Excelsior Degree Plan

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by GLGAmerica, May 16, 2017.

  1. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

    Okay, I think I found the answer to how Excelsior treats Study.com courses right on Excelsior College's website. They have a section that talks about Study.com courses:


    And here's a breakdown of how Study.com courses apply to an Excelsior College degree plan in business:


    So, unless I'm somehow reading this wrong, it looks like Excelsior does accept Study.com courses for upper-level credit. It's confusing though because it just shows a couple of upper-level Study.com courses. For Quantitative Analysis, for example, it does not show a corresponding Study.com course.
  2. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

  3. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

    One more thing and then I'll give up on it for the day...

    I just noticed that at the bottom of the Study.com degree plan on Excelsior's website it says:

    "NOTE: Excelsior College reviews every student individually and this guide is just a sample scenario. Actual requirements will be dependent on the courses a student transfers to Excelsior."

    So, this may not be intended to be an exhaustive list of every business course from Study.com that Excelsior accepts. Still, it's confusing.

    I did notice that Excelsior offers some pretty steep discounts for Study.com students. They waive the application fee, tuition is reduced by 20%, and the graduation fee is dramatically reduced too.
  4. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

    Okay, one more thing...

    Excelsior is having a webinar on January 9 called Transfer Made Easy. It states: "It is our goal to provide an overview of Excelsior College and the many ways that you can transfer in credits, or earn credits as a student. We will also highlight the benefits we have to offer and the individual schools and degree programs that we have available." Webinar attendees may be given a chance to ask questions. If so, you may be able to get a definitive answer at that time.

  5. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

    Okay, I think I've finally zeroed in on the answer. I contacted Study.com for guidance on this issue and they responded this morning. Study.com has a transfer guide just for Excelsior College on this page:


    There's a small button you click on about 1/3 down the page to see the guide.

    So, at least according to Study.com, EC does indeed accept Study.com courses for upper-level credit.
  6. GLGAmerica

    GLGAmerica Member

    I did go to that webinar but didn't learn much about how study.com transfers over lol...

    But...great news today. My son took the Labor Relations UEXCEL Exam today and got a B on it. So we were both pumped about that. This was the first UEXCEL exam that he has taken and that begins the last section of exams. I think he didn't feel they were any tougher one way or the other so that's a great sign.

    He's now got 87 credit hours (and in the second semester of another 14 AP credit hours)! He's moving right along.

    Next up is one of these four UEXCEL Exams. We have to decide which:

    1. Principles of Finance
    2. Quantitative Analysis
    3. Managerial Accounting
    4. Workplace Communications and Computers

    Any suggestions on which one we should do next?
  7. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

    Congrats on passing the UEXCEL! Well done! I'm glad to hear they aren't any more or less difficult than the other exams. Moving right along!

    I have no idea which one he should do next. The first three look really hard. Maybe workplace communications and computers?

    What study resource did he use for UEXCEL?
  8. GLGAmerica

    GLGAmerica Member

    I know we were excited!

    I have instantcert. However, he didn't really use instantcert per se. Inside of instantcert, there was a forum specific exam where someone had put together some notes which I printed out and gave to him. While I wanted him to work with the flashcards, he only studied the notes.

    And as part of the test purchase, I bought the practice exams.

    So the notes from that forum and the two practice exams are all he used plus his previous knowledge he might have had from studying the CLEP's and DSST's.

    This was also upper level credit which is definitely pretty cool as well.

    I kind of agree with you on the difficulty of the next four although I might have him take finance next so I can cancel my monthly subscription for that. Not sure yet though.
  9. GLGAmerica

    GLGAmerica Member

    After reviewing study.com, we've opted to cancel the instantcert membership since it's no longer needed and move over to the premium study.com membership. $59 a month.

