Excelsior Degree Plan

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

  1. bceagles

    bceagles Member

    Sorry if I’m asking a question that has already been addressed.

    What are the pros and cons of AP exam credit vs CLEP/DSST/etc. for highschool students?

    The only one that I can think of is English Comp. If I remember correctly, the English comp CLEP is the least accepted.

    Do AP and CLEP impact GPA different, possibly?

    What grade/age can students sit for AP exams?

  2. GLGAmerica

    GLGAmerica Member

    In my son's case, according to him the biggest downside of the advanced placement classes is the homework involved. I'd also guess that the AP exams are a tad tougher than CLEP exams. The main advantage of AP classes is you have someone teach the material to you all year.

    One additional advantage for my son as a junior was that the school paid most of the fee for the AP exams. It's only costing us a total of $30 for the 3 AP classes he is taking this year which is a downright steal.

    We opted for the AP English for the reasons you said. AP English is accepted at Excelsior according to what they told me and you can't use CLEP or DSST to satisfy the written English requirement. He didn't really want to take the AP English but loves it. I had told him he had to take the AP English because the UEXCEL exam is like $500. We are getting the 6 credits for $10. Assuming he passes.

    My son was a sophomore for his first AP class. Had to pay the full $95 test fee as a sophomore for some reason.

    Pretty sure CLEP is not included in the GPA according to the Excelsior website and my discussions with Marcus. Not sure on the AP whether that is included in the GPA or not. My guess is no but not certain.
  3. gotmilk

    gotmilk New Member

    I'm so glad to have found this thread.

    My mom's health suddenly failed at the end of 2014 and she passed away last year. Because it was essentially impossible for her to attend public school under our circumstances, my daughter switched to home school. We're horribly behind due to hospital stays, legal battles (family trying to steal my mom's assets), moving, etc., My kid was, understandably, worried about her future. Then I learned we had options like this, and if she does pretty much what your son is doing, she'll not only graduate high school almost on time, but she can do it with at least an associate degree. Right on!

    Excelsior looks like it will be the best option for us, but nobody seems to talk about it. So thank you for sharing your experiences thus far and your map. I've been trying to figure out where to start and the info here has been exceptionally helpful.
  4. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    Nobody talks about it because it really is a poor choice for a young person.

    Hopefully she sets her aims a little higher for college. Many colleges accept AP credits--no need to settle for an adult student completion program, when as a young person they will have much better options. The future is what you make it; don't settle unless you have to. She could even go to a community college to save on the first two years; most are essentially open admissions, and yes many have online classes (though not fully). Or even Excelsior and then transfer to public, 4-year state university.

    Some people on this board like to slap together the quickest or easiest package for a school such as Excelsior, using testing, etc. Some would get a Bachelor's in Basket Weaving if it was the easiest option available--no regard for what they want to do or future, seemingly. That's perfectly fine if you are an adult and have tried and failed to make it through colleges due to life changes, moving, etc., but there are significantly better options out there. There are some adults who have been through several colleges and not had it work for various reasons, and they are looking for a way to salvage a degree. I would recommend your daughter enroll in a public university, get credits for her AP classes, and take some online classes there on the side if she really dislikes being in the classroom, but take advantage of what the campus has to offer, i.e. networking, extracurricular activities, friends, etc. There is no reason for her to settle. She should find a program that will prepare her well for the future. While I am sure there will be posts insisting taking tests for an Excelsior degree is the best possible life choice any person could make and that there is no inherent value in the traditional college experience, I do respectfully disagree. :)
  5. gotmilk

    gotmilk New Member

    As I mentioned, this is also how she's graduating high school. Your suggestion really only works for somebody who has already graduated high school and who isn't years behind due to all of those problems you mentioned adults having.
  6. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    I wasn't sure what you meant by that; it was not entirely clear or perhaps I read it too quickly..
    It is fine if she graduates from high school, but then it is time to move on to another university. I think she would be in a good position to do so if she graduates high school from there. They will accept that credential.
  7. gotmilk

    gotmilk New Member

    I think the part you missed was when I said was that by following a similar plan to the one described in this thread, my daughter will be able to graduate high school almost on time- and to do so with a college degree. I think that graduating high school a little late, but doing so with a college degree as her high school transcript will be a tremendous advantage.
    I'm trying to understand why you think Excelsior is a poor choice for a young person. Or were you saying that you find all of the Big Three to be poor choices? I commented because I find plenty of information online for people using the other two. It is only Excelsior that nobody talks about.
  8. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    Well, can you name a program from them that is going to really help her get a good job, with people eager to recruit her? I don't know, perhaps so, but I would be surprised.
    You can get a lot more from an on-campus experience, so I would recommend that if possible, along with online classes there if she hates going to class. That way she can do more on campus. It is easier to get an internship, job fairs, etc. That is to say nothing of making friends, networking, the whole experience. This all assumes that she selects a more worthwhile major and school. There are many opportunities for STEM, if she has any interest in that.

