Need Help with Degree Completion Strategy

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by mr.wonderful, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. mr.wonderful

    mr.wonderful New Member

    Hi! This is my first post after finding these forums from a popular blog that highly recommended the site.

    I need help with coming up with a strategy for completing my undergrad. I'm 32 and I have built a successful career as a sr. software engineer and executive.

    However, I'm also a real estate developer (licensed agent and soon-to-be broker) and I'd like to finish my degree so that I can get a grad degree in real estate / entrepreneurial studies. This will better position me when raising capital from high-net-worth investors I work with.

    If I post the course work I've completed, can you guys help me decide on which degree I should go after (computer science vs business/mgmt. vs something else) and how to go about doing it in a way that saves me time/money?
  2. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Without even seeing your plan, I'd suggest computer science. It's a vastly more valuable degree. Programming is arguably the hardest thing to do on earth that only a small fraction of human beings are capable of doing well enough, and the fact that you already have the skill is only going to put your career on a faster track. With that degree, you could still easily get a good job in business if you need to at some point, and you don't need a degree for real estate, the overwhelming majority of real estate pros don't have a degree in real estate; as long as you're licensed that's all that matters, and if you become a broker you'll be as far up the chain as you need to be in terms of credentials for real estate.

    Just my view.
  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

  4. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Please post your credits here or the other forum ( People here often make the recommendation of the BS in Liberal Arts at Excelsior automatically based on 10-20 year old information without taking into consideration the credits the person may already have. Excelsior is the most expensive option of the Big 3 schools (includes Charter Oak State College and Thomas Edison State University).
  5. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, I didn't make a "recommendation." I told the OP to "consider" it precisely because I (we, actually) didn't have more information.

    Also, it's not just about the credits one has. It's also about the quickest, straightest path to a degree--that's what the OP needs to enter the graduate program indicated. Some posters, even those who are anonymous yet claim to be in a PhD program, sometimes fail to see that.
  6. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    I'm not super fond of the Big 3, but to me, the main question is why a person with a deep Software Engineering background would pursue degrees that are worthless by comparison to Computer Science? A Liberal Arts or Real Estate degree is toilet paper compared to a degree in Computer Science.

    Liberal Arts isn't even an actual discipline, it's just a fancy way of saying "General Studies" which is a less fancy way of saying "I can't decide on a real major because I don't know what I want to be when I grow up".

    It's like this: if you're already licensed as an REA and on your way to broker status, you don't need the Real Estate degree. Skip that, it's pointless, and it won't impress anyone. Your sales track record is all that will matter in that industry and you're not going to learn much more of any value pursuing a Real Estate degree.

    Since you're already high enough in your Software Engineering career, do you need a Computer Science degree? That's a question you need to think about. That field is largely based on "show and prove", but you already know that. Sure, there are places that have a rigid policy of not hiring programmers without a degree in the field, but lots programmers break through that by presenting projects as a resume.

    If I were you, I'd just get a business degree, one with an entrepreneurial concentration and then pursue Project Management education w/PMP certification. It will help you more with learning how to run your own ventures which will come in handy in both software and real estate or whatever else you plan to do.
  7. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Almost every time someone asks for a flexible program, there are several people who pop up here with the recommendation of the BS in Liberal Arts without considering the person's interests, goals, or existing credits. It is a last resort degree and a generic "check-the-box" degree that one might regret when making future educational or professional pursuits. I agree with you. It's mostly a degree for the desperate, the undecided, or those who don't want to take the time to major in anything more specific and want to throw their existing credits into something. Sometimes, the liberal arts degree is not even more efficient than earning something that is more closely related to the credits one already has.

    Anyway there are plenty of business programs with MIS or CIS concentrations, so you sort of get the best of both worlds.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2016
  8. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    There are, of course, some people who want their degree to fit in snugly with a number of different options they might find themselves pursuing. My Social Sciences degree fits that bill in my case. It certainly sounds nice on a resume, in my opinion. I don't think it's much different than a Liberal Studies degree, given that I wasn't required to take Statistics (I gladly would have since I love math), and that my "major" consists of credits in Psychology, Sociology and Economics. Three different fields, two of them I found to be nothing but fluff.
  9. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Social science is more focused than liberal arts as is humanities and natural science. Working in criminal justice and social services, I've actually found many jobs that ask for a degree that is related to social or behavioral science or human services. Being that these agencies tend to be quite picky (some will accept CJ, but not police science or law enforcement), a liberal arts or liberal studies degree wouldn't work. With social science, you usually have the the stuff that is desirable for various government positions such as government, economics, and political science or the stuff that is desirable for human services such as psychology, sociology, and criminal justice (some of my CJ courses were counted as social sciences). History and anthropology would apply to other types of jobs, but history really should be classified as humanities and some fields of anthropology are practically human biology.

