Beginners Guide To Getting Cheap/Fast College Credit

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by AsianStew, May 10, 2016.

  1. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    NOTES: Creating a Thread for New Degree Seekers (and a reminder for myself).

    You can complete the following for FREE and it will give you the corresponding credits listed beside it.
    Kaplan PLA LRC100 - 3
    The Institutes: Ethics 312 - 2
    NFA Q118, Q137, Q318 - 3
    TEEX Cybersecurity 101, 201, 301 - 6
    FEMA PDS Cert, 7 Courses - 7 (only for COSC and a small number of schools)
    Other FEMA credits all are free - Again only usable at COSC and a limited number of schools

    ALEKS - Beginning Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Precalculus, Trigonometry, Intro to Statistics,
    Business Statistics, Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences (each is 3 credits) for $20/month membership
    - If you can finish the math classes faster, it'll be cheaper for you; these are NON proctored (use online calculators)

    Saylor Academy - All courses are FREE (22 of them), but you pay a $25/proctored final for credits.
    I tell people to think of it as a cheaper version of a CLEP/DSST/UEXCEL/TECEP etc exam, for the type of credit.
    I would choose these and study with additional resources over the proctored exams, you can test at home too!
    Unless of course, there is no equivalent exam for credit, i'll go for the CLEP/DSST/UEXCEL/TECEP

    Straighterline - $99/month membership, $49-$74 per 3 credit course
    They have many courses, if you can finish more than 5 a month, it's cheaper than taking exams.
    Many people use this as you are graded on open book course work, the proctored final is 25% of grade.
    Finish courses quickly and you save a bundle, if you have a mediocre final, it won't affect the grade as much. - $990+/year for 72 credits (2 courses a month). This is a great option if you have the time.
    You can take many of the required courses here and transfer them to the Big 3 or other universities.
    These are courses with study material, but the credit comes from the final exam only, nothing else.
    I would recommend them for several upper level courses in their transfer to TESU/COSC, etc.

    CLEP/DSST/UEXCEL are done at test centers, CLEP/DSST are about $100 + sitting fee of $20
    UEXCEL are done at PearsonVue centers, are more expensive, generally $145+sitting fee
    TECEPS are done online, so it's great when you can do it at home for $114.
    CSU-Global are online exams as well, great for Upper Level at $250/exam is very similar to, but it's $149/3 credit course
    ed4online/Prospero/Sophia - $299/3 credit course, I would recommend them for hard to find Upper Level

    Penn Foster - Although they are NA (Nationally Accredited), they have many courses that are ACE Recommended.
    Each course is $237/3 credits and transferable to the Big 3. You should get pre-approval from the Big 3 first.
    They are using "snail mail" correspondence style, good value - upper level credit for mainly Business Courses.

    More to come...
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  2. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    How/When To Start? Start Now For Cheap!

    People are worried about starting and getting accepted at the Big 3. Don't, sit back and relax.
    If you don't know where to begin, get a spreadsheet going and enter in the required courses.
    Find all required courses from what's available and plug in that info. Work on those courses.

    Your first step should be to find the degree and requirements for that degree and create a spreadsheet.
    Second step is to work on most of those requirements, I would get almost halfway, such as getting all your Gen Ed + Free Elective done.
    Third, apply to ACE Credit Registry and have your courses sent to them if they are ACE recommended.
    Four, apply to Big 3 and send them your transcripts from ACE and whatever else you have.
    Five, speak with an adviser on completing your AOS (Area of Study) courses and match it with your spreadsheet.

    Basically, you might want to plan and map out your degree, fill all those credits up, and apply at the latest point.
    The reason is you will have all your stuff together for them to process and graduate before they charge you another annual enrollment fee. This is explained on the wiki actually. Please take a bit of time and read the DegreeForum wikia page, it helped me and others as well.

    If you're still confused, the Big 3 allows you to transfer pretty much everything but their capstone and cornerstone courses.
    This means, you don't need to apply right away. You can spend 6-10 months, get 90+ credits or more and then apply to them.
    Note: You don't have to send them anything until you are ready, example, transcripts.
    Don't rush yourself and work your courses according to your own plan and pace.

