This context comes from the book "Black Rednecks And White Liberals" by Thomas Sowell.
At one time, the reputation of Dunbar graduates was such that they did not have to take entrance examinations to be admitted to Dartmouth, Harvard, and some other selective colleges.22 When Robert N. Mattingly graduated from the M Street School in 1902, he entered Amherst College, receiving credit for freshman mathematics and first-year college physics— and he graduated in three years, Phi Beta Kappa. Yet, far from being one of the elite, Mattingly was, in his own words,“at Amherst on a shoestring.”
does "credit" in this context mean Official certification or recognition that a student has successfully completed a course of study(American Heritage® Dictionary)?
This sentence is confusing because "freshman" & "first year" mean the same thing therefore I don't know whether the author meant the first year of college or the school that this person was attending before they graduated and went to college. How to tell the difference?
If Robert N. Mattingly entered college receiving credit for freshman mathematics and first-year college physics does it mean he didn't have to pursue studies that included this scope of the curriculum and was able to start out his college studies further in terms of the curriculum of that university?