    When HR sees liberal arts or liberal studies, they can't be quite sure what you studied. Your degree could consist of mostly science, mathematics, humanities, social science, or any combination of those fields courses. I was also able to use my social science degree to waive the practicum and substance abuse education requirements to register as a licensed chemical dependency counselor intern. Ideally, though, I would have rather had a degree in psychology, but ETS cancelling my GRE Subject Test ruined my plans. I chose social science in the end because it was quicker, but psychology would have had the same flexibility plus the added bonus of being more marketable for jobs that look for more specific degree titles.

    Unrelated to the OP, but in reference to your post, I have found what I learned in psychology and sociology to be quite helpful because I work in a related field. Psychology is pretty much the basis of substance abuse counseling anyway. For those who need to use psychology, they don't find it to be fluff at all. Those who have only taken introductory courses in the social sciences haven't really been exposed to the scientific nature of the fields. Economics is of no use in my job. It's fluff to me, but I know it's not fluff to people who need to use it. I know, however, that it is just like every other social science. It tries to predict things based on almost unpredictable human behavior and often gets things wrong. IT/IS/CS courses aren't at all applicable to what I do; I mostly took those courses for personal enrichment.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2016
  10. Davewill

    Davewill Member

    Since the OP isn't pursuing a software career, why should he get a CS degree? He needs a degree that will help him get into the Masters program he wants... And he probably doesn't want to spend too much time on it.
  11. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    The OP brought up computer science. We don't know if he has a lot of CS credits already since he hasn't posted his credits yet. Let's say that he doesn't need a CS degree; he would have to look at the programs he's interested in. Does he need prerequisites? Will those prerequisites be in line with a business administration undergraduate degree? One could fit those credits into a liberal arts degree as electives, but considering that one can test out of the capstone for the BSBA at TESU, the BS in Liberal Arts at Excelsior would be a more expensive and slower degree to obtain.

    The OP should also examine whether or not he really needs a master's in real estate or entrepreneurial studies. There are business administration programs at the undergraduate level with entrepreneurship concentrations. This is also something he could study on his own. From my understanding, the OP isn't pursuing a software or real estate development career. He is already doing both. He just seems to want to further his education and add more credibility to his resume getting a degree.
  12. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    This is because this degree also allows for concentrations (or areas of emphasis). One can get a BS in liberal arts with concentration in computer information systems. Good enough for programming jobs that most of the time do not even require a degree in CS.

    The other option is a BS in Technology in Computer Technologies if one doesn't like the BS in Liberal Arts label.

    By the way, Excelsior is way cheaper than TESC as you only need to take one class with Excelsior and only pay 400 dlls a year for administration expenses. The other computer credits can come from Microsoft Certifications or other similar source of computer credits.

    With Excelsior College you also get a degree that states "Excelsior College member of the University of the state of new york" that adds a bit more credibility to the degree in my opinion.Although the university of the state of new york is really all the colleges and universities of this state, it just sounds more official and leads to more credibility.

    In any case, if your resume says BS in LS with concentrations in CIS or BS in Technology with concentration in Computer Technologies, I don't think the employer will care too much either way.

    By the way, the TESC degree is a BA in Liberal Arts with concentration in CS that is a very similar label of the Excelsior college LS degree with the disadvantage that you have to complete a set of specific CS courses while Excelsiror LS degree allows for any CS course for its concentration.
  13. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It's remarkable to see the amount of analyzing being done regarding the OP with almost nothing known. Fortunately, this mis-guidance can be just as easily dismissed as it is dispensed.

    The OP said he/she needed a degree in order to pursue a particular master's. The Excelsior liberal arts degree can be an extremely fast ticket to enter that master's. The rest of this thread is just useless posturing.
  14. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    There was enough information given to make some recommendations. The mis-guidance is the nonsensical idea that a person who is accomplished in Computer Science--a field that subsists on logic--should do something illogical like pursue a lousy general degree.

    A Business degree can be done fairly quickly, too, and it's actually a real major. He/she should expect it to take some time either way, it's college, not a fast-food joint.

    Besides, people gave better suggestions like at least having a concentration in Business or Computer Science if he's going to pursue the Liberal Arts degree. I wouldn't bother with Liberal Arts at all and just pursue a real major, but that's up to the OP. It doesn't change the fact that an actual full major is a better idea than a general track in the long run, because what happens if life steps in the way and he/she can't pursue the Master's? Happens all the time.

    Well of course it's useless, it doesn't agree with your view.
  15. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    The degree may state that, but no prospective employer or grad school will ever see your degree to read it. And it's too long and silly-sounding to put on a resume.