    Which courses to take first, when to create an ACE Credit Registry account? Checklist Q&A:
    I usually tell people to begin with the FREE courses first as it will give you an idea of online learning.
    If you complete the free gen ed elective/free elective courses, there's no cost for 14 credits to start you off!
    My suggestion is do them in this order: Kaplan PLA LCR 100, NFA courses, Institute Ethics 312, TEEX courses.

    Start your ALEKS College Algebra, it's $20/month, if you can finish quickly do the Intro to Stats.
    These two are the most recommended courses, if you want more, you can go for Intermediate Algebra and PreCalc.
    For me, I am taking all 8 for a max of 12-18 credits total, it depends on the school accepting the credits.
    Guess what? You're at 26+ credits, it cost you just $20-$40, and you are pumped up to do more cheap courses!
    When you are done all of these, continue updating your spreadsheet and you can then start your Saylor or Straighterline courses.

    What's the easiest method to go through the FREE credits quickly? It's not proctored!
    It's an open book exam. So, open multiple browsers/tabs (or a second monitor) and go through them.
    Especially when you have the NFA, TEEX courses, you can have the answers at your fingertips.
    Have the questions on one screen/window and have the course materials open on another tab/window.

    For ALEKS, I go through topics and it's the online calculators that I use to "confirm" my answer is correct.
    In order to check steps to get to your answer (explain hyperlink), I also have the Master Account open to view previous assessment. I do an assessment, go through topics until I reach a few % higher (or to 70%), and do another assessment.
    You need to do this a few times until you reach the 70% or higher on the last assessment; once there, request your ACE credit.

    More to come...
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  3. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Several Sources Of Cheap Credit - Reference

    Next Up: Saylor, Straighterline, Penn Foster and useful Hyperlinks...

    Saylor ACE/NCCRS: Saylor exams are just that, you get credit for the proctored final exam passed.
    You can think of it as a different CLEP/DSST, even a TECEP or another online ProctorU exam.
    This is what I recommend: Review the table of contents from Saylor course and skim through lengthy material.
    Grab a textbook from the library and review the same details as well as an extra resource.

    Enter your own Coles Notes version of the details you're studying for review and helping you remember info.
    One thing I do is, create a second Saylor account for practice final exam, to see how I do.
    This is because, if you fail the practice exam, you have to wait 14 days for the proctored final, it hinders your speed.
    And the second reason is, it will tell you what you need work on, you're familiar with possible questions for final.

    Note: The practice final questions are not going to be identical to the proctored final.
    Having a second account isn't cheating and it's giving you an extra practice set to "gauge" where you're at.
    Hope this helps, more practice testing is where it's all at to pass any proctored exam.
    Example: TECEP for Network Technology actually uses the Saylor Course as a free resource.
    I'll use the Saylor course for review, but will use a Network+ study guide for good measure.

    Straighterline: Another option is taking courses at Straighterline for $49-$74 if it's more suited for you.
    It's a quick set of work, midterm, and then the proctored final exam, generally 75-80% work/20-25% exam.
    People like this as they can "pass" the course with high grades for coursework, and mediocre final.
    If you're taking Straighterline courses, take as much as you can in a monthly membership.
    Basically work hard on "coursework/exams" and on the final, having peace of mind knowing you passed.

    Penn Foster: These courses are geared towards the individuals wanting upper credit courses for TESU BSBA.
    There are webinars, homework, exams and finals. Individuals have been able to complete these within 3-4 weeks.
    I thank the people who have updated the DegreeForum Wikia webpage with details. See hyperlink.
    I'm taking 3 courses with them just for the "Area Of Study" in Business from this link.
    Unofficial List of Course Equivalencies for Penn Foster & Thomas Edison State College - Degree Forum Wiki - Wikia

    Kaplan PLA LRC100 -
    Institutes Ethics 312 - Preserve the trust on which insurance transactions are based with an understanding of ethics
    NFA Q118, Q137, Q318 - USFA NFA Courses, Schedules and Instructors Course Search Results
    NFA Course Login:
    TEEX Cybersecurity 101, 201, 301 -
    TEEX Course Login:

    Alternative Credit Project: The Alternative Credit Project
    Ace Credit Registry:
    Saylor Academy (College Credit Overview): Earn College Credit | Saylor Academy
    TESU ACP List: Alternative Credit Project
    COSC ACP List:
    COSC Master Exam List:

