How to Earn College Credit Online

Zach Clenaghan
March 30, 2020

This a strange time for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic has made our daily lives unrecognizable, and for college students, it’s no different. College campuses have closed all across the U.S. and have been forced to adopt online education.

If your college has made a smooth transition to distance learning, or it already has a robust online offering, then you’re in luck! But we know this isn’t the case for everyone. 

Even if your college already offered online classes, they might not be flexible, and considering you have so much more time on your hands now as you’re stuck indoors, you might want to add more classes to your schedule than your college allows, and even get ahead so you can graduate early.

Fortunately, earning college credit outside of your home university has been possible for a while. Follow the steps below to earn more college credit during the Coronavirus lockdown so you can still graduate on time, or even early. It can also save you a ton of money in tuition!

1. Check what your college’s credit transfer policy is.

Typically colleges accept between 15 - 90 credits from other institutions. This varies significantly from college to college so it’s important that you know exactly how yours works. 

If you can’t find their transfer policy online, contact either your academic advisor or the central registrar’s office, they should be able to point you to the relevant information.

2. Find out which class requirements you haven’t completed yet.

The easiest credits to transfer are always general education and free elective credits, so check whether you have any outstanding requirements here. If you’re in your freshman or sophomore year you probably have a lot of these credits still to earn so you’re in a great position!

Note down the areas of study and the name of the class and course code at your home college. You then need to find classes online that match these as closely as possible. For example, if you have 3 Math Gen Ed credits to complete and the class at your college is called College Algebra and has course code MTH122, you need to search for an accredited online course that is similar.

You want to look for an equivalent that has a code starting with 1, not 2-4 as it won’t be of equivalent level.

3. Search for classes!

There are a few places that are tried and true ways of earning college credit that you can transfer into your degree. At this time of quarantine and self-isolation, some are more suitable than others.

  • Over 200 college courses that your college may accept as credit available through their Accelerator Membership. And you can take the final exam online!

  • Sophia: Self-paced online courses that can earn you college credit. Final exams are also all taken online, so you can earn the credit without ever leaving home.

  • Propero: Over 40 self-paced courses covering general education and introductory subjects. All materials for the courses are available online and include eTextbooks, Audio learning through podcasts, interactive presentations, and personalized study guides. Courses are accredited through the ACE College Credit Recommendation service so are widely accepted as transfer credits in US universities. Final exams are taken online.

  • Modern States: Is a non-profit Education alliance dedicated to college access for all, in partnership with EDX. Their tagline: Freshman Year for Free. They make use of free courses available on EDX to prepare you for CLEP and AP exams. Although there is a fee for taking a CLEP exam, Modern States will reimburse you for it. They offer 32 courses so provide a big opportunity to earn a significant chunk of your credit requirements completely free. The end exam required for CLEP and AP credit requires you to attend a physical test center.

  • Straighterline: Offer over 60 courses which are guaranteed to convert into credit at 100+ colleges and may be accepted at many more thanks to the ACE credit recommendation. They have a monthly membership fee of $99 and then each course you take costs $59 so it’s an extremely affordable way to earn college credit. 

  • Our Course Catalog:The Edumadic Course Catalog is full of courses which are all regionally accredited, meaning they're widely transferable across universities. They're also all no more than $400 per credit hour (some are as low as $100!). Our Gen Ed courses are all 100% self-paced, so you can whenever suits you, at whatever speed!

4. Check with your academic advisor before paying.

Double-check with your academic advisor that the course you plan to take will be accepted as transfer credit, before you pay for it. Make sure you also know the process you need to go through to transfer those credits once you’ve completed them.

5. Enroll and pass.

This part is up to you! If the study from home is new to you, we’ve got some tips that will help you stay productive and on task in what can be a distracting environment, especially if you’re not used to studying online.

These methods are applicable not just during this time of enforced online studies, but can also be used in conjunction with our programs as a way to earn college credit online while traveling. If you find that online learning is just as effective as on-campus classes, and you’re able to stay productive, then maybe taking your online classes abroad on an Edumadic Program will not seem like such a crazy idea!