My son began earning college credits at age 12. Actually, it started off as a fluke. He decided he wanted to try to take a college computing course to see if he could pass it and we found a DSST test (kind of like a CLEP test) that offered just what he was looking for. I figured it wouldn't hurt to try: if he failed, no biggie, just some out of pocket money for the test, but if he passed he would get 3 college credits plus a huge ego boost for him. So he got to studying and realized that it wasn't the type of computer test he was thinking it would be. He figured he was good with computers (and mostly playing computer games) and that the test would be easy. Came to find out he needed to know a lot more than just how to use a computer- he needed to know the social impact and history of computers, computer organization and hardware, systems and application software, communications and networking and so much more! t definitely was an eye-opener- but a great learning lesson nevertheless.
After about a month or two of intensive studying (and googling) he felt he was ready for me to schedule the test. Here's where the rubber was to meet the road. I had never taken one of these tests so I had no idea what to expect. I think I was more nervous than he was! As we walked into the college for the proctored exam all these adults and college kids just stared as this little (and at the time scrawny) young boy wondering if he somehow got lost on the way to the playground. I remember walking up to the proctor to sign ourselves in. She thought I was the one taking the test, and her mouth just about dropped when she realized that it was to be my son instead. You could tell she thought we were crazy and that it was a waste of our (and her) time. My son was apparently the youngest test-taker she had ever had. She didn't have much confidence in a passing score (though I can say, that at the time, I didn't really either!) But into the soundproof room he went, and I stayed outside praying the whole time!
Now, the thing with DSST and CLEP tests is that for most of them you get your score right away, so you know in an instant if you passed or failed. So, as soon as my son opened the door with a HUGE smile on his face, I knew. He had passed his first exam! Pretty much everyone in the room was shocked. And so began our journey. Over the years my son just combined a lot of the work he was already doing for high school with various ways to earn college credits to eventually get his accredited bachelor's degree by age 17. Check out our College Out of the Box FB page, You Tube video, or website for more info. And that proctor who didn't think he'd be able to do it became one of his biggest cheerleaders every time we came in to take another test!