    Straighterline TESU Equivalency: Thomas Edison State University Course Equivalency Guide | StraighterLine
    Straighterline COSC Equivalency: Charter Oak State College Course Equivalency Guide | StraighterLine
    Straighterline Excelsior Equivalency: Excelsior College Course Equivalency Guide | StraighterLine $990+/yr (72 credit, 2 courses/month): TESU Transfer: Thomas Edison State College COSC Transfer: Charter Oak State College

    CLEP/DSST/ALEKS Tips FreeClepPrep webpage, you can search for more info there.
    Sources of Credit: Please see the sister forum wikia page for more info on sources.
    Again, the sister forum wikia webpage has numerous pages and degree templates.
    You can read through the templates and see how others have completed their degree.

    More to come...
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  4. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    The Spreadsheet - Track Your Progress - Reference Tool

    Next Up: The all important yet simple Spreadsheet - Progress Tracker/Reference Tool

    Use a spreadsheet to track your progress and reference what is complete or still required, cost, UL/LL, etc.
    For many of us, we've not used a spreadsheet for this particular purpose, but it's an amazing tool for it!
    I've copied two examples from dfrecore and modified the plan, one that is completely done through online testing.
    I thank dfrecore for creating these for myself and many others, THANK YOU. Please download and customize.

    AsianStew BSBA General Management 2016
    AsianStew TESU BSBA CIS 2016

    For myself, I live about 1.5 hours away from a CLEP/DSST testing location and don't want to drive 3+ hours for each test.
    I'd rather get paid overtime at work instead of driving and make up the $ for online testing if it's more expensive than the CLEP/DSST. I'll chose a Saylor or SL course for the majority of them, but for the ones that don't have a comparable test, i'll use PF for example. Now you have pretty much all you require to get started and completing courses, tracking them along the way and sending them to ACE.

    BUT... How do you begin? Which courses to take first and why? As mentioned earlier, you can start with the FREE courses first! You don't have to go from top to bottom of that list, I suggest getting the FREE ones completed and tracked in the spreadsheet. Send to ACE Credit Registry for credit and storing a history of completed courses, such as credit banking these for a transcript.

    Then you can work on the ones that are from ALEKS to get your 2 Math/1 Statistics courses and 1 extra math for general electives. Basically, finish the General Education Requirements and Electives off. I would group courses together so you can finish them faster. Example: Take Intro to Communications from SL and also English Comp I and II. Then work on Intro Religion/American Government.

    Afterwards, work on the Professional Business Requirements and finally, work on the Area of Study courses last. Again, grouping them, such as taking Accounting I & II, Macro/Micro economics, and so it would be easier for you if it's grouped together, more overlap of info. You don't want to rush taking too many courses, so, you need to pace yourself and follow your plan. You're not in a race against others. Some are fine with 2-3 courses, others are fine with 4-5 courses a month. You're doing this according to your schedule and skill set.

    Hope this helps... I'm not sure if there's more to come. But work your butt off and reap the rewards afterwards After each completed course, pat yourself on the back, you're 1 course closer to the goal. Well done! Keep on going! Many people have completed an entire year of coursework in a few months, and many have completed a degree in a year. There's light at the end of the tunnel, it's just requiring you to head to that end. Wish you luck, you have my support!

    Update: When you apply to the school you would like to attend, there are academic advisers assisting you as well.
    There's no reason to put off working towards your educational goal. You have many people helping you (without knowing them). Sending your transcripts to the school will result in an academic evaluation and it will tell you what else is required to finish the degree. I usually would recommend people who have completed about 90+ credits to transfer their credits in for an evaluation.
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  5. Hille

    Hille Active Member

    Good Morning,
    This is great. I was familiar with the TESU model but now with the changes I can't make suggestions. I will share this link with two people that are midway through the journey. Hille
  6. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    A, CBD, E, F - Accreditation, Competency Based Degree, Evaluation, Fees

    Accreditation - In order of recognition and preference.
    Regionally Accredited schools are the gold standard and most recognized.
    Wikipedia Page:
    Specialized Accreditation - Accrediting bodies that overseas special programs such as business, engineering, nursing, etc.
    Link here: Our Members | ASPA-USA
    Nationally Accredited schools may be of same quality, but perceived sub standard.