    If the imprimatur of a state is so helpful, and I'm not saying it is or isn't, you'd think it would be better to go with Charter Oak State College or Thomas Edison State University, which really are state institutions.
  16. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    The BS in Technology can be as fast to obtain as it accepts any computer related credits that you might have (assuming that you have computer related credits or willing to test out computer related credits). The OP might be better served with a BS in Technology as it supports his current job.

    Also, if the goal is a MS in CS or IT, the BS in Technology might be received better than BS in LS.
  17. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    The BS in Technology in Computer Technologies would be much more expensive and less alternative credit friendly than the BSBA in CIS at TESU. Even TESU's Bachelor of Science in Applied Science and Technology in Technical Studies (BSAST in Technical Studies) is more flexible.

    This is not true. A BSBA from TESU can be earned from scratch for just under $5,000. We've crunched the numbers at the other forum. None of the other degrees can be earned from scratch for under $5,000. Plus, the initial enrollment fee at Excelsior is over $1,000. Then, you pay over $400 per year to maintain enrollment. TESU requires a $2,000 waiver fee for the residency requirement under the Per Credit Tuition Plan plus $300 for the cornerstone course. Other than that, you only have to take a $114 TECEP to satisfy the capstone requirement for the BSBA. There is no annual fee. And, since TESU is more flexible about what they count as upper level credits and require less upper level credits overall, this also provides more cheap options for earning credits.

    The Excelsior capstone will cost $1,530. Currently, one school at Excelsior has been telling students that they will no longer accept information literacy in transfer. That's another $510. If there is no test out option for research and writing for their liberal arts degrees (this is separate from research methods), then that is potentially another $1530. Again, people on this forum are basing their advice on 10-20 year old information. Even going by 5 year old information will often lead to misinformation.

    For most situations, TESU and COSC are the cheaper options. COSC is about as flexible as Excelsior when granting credits for IT certifications. I usually only recommend Excelsior when a degree someone wants is not offered at the other two.

    Thomas Edison State College is now Thomas Edison State University. It is actually a university and actually a public university. It does not need a confusing name to get this official look you're talking about.

    It depends on what the employer is looking for. If you only have a handful of IS, IT, and/or CS courses on your transcript, then your degree does not compare to someone who actually has a degree in IT or CS.

    This is not true. It is a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science from TESC. Nowhere on my transcript or diploma does it say liberal arts or liberal studies.

    It's remarkable how so many people on this forum automatically tell someone who needs a fast and/or flexible degree to get a BS in Liberal Arts at Excelsior without looking at the individual's situation. It's lazy advice. Why not just put on the front page of this forum that everyone should get a BS in Liberal Arts at Excelsior to save yourself the effort of typing the post each time?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2016
  18. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    If one doesn't mind having a liberal arts or general studies degree with a concentration, Charter Oak State College offers a BS or BA in General Studies with a concentration in Information Systems. They accept free FEMA courses as electives at no additional charge. Excelsior requires that they be on a Frederick Community College transcript, and FCC charges $81 per credit hour. I think they might also accept them from other community colleges, but they also charge.

    I emailed Excelsior about information literacy and research and writing because I was interested in their natural science degree. I heard one can use Tor College Credits for information literacy, but no one seems to have an answer for what can be used to fulfill "Research and Writing in the Degree." I can't earn a third bachelor's at TESU. I'm awaiting Excelsior's response.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2016
  19. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    It is too late for me to edit this post, but Excelsior's liberal arts degree only has one official concentration, and that is called professional and technical writing. It's very new. What other students will create are depths. You're required to have two depths with upper level credits in each one.
  20. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    It is obvious that you are not a fan of Excelsior but I just got one of these BS in Technology in Computer Technologies, I had about 10 certifications that were collecting dust and I thought I could convert into a degree. I evaluated with Excelsior and TESC, Excelsior only required me to take 7 credits and 4 were required from Excelsior that cost around $2100 and completed the other 3 credits from a testing service ($50 bucks). Then there was the $400 dlls annual fee and $100 dlls for admission, finally $500 for graduation for a total of around $3100 USD (bit more or less).

    TESC has as a very structured format for CS, they need specific classes that did not match my certifications (e.g. data structures, etc). They required 22 credits of courses. There is a Residency Waiver fee of $2,000 if you do not take TESC classes. This does not include admission fees plus the 21 credits that you need to take somewhere else. 21 credits would cost at least another $2500 plus another admission and graduation fees for a total of about $5000.

    How this is cheaper? Again, this is assuming that the OP has enough CS credit work and certifications. Excelsior BS in Technology is very flexible as it does not have any required structure for courses. Also it accept courses that are older than 10 years in IT. Most other programs require you to complete a structure of courses that are not easy to match with your existing course work.

    There is no one answer to the query, this depends on the existing education of the student. The suggestion would be to evaluate with at least two of the big three and see who gives you the best deal.

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