’s Story – Happening now!
Julie has seen several of her siblings do college for high school, and decided this method would work well for her goal of becoming a teacher here in Texas. The first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree and follow that with earning her certification to teach. She took her first college-level exam in U.S. History at age 13 and has continued to add to those first three credits. Now, at age 17, Julie blogs about her high school/college journey at Class Hacked and is on track to graduate with a General Studies major with a concentration in History in May 2016. She has a busy summer planned, but looks forward to student teaching this fall.
As you can see, combining high school and college has been (and continues to be) a very rewarding process for our family! Sure, it has saved many thousands of dollars, but even more importantly, it has allowed our kids to move on to their vocations sooner rather than later AND debt-free. We recommend this process to every family approaching the expensive and time-consuming college years.