Common types of non-credit college courses include those in general educational, development, test preparation, continuing education, job training and English as a second language. Audited courses are distinct from dedicated non-credit college courses, as audited courses award credit to all students who are not auditing.
Non-credit courses are typically shorter and less expensive than for-credit courses. A GED preparation course, for example, may only last a few weeks, while a typical for-credit course lasts a full semester. Depending on the educational institution, students in non-credit courses may receive traditional letter grades or a simple pass or fail rating. While they do not grant students credit, these types of non-credit courses are usually included on a student's transcript, but they are not used when calculating the student's grade point average.
Auditing a course also does not award credit, but this option is different from a dedicated non-credit course. A student who audits a course sits in on the lectures for the course and may participate in lecture discussions. However, an auditing student is not typically allowed to attend recitation sessions or to participate in examinations. Unlike a non-credit course, an audited course does not give the student any kind of grade and does not appear on her transcript. Many institutions do not charge students at all for auditing classes, while some require a nominal fee.