    This includes study material for each of the UEXCEL's he needs to take but a bonus was that it also includes AP exam prep work. He's taking three AP Exams in May. AP Calc AB, AP English Lit and AP Environmental Science. That's a total of 14 credit hours. We don't really need the AP Calc AB but he is taking it to boost his GPA in high school. One thing that is great about the AP hours as well is that while the exams cost $95 a piece, since he is a junior the school evidently subsidizes it and those 14 hours are only going to cost $30 total. What a deal that is. It's like $2 a credit hour. I think as a sophomore he had to pay the full $95 for the one exam he took. For some reason they didn't give sophomores a break on the test fee.

    In addition, the study.com has SAT prep included as well. He is scheduled to take the SAT in March and has been using the Kahn academy for that as well.

    As far as the UEXCEL courses, we've opted to tackle them in this order:

    1. Workplace Communications and Computers
    2. Managerial Accounting
    3. Quantitative Analysis
    4. Principles of Finance

    I appreciate you pointing out the study.com as a resource. It's a little more expensive but we should only need it through the end of May at least for exam prep.

    This will leave him with 6 courses, two we will definitely take at Excelsior. The information literacy and the capstone. The information literacy will be the first course he takes at Excelsior and I hear that's pretty easy.

    For the last four courses, once we get closer to May, I'll contact Excelsior and ask about one course a time to see if the we can use study.com and count those for upper level courses.

    Otherwise, this will leave us time for 6 eight week sessions to get the course work done at Excelsior with an easy load of one course per eight week period if we need it during his high school senior year.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  10. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

    It never even occurred to me to mention the study materials for UEXCEL, AP, and others on Study.com. I think I was mainly focused in on their college courses.

    That's an incredible deal he got on those AP exams! You just about can't beat $2 per credit hour!

    Just curious... why is he taking the SAT? I wouldn't think that he would need it since he's going to be graduating from Excelsior.

    Looks like you've got the remainder of his plan all ironed out.
  11. GLGAmerica

    GLGAmerica Member

    That is crazy isn't it lol. It's almost free! I'll let you know how the test prep is for those courses.

    As far as the SAT, the schools constantly push the traditional route for college. College nights, SAT's, etc. Since this nontraditional way isn't really talked about except by him, his friends are also trying to figure out what they are going to do and most are planning on going to college. The pressure to do things the way everyone else does is there a little bit. Then there's the thought that what if he wants to do something entirely different career wise that might need a different type of degree.

    Really, we don't know what he is going to do when he graduates. I think his goal should be to start his own company but we haven't figured out what yet. Like most kids his age, they don't know what they want to do.

    I was talking with one of his friends families who are seniors and some got some money awarded for college. But they still complained that it was still going to cost a lot of money. I laughed and just told them that really the money they "received" is just a coupon to get you to go there. It's not real money. One dad I talked to has a a daughter about to graduate from college and how smart she was. But when she told him how much she was going to make doing what she was going to do, he was like that's not even worth it.

    Anyway, I figure the SAT won't hurt to do. He scored a 1450 on his PSAT. He has set a goal is to ace the SAT so we are going to see if he can do it and take it a couple of times if needed.

    I explained to him that if he does accomplish something like that that we might still go through the college application process and apply to some colleges. But only to prestigious one's like Ivy league or maybe places like Duke. And if for some reason they decided to give a free ride, then we would take it. It would be more likely that some smaller school would give a free ride I'd think but don't think a degree from a small school would really be worth pursuing since it wouldn't be worth any more than what he is doing. Plus you'd probably be in the middle of nowhere bored to death.

    However, my expectation is there is no free ride, only essentially discounted tuition.

    As far as his friends going to college, I always laugh and say you can still go to college wherever they go, you just won't have to go to class!

    We've talked a lot about what degrees really mean which is basically nothing in the whole grand scheme of things and how ridiculous it is to spend $100,000 plus to get it.

    All in all though, he's bought in to the plan and is looking forward to graduating from college when he graduates from high school. After each step we take we talk about how cool it is and he's like, it will be really cool to go through college commencement right after high school commencement. He mentioned it again today.