    GAAP (Generally Accepted Accrediting Principles) - Overseas, Internationally Recognized educational institutions of higher learning similar to US accreditation. Example, Australia has accreditation by state/territory and Canada has accreditation by province, neither are by the Dept of Education within the country (not federally/nationally or regionally accredited). The Dept of Education is there for overseeing student loans and grants.

    For some reason or another, you may be taking courses at a Nationally Accredited institution for undergrad studies or something. If you would like to transfer to a Regionally Accredited institution, it will be harder as it's less recognized unless the school fully recognizes those courses, has an articulation agreement or if it's either ACE/NCCRS recommended.

    Don't worry much, as there are few yet enough schools out there that will accept your courses or undergrad degree into their programs, either by individual courses or block transfer/articulation. This is true for individuals with internationally recognized degrees, as long as it's evaluated, you may or may not need to take makeup courses.

    Competency Based Degree - Exactly what it means, you get credit for what you know, how well you know it
    There are several schools that have this type of degree offering, from undergrad to graduate studies.
    Many of those programs are much cheaper than their in class or online counterparts, as it's "self study".
    Essentially, you go through the courses at your own speed, and complete assignments/projects/exams.

    Individuals may choose these programs over the Big 3 (credit by transfer) as you decide how much time it will take and how much the fees will be by going at your own pace and speed of completing assignments/exams. One reason I like these type of programs is, for example, is to transfer the majority of your courses into the program, if you finish the remainder of a degree in one term at one of these universities, it may only cost you 2-3 grand for that term. That is the beauty of competency degrees, the cost and amount of time finishing a degree is cheaper and faster.

    Short example list of Competency Based Degree institutions/providers
    Capella University : $2500/12 Weeks - FlexPath : Self-Paced Courses Online - Capella University
    Northern Arizona University : $2500-3000/6 months - | Tuition | NAU Extended Campuses
    Patten University : $2000+/4 months - Online College Tuition Cost | Price of Online Degrees | Patten University
    Hodges University : $2500-$3000/6 months - UPOWER - Self-Paced Learning | Hodges University
    Western Governors University : $2500+/6 months - Affordable Accredited Online University | WGU Tuition and Fees | Western Governors University

    An example where this shines is for individuals interested in a BSIT from WGU. You get to do your general studies and transfer them in, while at the school, you get credit for industry certifications you will take anyways. The main reason I'm interested in it is, you get the recognition of a degree and also use your knowledge and expertise to gain industry certifications. The added value is that there's no need to pay extra for the exams as the tuition should cover them.

    Evaluation - Time to choose that degree path/school and have your credentials evaluated for credit
    The majority of the time, I will recommend to have your credentials evaluated when you're ready to transfer to that school.
    These are for the general Associates and Bachelors BA/BS/BSBA, but there are special cases of course; for example, if you have a specific field of study where the transfers are unexpected or unknown (electronic/mechanical engineering, pilot license). For the odd reason you have credits from way back or from unusual cases of documented learning, it's best to send those credentials in earlier. Once you have your credentials evaluated, you'll be able to see where you stand and make the proper moves to obtaining the degree.

    Fees - For many degree programs that allow transfer of courses, there will be fees involved in regards to residency
    The main requirements are usually the capstone/cornerstone courses in addition to residency requirements.
    Capstone - Usually the final course in a degree program that is a project, or thesis - documentation of what has been learned throughout the entire degree/major area of study.
    Cornerstone - Usually a course in the first semester of a program to get the student acquainted with what will be the program, similar to an overview of upcoming coursework.
    GPA - Grade Point Average attained at the school you are attending, transferred courses usually won't affect this.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2016
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  7. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Overwhelmed - Too Long Didn't Read - Just help me please, step by step!

    Short Version - What is required and how to go about getting it, the CLEP/DSST way.
    The information below is generally geared towards the TESU BSBA General Management
    You can modify the AOS (Area of Study) accordingly if you're going for a different AOS concentration.
    For individuals who like online testing, you would just substitute these or follow the attached excel spreadsheets as those are geared towards online testing and not testing by CLEP/DSST.

