I haven’t yet, but I certainly will before the summer is over.

After10 years of Sporadic college, off and on classes and an ever changing graduation date I’ve finally found myself in a committed relationship, or at least one that I’ll get something out of, and boy it’s about time! Yes, my drunken wife and I (you’ll only get that if you read my first post) have set a date, Dec 2011, assuming of course that my procrastination tendencies and I can make it through a year of serious studying and commitment.

I had my heart set on that date awhile back, but there were a few problems that were making it impossible. First, I was missing about 4 classes worth of core credits that I would need to graduate and the spring, summer and fall semesters were already fully booked with the requirement courses I needed to graduate.

Unsure of a better way to solve this dilemma I begrudgingly accepted my 2012 graduation fate until late one night, when I happened upon what seemed like an answer to my problem. A friend who had been in a similar situation informed me of something called C.L.E.P., which stands for College Level Examination Program, and I feel it is my duty to share it with everyone in proper missionary style, just in case someone else might benefit.

Basically, C.L.E.P. offers 33 different exams under the themes of Composition and Literature; World Languages; History and Social Sciences; Science and Mathematics and Business. Each exam is generally worth 3 credits, at least this is the case for CUNY, and, if passed, suffices the requirement for that class. This means that if you’ve been putting off that last requirement in science or English lit, you can get it taken care of without having to register and pay for an additional semester. Each C.L.E.P. exam costs $77 to take, which can be a lifesaver if you’re only lacking a couple courses for your major.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not as easy as I’ve made it sound thus far; while it may not involve an entire semester’s worth of coursework, it does require competence in the area that you are testing in. This means that you have to study, and study hard.

The way C.L.E.P. works is almost akin to the Italian University Exam system in that you get a textbook, study the life out of it, and then take an exam to see if you’ve mastered the subject. However, in Italian University, unlike C.L.E.P., there is a classroom; attendance is not mandatory, but you better make sure you pass that exam at the end of the semester or you won’t be getting any credit. C.L.E.P. doesn’t offer you a classroom or a course to follow; you’ve got to do that on your own. It does, however, give you a gist of what information will be required of you in order to pass so that you can make sure to study what you need. Exam guides and sample questions are also available for an extra $10 and additional information and suggested textbooks are also listed on the website.

Almost 3000 accredited Universities both in the US and throughout the world accept C.L.E.P. exam credits. A tool on the website will help you locate these colleges and will also help you find the nearest university test center where you can register and take the exam.

If you are an SPS student, you can transfer up to 30 C.L.E.P. credits, which is 10 exams. Obviously, this also depends on what credits you need; usually, major requirements must be taken on campus. Each college is different so you should check with an advisor before registering for a C.L.E.P. exam to see what courses are acceptable and what courses must be taken through the university.

To those of you who are already graduating this year, many congratulations! To those of you who are working hard to graduate soon, I hope this information can help you out in some way!

Happy New [school] Year to all!

Nina Michael is in her junior year in the BS in Business program at CUNY School of Professional Studies. Nina has been all over the world and loves traveling; she currently  lives between Italy and New York where she works as a professional English teacher and translator. She loves languages, food, coffee, wine and a good book; she is also a first-rate bartender.