Success Stories

Using Modern States and CLEP to Make Up for Lost Pandemic Credits

Rylee Brown was up against the clock.

The senior at Westminster College in Salt Lake City found out in September that due to poor communication with the school during the COVID-19 pandemic, she would be 16 credits shy of graduating this May, even with a full spring curriculum.

The cost of just tuition and fees for an extra fall semester at Westminster during the 2023-24 school year? $20,708.

“I wouldn’t have been able to finish college without being able to complete the 16 credits, because I wouldn’t be able to afford it without my scholarships,” Brown said in an interview.

So, needing only electives, she began exploring how to earn “test-out” credits via the College Board’s College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams. Passing CLEP test scores can be used as credit at more than 2,900 colleges and universities, including Westminster College.

At first, her path seemed daunting.

Westminster College has a policy that outside credits such as CLEPs had to be completed by December to qualify for students graduating in May. This limited Brown to just a couple months to pass the four exams she’d need. What’s more, she didn’t know how she was going to learn the material and regardless, each CLEP exam costs $90 and the testing-center fee to sit for each test generally runs another $25.

“I’m a college student, you know, so filling up my gas tank is already hard enough,” she said, adding that she even considered donating her plasma to help raise funds. “Finding money for these tests would be really difficult.”

What Brown found out was that, with Modern States, it wasn’t hard at all. It was absolutely free.

Our philanthropy, which helps learners prepare for 33 different CLEPs, not only provides free online courses led by top college professors; we also cover both the CLEP-exam and test-center fees.

Brown first learned about Modern States while watching a TikTok video about CLEP. After thinking it was “too good to be true,” she did more research on Reddit and the Modern States website, including by watching and reading about other learner success stories. Now she is one!

Throughout October and November, she gave herself about two weeks of studying for each CLEP by digesting the Modern States curriculum, which included pre-recorded videos taught by professors from schools such as Tufts University and Baruch College.

“I loved the self-guided modules and every professor you chose for my modules, who are well-spoken, credible and knowledgeable about the subject,” she said. “I left each course not only feeling prepared for my CLEP test, but just more knowledgeable about the subject overall.”

Brown’s first Modern States course was Spanish, a language she had already studied a lot in the past.

“I was really nervous, but I passed my Spanish CLEP and that just gave me a boost of confidence,” she said. “I just kept on that roll and I was taking a Modern State course and CLEP test every two weeks. I was able to pass all four of them to meet my graduation requirements and now I get to walk in May. It totally saved me financially and academically.”

By December, Brown had earned CLEP credits for Spanish Language, Introductory Sociology, Introductory Psychology and Principles of Marketing.

Eight weeks. Four courses. Zero cost. One diploma. Modern States.

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