    Recap - Steps to follow for maximum Transfer credit to Big 3 and/or WGU
    1) Create an ACE Credit Registry account for transcripts for school you plan to attend
    2) Complete Kaplan PLA (ACE Recommendation Expired 4/30/2016), Institutes Ethics, (FEMA, NFA and TEEX courses)
    3) Get ACE for above & transcripts from old college/university and send it to your school of choice
    4) Create a spreadsheet, course template/plan of action for credit transfer to Big 3 and/or WGU
    5) If missing credits, use ALEKS for Math/Stat, Penn Foster, Saylor, Straighterline, and for the rest
    6) Apply to Big 3 and/or WGU, get evaluation, and try to appeal as much credits as possible
    7) Decide on which of the Big 3 and/or WGU you want to go into and finish degree as planned
    8) Obtain degree requirements by following spreadsheet and completing courses according to plan/pace

    Using the following info, create your spreadsheet or modify the one I have created
    Find your requirements: BSBA in General Management Degree Program
    General Education Info: Thomas Edison State University | General Education - 2016 or After
    Available Courses TESU: Thomas Edison State University | Academic Courses & Schedules
    Undergraduate Courses: Thomas Edison State University | Undergrad Course Offerings
    CLEP Exam Equivalency: CLEP - College-Level Exam Program
    DSST Exam Equivalency: DSST (formerly DANTES)
    TECEPS Exams available: Thomas Edison State University | All TECEP® Tests

    With this info, you should be able to map out where you are and what courses are required. Good luck.
    You can then get yourself a calendar and schedule yourself, pace yourself, maybe do a few courses a month.
    Generally speaking, the AOS is the hardest part to find the courses, don't spend too much time on deciding.
    If you would like a different concentration such as the CIS, the only difference is the AOS. Just do it!
    You can follow this plan to the T and get the degree you need, or make very minor modifications. Don't stall!

    Side Note: If you find this helpful and you have completed your degree with this information, please PM me and send me a message or a picture of your success. I love reading success stories, I just warms my heart to see others happy and feeling great. I look forward to myself completing that elusive Bachelors degree as well and I can then work on the Masters.

    For many of us, we're using this opportunity to study to better ourselves and improve our own knowledge. I hope you all have a great journey and get to complete something as elusive yet simple as this... When I look back at the times I've fallen, I've gotten back up and am still working hard to get this completed for my own benefit and self fulfillment.
    housecat likes this.
  8. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    There ought to be a better way for cheaper education. The resources provided are great and I have used many. But as I get older, I am becoming frustrated with the system. For poorer people, it is like dumpster diving for cheap education. We all focus on accredited education, but all these patch work of courses, just to make financial ends meet, is questionable accredited education. I do not want to bite the fingers that have fed me, but affordable education should not be this convoluted. I blame politicians for not showing leadership on education.
  9. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Note: Due to popular demand on this topic, I have created a wikia page!
    It's located here: The Basic Approach - Degree Forum Wiki - Wikia

    I will update this thread and the wikia page as well. There may be other topics related to this that need clarification.
    There are many other resources available for you to review, read the advice/recommendations and decide for yourself.

    PS: For the Kaplan PLA course, I just left it here with a reminder about the ACE Recommendation Expiration.
    Expired as of 4/30/2016 - Hopefully they'll renew ACE Recommendation, otherwise, you can skip that course.
  10. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Update: Effective 6/1/2016 - Penn Foster bumped their price per course to $299 from $237.
    It is still a bargain for 3 UL credits mainly for Business Requirements and Business Electives.
  11. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    TESU BA Psychology 2016 Degree Example


    Thank you for that comment and praise! I appreciate helping out whenever possible. It seems you've got a few questions; I'll try my best to answer them and also create a new thread so others can provide suggestions as well as I am not familiar with regulations in Turkey, but I believe they require a recognized degree that is Regionally Accredited, (and doesn't have to be Ivy League).

    First off, you seem to be starting off from scratch, meaning no credits or internationally recognized course credits. If you have some credits from any college or university that did grant you credit and letter grades above a D, you should have it evaluated by one of the credential evaluation service agencies (if it's just 1 course, it's not worth it; but if it's a year or two of courses, it will save you time and $).

    If that is the case of starting from scratch, you can start off with the free elective credits and ALEKS for the Math/Stats requirements.
    You can then get your general education & requirements with Saylor, Straighterline, and Tor for the majority of degree courses.
    I have compiled a spreadsheet for you to review, this should get you the degree for ~$7800USD with 2 courses at TESU & residency waiver.

