I was homeschooled throughout my elementary, middle, and high school years, and because I have younger siblings and my family had some medical issues, there came a point around 9th grade where I was teaching myself my material. While it was a lot of responsibility, this ended up being a skill I would need later.  I remember being a young teen and going to homeschool conferences to hear sessions about college. One of the sessions we heard was from Becky Muldrow at Dual Credit at Home, whose talk showed me that there was a way to teach myself college-level material during high school and get credit for it!

When to Start Dual Credit

I was immediately intrigued, as I love learning and I love efficiency. She introduced me to the world of CLEP and DSST, and we’ve kept in touch since we first met when I was 15 (today I’ve graduated and I’m 23). Every step of the way, with every question I have had, I have reached out to her and she and her team have been an excellent source of help and encouragement. From helping me find textbooks to applying for college, they have had informed and detailed answers to everything. Now, I have been able to graduate debt-free because I paid for one exam at a time. I was also able to find free study material for many of my exams. I used and loved SpeedyPrep and InstantCert, but also found Study.com  to be amazing, as they had the flashcards, lessons, and exams all built right into their subscription-based software! I found myself using that a lot during quarantine when my testing center was closed. For some courses; I found I didn’t even need the REA Study books and was just able to use CrashCourse on YouTube and Quizlet flashcards to learn the material and then study it on SpeedyPrep. Studying for the exams was surprisingly cheap, and then the exams themselves were a fair price.

The process of transferring my credits into my college, Charter Oak State College, was also fairly painless. The staff at the school were absolutely top-notch and my advisor was the most helpful college counselor I’ve met! Between the Dual Credit at Home team helping me earn extra credits over Christmas and summer breaks and my advisor confirming that they would fit into my degree plan, I was all set and only encountered minor hiccups. I really loved the school and the handful of classes that I did take through them, and felt like I had a good balance of teaching myself material for exams and online classroom learning experiences.

I wouldn’t change a thing about doing college the way I did, because it allowed me to take care of my family during multiple medical scares, go on extended domestic and international trips, and do it all debt-free and on my own schedule. Sure, some people looked at me weird, but I don’t mind saving thousands of dollars for a few looks of confusion, especially when I know there are supportive and liked-minded people like Dual Credit at Home in my corner whenever I get discouraged.  Doing college the dual-credit method taught me efficiency, resourcefulness, and a good study/work ethic.  It took creativity to go to college debt-free, and I’m grateful I didn’t have to pave the way there myself.

This guest post was written by a real-life Dual Credit at Home Student! Callie Barrett earned her degree with the help of Dual Credit at Home’s 49 Week Study Plans. The team at Dual Credit at Home has enjoyed keeping us with Callie’s journey, and we trust that her story is an encouragement to you as well!

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