Language transfer credit by exam - CLEP or local better?

My son has one year of community college under his belt. He is fluent in a foreign language. He didn’t take a language or a language exam in high school because he graduated early under slightly different rules. (NY Alternative Pathway using Regents exams.) He would like to get language credits by examination to lighten his academic load in his sophomore year. He hasn’t decided yet whether to go straight to work after the Associates degree, or transfer directly to a four-year school.

His community college used to allow students to choose between CLEP and a local credit by examination test. I checked a large SUNY (4-year) website and found that they will accept CLEP transfer credits. But I’m not sure whether they also accept transfer credits from a local exam. So I’m thinking maybe CLEP would be safer. Oddly, the college is currently trying to steer him to take the local test, even though we informed them that the CLEP testing centers in our area are currently open.

  1. Is CLEP a safer bet in general? We have no idea where he would transfer to yet. But we want to get that test out of the way soon, so he can plan out his sophomore year more accurately.
  2. My guess is that the CLEP is going to be more standardized, and a local test might have some off-the-wall stuff on it, and therefore the CLEP is a safer bet in terms of making sure that the testing isn't a waste of time. Does that make sense?

Does he want:

A. Credit units toward the number needed to graduate.
B. Subject credit toward fulfilling a foreign language graduation requirement.
C. Placement into higher level courses in the foreign language.


© is probably the least concern, since each college prefers that students taking language courses place into the appropriate level with the college’s own testing if the student has no other course work or test results in the language. But if (A) or (B) is what the student wants, then each college’s policy would be relevant.

A and B at this point. (If he ever wanted to do C, he could go through the four-year institution’s hoops at that point.)

For CLEP, many colleges do not accept it at all. For College X’s foreign language placement exam, College Y may not be too likely to accept it. He can increase his chances by doing both, but even if he has both, it may not be enough, so that after transferring to College Y, he may have to take its foreign language placement exam or a high-enough level foreign language course to fulfill any foreign language subject requirements for graduation.

If your son COULD clep the foreign language (1 or 2 years?), wouldn’t it be better to take the classes and get 4 easy A’s and boost his GPA?

Repeating what you know well could be a waste of time and tuition that could better be used learning something new.