    Essentially, power your way through the free courses and ALEKS for 3 Math/1 Stats course. Then power your way through the Straighterline courses with speed (monthly membership fee + X courses you can handle). You can complete the Saylor courses at your pace, it's just an exam you need to take and pass for each course (+70%). The AOS is going to take the longest as those are the harder courses with info to master, I would take my time with that to make sure you pass.

    Hope this helps,

    TESU BA Psychology 2016

    Update: You can replace the ACC101 or BUS101 with your Kaplan PLA course if you have credit for that in ACE already, otherwise, it's expired.
    A recommendation for you, If you feel comfortable in doing a PLA, you can do so for $379/12 Credits and $250/6 extra credits.
    This is for your Psychology OR any other courses you feel you have the strengths and a chronological history of learning/gaining that experience.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2016
  12. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    TESU BA Psychology Extra Info

    I mentioned you can replace the Kaplan PLA 100 course as ACE Credit Recommendation for it has expired already, so it's worthless if you did not get credit for it already in ACE. If you already have it in ACE, you can skip the ACC101 or BUS101 entered into the spreadsheet. Those are simple courses and only $25 each at Saylor, if you want to take them for extra credits, it's fine as well.

    PLA is Prior Learning Assessment, essentially since you've completed the Kaplan PLA, you should already know how to document your learning or training, extra non-credit courses you've taken for 5 years at that University and show that it is similar if not equivalent to the courses in the spreadsheet. This can be for the harder AOS (Area of Study) or some other courses listed...

    Even though only 18 UL credits are required for concentration, the document has 33 and this is because I'm not sure which of the schools you want to attend. Each school has different evaluations as well, so it may not be UL for COSC or Excelsior, but their requirements for BA Psychology are very similar. If it's hard to decide which one to go with, just finish your FREE credits/general education requirements/free electives and apply to all 3 schools.

    What you can do is inform them you want to take courses indicated in the AOS and see if it's granted as UL and matches each requirement. From a quick glance, it should actually pretty much match up with all 3 in their areas of study requirements, you should do this step last after the majority is done. You can go for a competency based degree if you want as well, such as you mentioned Patten, but reviews for them aren't spectacular and they're "newer" less established. The only reason I would recommend Patten is the ability to finish quickly and the $, but it's not as recognized as the other Big 3.

    Again, decide on the school when you're done with your FREE courses, General Ed Requirements/Free Electives (about 90 credits done).
    Cost wise, it's about the same for the Big 3 - COSC, TESU, Excelsior; they're much cheaper than many other schools and more recognized.
    See their program details here:
    TESU Thomas Edison State University: Psychology
    Excelsior BS
    Excelsior BA
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2016
  13. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    FYI For International Applicants - English Language Requirements

    Just an FYI for International Applicants: English Competency Exams are required for admission purposes.
    It'll just give you a better/stronger admission advantage at schools if you already have English Comp I & II.

    For international applicants, you should still have that ready for them as it's required for admission. Generally, if you complete the English Composition I and English Composition II, it's still required to verify you're able to succeed for admission. I would not take any other prerequisite courses unless it's required by the schools, English Competency Exams such as the TOEFL and IELTS are the only ones you may need.
  14. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    In my opinion the overall usefulness of this thread has crossed the threshold into the "stick-worthy" realm. I would caution readers that some of the information in these posts has a undetermined shelf life (prices, for example) and may not be accurate indefinitely. Thanks to AsianStew and all other contributors for creating this resource.
  15. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Options other than the Big 3 - Prestigious Name or Just RA / Special Accreditation

    AP/IB, CLEP/DSST, UExcel/TECEPS, ACE/NCCRS and CSU Global CBE's are all recognized, but the amount of schools recognizing them are different. From the list, it ranges from 2000 to 3000 schools in the USA alone that recognize these type of credentials, it's going to be hard to decide which school out of those are the best to choose from, to enroll as each has different requirements and transfer limits, along with their reputation in the state or out of state.

    Choosing colleges and universities within the same State isn't bad, I mean if you have the $ and 4 years, it's pretty good. Many don't accept ACE or CBE (credit by examination) credits unless you are part of the military; I think they may make recommendations when you inquire about it. Tuition generally is anywhere from the cheapest at about 5 thousand for the entire degree to more than $7500/term or semester. Many also at most only allow 90 credits transferred in. Like the Big 3, many are just RA and don't have specialized accreditation for several of their programs.

