How I Got Into This Mess…

Hello, friends! Kimberly here, the Original Degree Hacker™.

My story is scattered around this website: how I earned my degree for less than $8,000 from… my desk, my friend’s bed, United flight 8746 seat 47C, and wherever life took me. The methods I used, the tests I took, a peek into the mad scientist who runs my brain—it’s all here.

But I get this question a lot.

How did you get started with all of this…?

Reasonable question. How did I go from a 16-year-old homeschool student who “didn’t want to go to college” to… this? I get it.

Well, it’s true! I didn’t want to go to college.

I remember telling adults that throughout middle and high school, not because I didn’t want the degree, but because I didn’t like school and I seriously doubted I was even smart enough for college. “If I don’t like school, why would I want to do four more years of it? And PAY FOR IT?? No thanks.” -Kimberly, circa 2010

I didn’t like school.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy learning, though! I’ve enjoyed the game show Jeopardy since I was a little kid! I like knowing things. I like being well-informed and aware of our country’s government systems, knowing what the electoral college is, and having a good handle on world geography. I’m highly motivated by competitions where I can prove myself, like Bible memory competitions at church, or regional piano competitions. I like feeling competent enough to discuss almost any subject with anyone at a basic level.

I didn’t like school but I was never stupid and I never hated learning. There’s a difference.

I seriously doubted I was even smart enough for college.

This was a biggie for high-school Kimberly. There was such an aura around college for me and my peers as teenagers. “Not everyone is smart enough for college.” and “Not everyone who goes to college can even finish.”… so surely this stuff was hard.

And, as it turns out, it is hard.

But it’s not hard in the way of this-stuff-is-too-hard-for-you-to-understand-or-learn, but rather it’s hard to juggle lots of classes at once and deadlines and large papers and picky professors and trying to find enough time to sleep a healthy amount. Does that make sense? It’s not easy, but it’s not like it’s way too hard for the average brain.

But at 14, 15, 16, I didn’t like school and college was too hard.

And then I took a test.

When I was about 15 or 16 several homeschool friends at church started taking dual-enrollment classes at the local community college. After a bit of talking into, my mom got me to take the assessment exam to see where I would place if I registered as a dual enrollment student, too.

The test measured aptitude in Reading, Writing, and Math, and instead of placing me in remedial dual enrollment classes with all of my friends, I tested into full college-level classes, ENG101 and ALG101. At 16 years old!

I was proud of myself and after losing it for many years, I rediscovered my confidence in my homeschool education.

I was smart enough to go into college classes at 16! I wasn’t behind or dumb!

In many ways, this throws out some of the typical norms associated with the homeschool culture/mentality—a standardized test can serve a good purpose?? I know I’m weird, but for me, yes.

From that point…

I wasn’t a fan of actually registering in the dual enrollment classes at the community college, mostly because I didn’t want to be tied down to a weekly class schedule (have breath, must travel). My parents weren’t thrilled about me spending two-three days a week with the melting pot of interesting people at the community college either, so I enrolled in Dual Credit at Home!

DCAH was an excellent resource for me! I probably would have never really tried CLEP exams, alternative college methods, or planning my own degree if I hadn’t had the detailed study plans from them in the beginning + their guidance and support throughout my college journey!

I recommend DCAH to all of my homeschooling friends still in high school, not on a “blogger endorsement”, but as a real student who went through their program and came out on the other side with, ultimately, a college degree for under $8,000! And homeschooling parents, if you’re looking to get your high school (or even younger!) students started in dual credit but don’t want to send them off to the community college multiple days a week (or can’t afford online classes), look into DCAH to use as your curriculum! Because it’s dual credit, it counts as both high school and college credit on transcripts! Go check them out!!

From DCAH, I mapped out my degree plan for myself to find the most affordable/efficient path to my BA in English, worked hard, and stuck at it.

That’s how I got into this mess.

How did you get into this mess?

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