    I've already got the date on the calendar tentatively as July 10, 2020 and we expect to make the road trip to the college to celebrate the moment.

    With only 10 steps left, and nearly three quarters of the way there, I'm getting pretty excited and it's really cool to see the plan panning out!
  12. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

    I totally understand wanting to keep his options open. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life when I was his age.

    Has he considered engineering? The reason I ask is because there's a very unique engineering school I think he could qualify for. It's the Webb Institute.


    The Webb Institute is a really neat school. First, it's very small. It only has about 100 students at any given time. And it only offers one degree: a BS in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. Basically, it's an engineering school for ship builders.

    The Webb Institute is considered very prestigious in the engineering community. The school has a 100% job placement rating. And get this... the school does not charge any tuition. Nothing. All accepted students get a free ride. They do still have to pay for their room and board, but the tuition is free.

    The one bad thing about the Webb Institute is that it does not accept any transfer credit. Your son would essentially have to start all over again. Still, with his PSAT score and the fact that he will already have a BS when he graduates high school, I think he will have a strong chance of being admitted. His Excelsior degree will make him very competitive.

    Anyway, it's just a thought.

    Another option worth considering is to go through a master's degree through one of the highly-ranked schools offering programs through EdX. These programs are taught through MOOCS and are surprisingly affordable. He could potentially have a master's in hand from a prestigious university before his peers finish their undergrad degrees.


    I definitely agree that degrees don't really mean that much in the grand scheme of things. They definitely don't measure intelligence or wisdom. The only thing they show is that a person has completed a formal course of study in...something. That's it.
    GLGAmerica likes this.
  13. bceagles

    bceagles Member

    I’ve been thinking about this approach for my own kids, my oldest is 12 so I have some time to figure out the best path to take.

    My very quick research reveals that the average number of CLEP credits a traditional college/university (both 2 and 4 year schools) will accept is around 30. This equates to roughly 50% of the requirements for an associates degree and 25% of a bachelors.

    I’m going to say that a high estimate cost for 30 CLEP credits is about $1,500.

    So for $1,500 we can complete about 2 semesters/1 year of college, before actually attending college

    So basically, when my child is a HS sophomore, we can take 3/4 CLEP exams each year thru HS Senior year that line up with high school course material they had recent success with.

    The advantages of taking what seems to be a very doable approach on the most basic level:

    ~ Finish a traditional associates degree at the local community college in 1 year and then utilize their 2+2/transfer agreement to finish a traditional bachelors a year ahead of schedule.

    ~Either, complete a bachelors at a traditional 4 year school a year earlier or take a lite course load over 4 years and enjoy a less stressful college experience from a work load perspective.

    ~Hustle thru a low residency undergraduate degree and go right into a graduate program that they could complete at the same time, or prior to, their tradition 4 year program schedule.

    ~Provide the opportunity to not fall behind schedule for a student who hasn’t had a ton of accidemic success or might still be immature or hesitate to go to college because they don’t not know what they want to do

    I’m mostly looking at this from the presumption that the student is interested in having the more traditional college experience.

    I think it’s reasonable to say that spending $1,500 on 10 CLEP exams is the equivalent of a $15,000 - $25,000 scholarship at a 4 year school.

    And this isn’t taking into account any AP credit that can be obtained during high school.

    All this being said, I’m confident that most families aren’t taking this approach and I don’t know why! If I figured this out, how hasn’t everyone? What am I missing here? Is preparing and passing CLEPs unreasonable for most HS kids?

    At a minimum, I would hope that my kids graduate HS with 30 CLEP and maybe a few AP credits.
    GLGAmerica likes this.
  14. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member


    I think you're spot-on with the list of advantages. Another option to consider is to enroll your kids in an online dual enrollment program so they can complete both high school and college courses at the same time. For example, Bluefield College, a small liberal arts college in Virginia, offers a great online dual enrollment program that leads to earning an associate's degree and a high school diploma at the same time. The tuition is as cheap as many community colleges...