    If you are looking at the Big 3, another option is APUS. All four were listed along with Harvard and MIT in Forbes, I was just reading and commenting on them earlier in this thread. My suggestion is to complete your Bachelors degree at one of the Big 3 or APUS/WGU and then decide on a Masters Degree within your state. Big 3 mentioned on Forbes

    If you're an international student, you may want to decide on graduate school in your continent. For example, if you're in Africa, go for UNISA. For people on the Australian Continent that includes New Zealand, there are a few distance based education providers there. The list goes on! If you're in Europe and going for a Masters or DBA, Heriot-Watt offers them for individuals who pass exams, $15000USD and $27000USD. There are no BA requirements for admission, I think it's competency based testing, once you pass, that's it!; they are a top 60 school in the world. Schools are recognized differently country by country, and you can see which one in your area or closest to you would be best for studies.

    Further to this, unless you are going for a Top 10/20 school in the country, no one will really know the name of your school unless it's a popular one in the state you reside, as many schools are still very traditional and don't have online based programs. Moreover, just in the country alone, there maybe a few thousand schools - 95% are unknown to the person hiring you or taking in your application for graduate school. They'll just do a valid background check to verify everything in regards to your transcripts and make sure it's accredited appropriately before admitting you or hiring you.

    My advice is to get a degree from a school of your choosing first and then work on the Masters; if it is required for obtaining a license to practice for example, find your state/country requirements to get a license to practice teaching or nursing, pharmacy tech, etc. Do your due diligence in finding the requirements first and then decide your undergrad and finally work on that graduate degree if it's a full requirement to have that before certification. The school name is nothing to worry about.

    Hope this helps, my regards.
  16. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Career Change - Deciding on IT Security - Have BSBA & No IT Experience

    I will still recommend a MSCIA over a Certificate or a Second Bachelors of IT (even though I am going for a second bachelors of IT)
    But if I am going to skip the second bachelors of IT and go straight into the Masters Degree program, my steps will be as follows:

    To Recap: Entry Requirements for MSCIA
    Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally or nationally accredited college or university, and must also demonstrate
    IT security experience through at least one of the following three methods:

    A) Have earned a bachelor’s degree in IT security or IT networking that covers at least two CISSP CBK domains.
    B) Hold a CISSP, CCIE, CCNP, CCNA, CCNA Security, CEH, CHFI, GIAC 2700 or GCWN certification that is valid and earned within the last five years.
    C) Submit a resume for review showing recent significant IT security experience, of at least three years, which demonstrates at least two CISSP CBK domains.

    There's two ways of getting this done, the crazy part of me will go for the quicker route, the cautious side of me, the longer.
    There's also the cost and time involved to get things done; to pay more to get it done faster, or to learn more and do so slowly.

    Recommended - Cautious/Longer: Chose B) From looking at the certifications, the CCNA will be easiest (no prerequisites).
    Depending on your study habits, some have completed an exam by reviewing/studying a month, I'll be safe and do so for two.
    There are two options to the CCNA, either 1 exam or 2 exam - take your pick.

    Cisco Certs: Certifications - Training & Certifications - Cisco
    Pearson Vue: Certifications :: Cisco
    Cost $250 - Cisco :: Voucher prices & order forms :: Pearson VUE

    In order to get the certification, I will probably recommend at least a month or two studying and doing practice exams.
    There are tonnes of free exams, study guides, online videos, etc in regards to getting the CCNA, or take a course.
    Side Note: For the MSCIA you will be getting the CEH and CHFI certifications paid for with your degree tuition

    Not Recommended - Crazy/Quick: Chose B) Take the CEH or CHFI, if you are doing the online 5 day course, you can take the exam after those 5 days.
    I understand this is a very lengthy 4 hour exam, but that bypasses the two year IT experience needed for self study. The online course is $2495.
    CEH or CHFI:

    And I don't recommend this one as you're going to be getting the CEH and CHFI certs from taking the MSCIA, it will only save you time.
    I will only recommend this as a last resort or if you're going to take more than 1 term to complete the MSCIA, as each term is $2950.
    There are so many different options, but my recommendation is to get your CCNA as it's the cheapest and easiest way to get in.