    I think the Big Three serve a purpose for adults who are in a bind, but that should not be a choice for a young person. That is just giving up and taking the easy way. Even if she wants to do full online, there are many public universities with a strong brick and mortar presence that can offer online degrees. Look in your own state at their online degree offerings. Be sure to select nonprofit, regionally accredited; state universities are a safe bet.
  9. gotmilk

    gotmilk New Member

    Okay- I was just confirming before backing out of this tangent. I appreciate your thoughts and understand that you feel very passionate about your topic, but it simply doesn't relate.

    Anyway, GLGAmerica... thanks again for sharing your experience. I hope you keep updating. I'm so interested to hear how your son does!
  10. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

    dlbb seems to have a bias against the Big 3 (for some reason). I respectfully disagree with him/her. The Big 3 have served many young people very well, like this person:


    It's the second success story on the page. The young man earned a degree from Thomas Edison at the age of 18 and then went on to complete a law degree at Case Western Reserve University. Oh, and he got a free ride to law school, too.

    Yes, a person could go to a state school, as dlbb suggests, but for most people that would require taking out a student loan and racking up substantial debt (terrible idea). The great thing about the Big 3 is that it's possible to earn a legitimate college degree for very little money (if you are smart about it). If you are concerned about having some school name recognition on your resume, then earn a graduate degree from a big-name school after earning your bachelor's from a Big 3 school.
  11. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    I see dlbb's views as being extreme and do not agree with his assessment that the prospective student, regardless of age, would be doing themselves any disservice by attending Excelsior, TESU or COSC. I would also want to point out that while Excelsior is a private school, TESU and COSC are both a part of their respective state university systems.
    JBjunior likes this.
  12. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    I am aware they are state schools. :) I don't try to be extreme, and I think most people would not find my views as such. There are rather insular, extreme views on this forum on such topics as the Big Three, which the population as a whole likely would not share. To each their own. I don't think there is anything WRONG with the Big Three. I am sure they provide a decent enough education, if you don't waste all the credits on testing. I just think it is a shame that a young person would not take advantage of far better opportunities at that age.

    Loans can be an issue, yes, but if the student selects a major that leads to good employment opportunities, it really doesn't matter all that much. Tuition at most in-state schools are reasonable and will not cripple someone financially for life. One should give careful thought to the future and financial realities when selecting a college, a major, etc. Attending a community college the first two years can also help lessen the financial burden. There is a saying...penny wise, pound foolish...and that can apply here as well. It means potentially your income over a lifetime could be markedly less if you select a school and/or major that is easier/cheaper/doesn't offer any great advantages.

    As to the example you mentioned, earning a degree at 18 means he was particularly motivated and likely would have found success regardless of where he did his undergraduate.
  13. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    He definitely has a lot of vintage 20th century advice. The strategy of going with one of the Big Three for undergraduate and then a well known school for one's Master's is a perfectly good one. I know, because that's what I did, and if I'd had any regrets I wouldn't have encouraged my eldest to do the same.
  14. gotmilk

    gotmilk New Member

    I understand dlbb's feelings, but as I said- they don't even relate. In this thread, we're talking about students who are still in high school. They aren't in a position to network with other college students, get those internships, go to job fairs, etc.,

    As a home school family, my daughter and I have options a lot of people don't have, so we're using certifications (like CNA/STNA) as part of her high school transcripts. We want to use a college degree as the final portion of her high school studies. She'll still be graduating a little behind schedule, but it'll be with better records than she would have had otherwise. I believe that any school or employer she considers in the future is more likely to have a positive reaction than a negative one.

    We're leaning toward Excelsior, but are still researching the differences among the three schools. That's why I was excited to find this thread. There simply isn't enough out there from anybody using/ planning to use Excelsior.
    newsongs likes this.
  15. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    As I said, I apologize for not carefully reading your first post. Excelsior is fine for completing high school. Once that is completed, then she can think about a state university. I think she likely would be well prepared, and if not there may be remedial classes there that can help her. And if she is in doubt about readiness, she can brush up skills at a community college. I believe in your daughter. I hope she can complete the high school diploma and then move onto a university. The whole world is at her feet. A STEM field would prepare her well for the future, if she is up for the challenge.