    This is just one example. There are other schools that offer these programs too. There's really no reason why a young person couldn't complete at least half of a bachelor's degree while still in high school without breaking a sweat.

    You mentioned that you don't know why most people don't do this. The reason is simple: most people don't know about challenge exams for college credit. They simply don't know about what options are available to them. My own high school counselors never mentioned them. Did yours?
    GLGAmerica likes this.
  15. GLGAmerica

    GLGAmerica Member

    I think it's great that you are thinking about doing this with your children. A few things came to mind as I read your post that I thought I might share with you in no particular order.

    1. As far as transferring in credits by exam, I found that 30 credits by exam is the most common limit. I'm not 100% certain but I think that would include AP credit. You'd have to check with the school. I went on that assumption. Maybe Marcus knows for sure. I don't think it would include dual credit but I wasn't interested in pursuing that because it's college specific (I think).
    2. Honestly, there is no reason that students shouldn't graduate from high school as college sophomores at a minimum. This would cut the cost of college by 25% and could save parents in excess of $25,000. Even without AP, students can take the CLEP exams for sure. Here's one thing I'd suggest. One of the first AP classes the school pushed where we live is AP US History. Students talk and my son was groaning about all of the homework in that class which he wasn't too excited about. So what I had him do is take the "non" AP US History and then take the two CLEP Exams for US History. I'd also consider taking CLEP and DSST exams for all the courses in high school that a CLEP test matches up with. For example, I had my son take a semester of Statistics and then take the DSST Principles of Statistics exam. He had three years of Spanish so I had him take the CLEP Spanish. The CLEP Spanish exam is one of my son's proudest exams I think because it was all in Spanish. Eventually my son has decided to take some additional AP classes he won't need just for the higher weighted GPA he'll get. I'm not sure why high school teachers don't recommend that students take the CLEP after their class. My son would tell his teachers that he passed the CLEP and DSST exams for the courses they were teaching him. Often before he was finished with their class. But by pairing up a CLEP with the actual high school course, that's a little more support in passing the CLEP.
    3. That being said, you don't really want to take classes you don't need. What you want to do is look at degree maps where they might attend school and start putting together the courses that would fit. Remember that courses only count once. so if you double up in the same type of course, you only need enough to meet the requirement. I spent a lot of time reading the college policies and even called several. Many will give you the CLEP equivalents if you dig so you can see which CLEP's will work and which one's won't.
    4. I think the best time to start is right around the end of sophomore year during the summer. We started right before the end of of my son's sophomore year and he passed his first CLEP a few days before the end of that year. My son was on an advanced academic path at school though.
    5. Start with the easiest CLEP's first to build momentum. I think it's important that they see success. Take a CLEP test yourself to see how it works. I took two on the same day after studying. After I took them, I was convinced my son could pass them. Then, you'll be familiar with the process and be much more able to prepare them for what to expect.
    6. Expect to pay total costs of $100-$125 per CLEP and DSST exam which would include prep services, practice tests and the actual exam.
    7. When you are ready, sign up for SpeedyPrep.com. It's a flashcard service that both my son and I thought was excellent. I think it's $15 per month.
    8. Buy the REA practice exams. I think they were around $12.
    9. Pay your kids after each exam they pass $100. This will give them additional incentive to pass an exam. Occasionally, you have to get creative with motivation to keep the process moving. I don't like paying extra money for passing to encourage progress (kids are smart and will figure out if I delay, I get paid more) so one idea I had was to give him a later curfew going forward when progress stalled a little bit. We also make it a celebration by going to one of our favorite restaurants, taking a photo and posting it on facebook. I actually have friends that joke that my son has more college credit than they do or say things like is your son a PHD yet? I share that stuff with him and he takes pride in it. That makes them feel really good about what they are doing and goes a long way.
    10. Get your child to take at least one study hall. Preferably the last class of the day. Have them use the study hall whenever possible to use the SpeedyPrep for example, practice exams after they finish their homework. Many times, my son used all of the extra free time in other classes to prepare.
    11. Until they get the habit, do the speedyprep with them. For the most part, my son has been able to use the prep services without my help after awhile. You can watch the progress in speedyprep. At least encourage them to keep moving forward. The main course I have helped him with is accounting. But you have to be prepared to teach a little bit where required.
    12. If your high school has one, go to their AP night where they talk about AP exams. At this event, the school will talk about AP classes, etc and hammer home the point that they expect a lot of independent work out of the students. The teacher treats it like college and puts the responsibility on the student to figure out what they need to do. During that event I explained to my son that what they were really saying was that you have to teach yourself. After a few speakers got up and explained the same thing, my son would laugh and lean over and go you have to teach yourself. So we got a good laugh out of it. I also explained to him that in my advanced macroeconomics course in college all the professor did was read right out of the book as "class" (I kid you not) which I could have done myself. Anyway, my message to him was, if you have to teach yourself, way pay thousands of dollars for it.
    13. I would definitely take AP English and AP Calc in high school. You'll find that when it comes to English, CLEP doesn't often cut it. And let's face it, calculus is a little harder to teach yourself how to do.
    14. Make a degree map and keep track of their progress. At first, I only focused on the course at hand but after he passed a few, I showed him the full plan so he could see what we were doing.
    15. Once you exhaust SpeedyPrep. Use instantcert.
    16. After instantcert use study.com
    17. Expect that even if you complete your degree plan, you might have missed something. While I think I've done a well thought out degree map, and have been fine tuning it as I go along, I'm sure Excelsior will tell me that I might need to do something else. Policies change. A requirement may not work that you did, etc.
    18. Kids can always still go to c