    MSCIA Syllabus - MS Cybersecurity & Info Assurance Courses
    Cyberwarfare 3
    Risk Management 2
    Cyberlaw, Regulations, and Compliance 3
    Secure Network Design 3
    Security Policies and Standards - Best Practices 3
    Secure Software Design 2
    Ethical Hacking 4 - (This should be the CEH certification)
    Forensics and Network Intrusion 4 - (This should be the CHFI certification)
    Disaster Recovery Planning, Prevention and Response 2
    Information Security and Assurance Capstone Project 4
  17. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    So, to satisfy my assumption and curiosity, I actually sent an email to WGU asking about the MSCIA and admission to it.
    For myself, I think there's no harm in calling or contacting the enrollment team or the person who responded back to me.
    Again, there are no other requirements but the CCNA - You can take your time in completing it if you are new to IT.

    Everyone has to start at some place, the CCNA maybe a "harder" exam, but not by much as it has no prerequisites.
    If you are admitted to the program, you're not thrown to the dogs, you have terms to learn your CEH and CHFI certs.
    Also, spend some time with your IT dept director and ask what he/she looks for in a manager role for IT prerequisites.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2016
  18. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Asking for the "first step"... There is no straight answer, you decide.

    You need to decide which program you want, if you're undecided, that's where the guide shines... you can start taking the free credits and the ALEKS courses for math/stats. I've been advocating those as it's the cheapest and easiest to get your feet wet and to get the ball rolling. Especially with only 6 credits, you can start ANYWHERE. You may want to get yourself a spreadsheet going with the requirements of that degree and then cherry pick them one by one and cross it off your completed list.

    So, let's give it an example. You have a million dollars, $200K each in the following 5 denominations; $100, $50, $20, $10, $5. How are you going to sort your money and who are you going to park it with? There are so many different banks to choose from, so many different ways to skillfully invest this cash. But where do you start? You need to decide which one of the denominations you start with first and then which bank to deposit it with. Some start with the $100 first, but I chose to start with the $5.

    Essentially, it's all personal preference on where to start, from easiest courses to hardest courses... from courses that interest you the most to the least... or you can take courses from each institution at a time and cross that institution off once those courses are done. Just don't focus on "when or how to start", as I mentioned, just do it...

    Grab the courses by the "brand" or institution or by the cost/fee, and go crazy fast with them.. complete them as fast as you can. I did 30+ credits a month, 60+ in two months and took a 5 week vacation, did side "PDU/CEU certificates" as they interest me. I'm still on track to completing my degree by years end. Visualize the degree, cross out each course you complete.
  19. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Upper Level Credit - Many Options

    Upper Level is just another course within your degree plan, don't think of it as "a harder to complete course because it has a 300-400 level number".

    Most of it can be done with the CBE's such as DSST, TECEP, UEXCEL, or CSU Global's CBE. If you are far from a testing site, TECEPS or courses from Penn Foster, Saylor, Straighterline, etc may be better for you.

    In regards to Penn Foster courses, they're similar to Straighterline. The courses have the following components: Exams, Discussions/Webinars, Projects, Finals. Each course will be different, not all components are within each one. The best part of the exams is, it's non proctored and you have a retake option.

    Discussions are simple, pass/fail, generally if you have 3 or more sentences within your answer, it's an automatic pass. Finals are non proctored and also in person proctored, depending on your course. The final usually is 33% of the course, the combination of the rest is 67%. The courses with the webinars take at least 3 weeks, you can have everything done before then, but a webinar a week is needed.

    Yes, I took 3 courses all at once. But generally, I finished one at a time - Took me three days for Strategic Business Management (2 days for testing/project, 1 extra day for project to make sure everything was good), two days for Financial Management, while my project was being graded I did the International Business management course exams.
  20. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    One more thing to note and a reminder: is similar to Saylor in regards to having 1 test. It all depends on how well you have studied with the materials provided. They don't use ProctorU, instead they're using SoftwareSecure as the online proctor service. Since you're going for a TESU BSBA degree, you should take a look at the spreadsheet for BSBA General Management.

    The wikia has several templates already available for you and ALL the applicable Upper Case alternatives for each course. If your degree is specific in concentration, such as accounting or marketing, cis, then the only difference within the degree template would be the AOS, again... Sanantone has a great set of templates that will show you how to knock those out on the wikia page.

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