    I would be careful of taking the advice of some of the champions of the Big Three, as some unfortunately some do not give useful advice.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  16. GLGAmerica

    GLGAmerica Member

    Obviously, dibb hit a little bit home here with the weakness of this strategy of getting your Bachelor's degree. People will look down on it. I can't lie and say it's not in the back of my mind a little bit.

    But unless I'm incorrect, Excelsior is a regionally accredited college just like the private school I went to that now costs roughly $40,000 a year. I studied Economics and Finance in college and my fondest memory was taking an advanced macroeconomics class. The professor was from Cypress. He couldn't speak English very clearly which would have been fine except for the fact that his lectures were comprised of him just reading the book word for word to us in class. Essentially, I taught myself advanced macroeconomics and wrote the university a check for the privilege to do so.

    Is Excelsior the best college in the world? No. But neither are probably most of the colleges in the country and thousands of students attend those colleges each and every year.

    From what I can tell. A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school, a decent GPA and a great score on the LSAT will get my son into law school.

    As an example, here's IU school of law (top 25 law school) admission requirements.

    • "If you have completed or are in the process of completing a bachelor’s equivalent degree from an accredited college or university and have taken or plan to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), you are eligible for admission to the Indiana University Maurer School of Law."
    Now if IU school of law is inundated with more applications than they have room for, and if the school is given a choice between a student like my son who might have went to Excelsior and another student who went to Princeton with equal qualifications, then it probably matters where he got his undergraduate degree. But let's hope that doesn't become an issue. From what I understand, there are law schools that need more students than they can find. Which one's I'm not sure yet.

    But, pretty much the approach we've seem to have settled on is to save the money on the undergraduate degree and put the focus on an advanced degree (like a law degree) obtained the more "traditional" way expecting that most people will then focus on the advanced degree and not really on the undergraduate degree after that.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  17. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    There is a reason why law school admissions have dropped steeply since 2010. That is because the jobs are drying up. I am sure he will find a law school as long as he has a decent GPA and LSAT--no question about that. Getting into law school is also one thing, but passing the bar is another. High LSAT is a good indicator for capacity to do that. A rigorous program will prepare the student well for law school. I hope that rigor is comprised of actual coursework and not tests, if your son is hoping to pass the bar when he gets to that point. If the rigor and critical thinking being taught at the Big Three, or heavens forbid through testing out, is not up to par, all the money saved will not amount to much if he is unable to pass the bar and use the law degree. Hopefully that will not happen to your son, but I guarantee others will find themselves in similar circumstances.

    The Big Three will not bar you from advanced degrees, but you certainly would miss out. It is naive to think otherwise.
  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    You do realize that not only can one take courses on campus and apply them to a Big Three degree, but that most people do? The difference is that one can do that when it's helpful or advantageous, and not when it isn't. If I were pre-law I'd want to make sure I took courses like logic, and writing intensive courses like philosophy, sure. But there's nothing wrong with throwing some tests into the mix. In fact I'd say your argument that having prepared for and passed tests makes one less able to sit the bar is frankly a little bizarre.
  19. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    Of course you would. Note the comment about some comments being less useful than others.
    You thinking taking what I would assume to be easy tests will prepare someone for the bar because they are both tests? The mind boggles.

    I am not sure you have much of an idea about rigor, analytical writing, and critical thinking that can come from high quality course work. You think those magically come from testing? Philosophy is the only writing-intensive course you can think of? You clearly are not one to offer an opinion here, with all due respect.

    Sure, the Big Three would be far more useful if students attended many of the courses on campus or through rigorous online course work, but that hardly seems to be the case here, and thus not relevant to this discussion. A high school student thinking about completing high school and college in the future is going to go to a Big Three school to complete her high school diploma, start attending classes at some unnamed on-campus school, and then wash those classes through the Big Three? Really, I would not have gotten that from this conversation. :)
  20. JBjunior

    JBjunior Active Member

    I have a degree from the big three and got a 159 on the LSAT with no study. What you continue to miss is most people going to these schools bring a lot to the table and usually have a breadth of knowledge that is recognized by, not obtained, by the testing and degree conferral. I didn’t need to sit through a semester of management or X when taking a CLEP would do and coincidentally has been evaluated at the same level as someone that does sit there for an entire semester. Education is education, not indoctrination. This method of invaluable learning and being taught how to do things at a traditional college may be paramount to you, I definitely wouldn’t trade my path for it.

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