    OK. So those are some tips.

    In my opinion, it's probably one of the coolest projects you can do with your child. But in the end, if your child doesn't want to do it. Or, if you don't take the time to work with them on it, it won't work.

    One last point I'll make is that you have to be a good test taker. Good test takers have a great advantage because test taking skills are half the battle.

    Hope that helps!
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  16. GLGAmerica

    GLGAmerica Member

    My son always ask me what you say. He's always like what did Marcus say after he knows I post about him passing a class. He did laugh at the ship builder idea.

    One avenue we were thinking was find an employer that reimburses tuition and to go the IU Kelly School of Business. I did see that IU was part of the edx program although I don't believe it was Kelly affiliated.
  17. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

  18. GLGAmerica

    GLGAmerica Member

  19. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

    There's currently only two programs from Indiana University being offered through EdX, the master's in accounting and a master's in IT management. The IT degree isn't really a business degree, so it wouldn't be offered through the Kelly School of Business.

    If you go to the main EdX page with the master's programs and scroll down the page a bit, it states that more degree programs are coming soon. I have no idea which ones will be from IU...

  20. GLGAmerica

    GLGAmerica Member

    One step closer...!

    My son passed his second UEXCEL exam Workplace Communications in Business. He now has 90 credit hours and is effectively a senior which is crazy cool. He technically has 25 credit hours left of course work left to do since he's about 2/3 of the way through the three AP courses that he's already enrolled in.

    While my son passed, he was a little disappointed in his exam grade. After taking the UEXCEL practice tests and scoring well, he scored below what he expected on the real test. I was a little worried about this going into the UEXCEL exams since Pearson Vue is involved in the test process.

    Also, since these exams count toward his college GPA, they are a little more important.

    That's because one thing we are kicking around is maybe applying to law school. Two big factors are your college GPA and your LSAT score. A lower GPA will hurt our chances of a full ride if it's even possible.

    Here's his updated degree map:


    Next up is most likely the UEXCEL Managerial Accounting.

    SAT is March the 9th.

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