Joining a "Big Three": Where to start?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by aircon, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. aircon

    aircon New Member


    I have recently stumbled upon the "BA in 4 weeks" thread by accident and got very interested in joining the flexible type of examinations that the Big Three offer.
    I have completed 1/3 of a BS in UK and 1/3 of a BA from a UK university by distance a few years ago, and hoped that these could give me a head start.

    However, I'm not sure where to head next, which of the three colleges to join and what steps to follow. I've also seen people talk about CLEP, DANTES, TECEP, DSST etc... (is it possible to sit for these exams out of USA?) and that makes me a bit lost, as I'm not familar with the US education system.

    After reading a few threads about the colleges, I thought I could jump in straight away and start earning credits, but I'm now starting to feel discouraged, and I don't want to lose interest and motivation in getting my first degree.

    Is there a simple and compact step-by-step guide out there that could help me?
  2. CLEP is administered outside of the US (I don't know which countries or how many locations)- you can find a listing of test centers on their website.

    However- there is some really good news even if there is no test center near you. If you can find yourself a proctor near you (be it a local college or other type of test taking center), The College Board will gladly mail the test to the proctor for you to take there. I'm not sure what the UK policy is for this, but, contacting them should yield an answer to your question.

    If you truly did complete 2/3 of a degree, even from various places, and those courses are considered equivalent to regionally accredited US courses, then you are (in theory) 2/3 done with a Big Three degree.

    The first thing you should do is contact their admissions offices and ask them any of your questions. Both Excelsior and Charter Oak are incredibly fast at responding. I have no experience with Thomas Edison in this regard, though.

    The three schools are very simmilar, however, the differences between them can be huge depending on your goal. Excelsior and Thomas Edison offer majors, whereas Charter Oak offers Concentrations. They are simmilar, but the subtle differences may make you prefer one over the other.

    Depending on how you plan to go about getting your credits, one school may be less expensive than another. Thomas Edison is hands down the most expensive if you live outside New Jersey. For me, even though I qualify for in-state tuition at Charter Oak, the plan I laid out for myself was ultimately much less expensive and less time consuming if I went with Excelsior. There are also different general education requirements for each school. Seeing as you are from UK (which doesn't have general education requirements) I doubt you have any of these, so CLEP would may come in handy.

    I guess that's about all I know. :\ The best place for more information is the source itself: contact the College Board, look up the undergrad catalogue for each school and contact the admissions offices.
  3. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    So is DSST (civilan version of DANTES) - international test centers can be found here:

    I suggest you download the Excelsior Liberal arts catalog which gives a details of their degrees. After reading that you should be able to figure out the COSC and TESC programs.

    What country do you live in - if the UK (or Europe) the Open University will give you credit for prior college learning.

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