The Big Three Poll

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by PonyGirl93, Nov 7, 2009.


Which of the Big Three?

  1. Charter Oak

    7 vote(s)
  2. Excelsior

    14 vote(s)
  3. TESC

    15 vote(s)
  4. None, I dislike them all (do explain!)

    3 vote(s)
  1. PonyGirl93

    PonyGirl93 Member

    Hey Everybody. It seems like we have Charter Oak vs. Excelsior vs. TESC comparisons spread out all over the board. You have to be pretty mean with the search feature to find what you're looking for. So I thought it would be good to have people's personal opinions all consolidated in one thread.

    So what do you all think about any aspect of each of the schools?

    Here's the websites in case any newbies were looking for those :)

    Charter Oak:


    Thomas Edison State:

    Which do you prefer and why? Pros and Cons?
  2. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    Each of these schools has its own set of advantages and disadvantages relative to the other schools in this list. The common advantage is 100% transfer-in credit hours are allowed. The common perceived disadvantage is the 100% virtual nature of these schools, ie. no brick-and-mortar campus. As a graduate of Thomas Edison State College (TESC) I have not had anyone question the legitimacy of the degree.
  3. imalcolm

    imalcolm New Member

    I haven't attended any of the Big Three yet, but I'm considering getting a second undergrad degree (RA this time).

    I'm leaning toward Excelsior because it looks like they will accept a certain number of NA credits without too much fuss.
  4. TMW2009

    TMW2009 New Member

    Though I haven't enrolled yet (waiting til May to do so) I voted for Excelsior.

    For what I'm looking for, they have a lot of things going for them, especially the ability to earn up to 30 credits (12LL & 18UL) through the GRE Subject Exams. You do have to get in the 81st percentile or above to get the full 30, where as Charter Oak gives you 18-24 credits for a score over the 40th percential, I believe.

    Their Liberal Arts degree program is pretty flexible, and sets the groundwork for a number of different degree paths with the ability to choose majors.

    I've spoken with quite a few people who've graduated from Excelsior, and they didn't have a whole lot of bad things to say about the experience.
  5. jayncali73

    jayncali73 New Member

    Worked for me......

    Excelsior worked best for me because they were the most flexible and took all of my credits in transfer. Since the degree states it is a "Member of the University of the State of New York" some assume it to be a state university.

    I have never had my degree questioned. I have applied to graduate programs at many state and private universities/colleges and none have rejected or questioned my degree to date.

    Excelsior can be a little frustrating in terms of customer service but with a little patience, they usually deliver. Overall, I recommend EC especially now that you can get some federal aid to help out. The classes are a little expensive but I did like the few I took to finish up my upper division units.

    I have referred several co-workers and staff members to EC and they seem to like it too.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2009
  6. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    I went with COSC. They were more accepting of my older credits (technology credits greater then 10 years old), the customer service is awesome (TESC acted like they were doing me a favor by picking up the phone), they answer all my questions before I enrolled (the advisor even started to recognize my voice all call me by name), they just made it easy to work with them!
  7. ShotoJuku

    ShotoJuku New Member

  8. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    I would have chosen an "I like them all" category. The differences are relatively minor--especially when compared with the 3,000+ other providers of Associate's and Bachelor's degrees. Shopping around is still important.

    However, forced to choose, I chose Edison for various reasons, including these:
    * Better name, and never had a name change
    * Apparently more-generous/flexible with experiential learning credits
    * Invited me to give keynote speech at one of their National Institutes on experiential learning, at Princeton, and always responded to my questions and comments
    * Fewer complaints from my readers over the years
    * Provost Debbie Dagavarian had on her wall an autographed picture of Cool Papa Bell (whom she had visited).
  9. Mike001

    Mike001 New Member

    I'm new to Distance Education, except for a few online classes in college. I'm considering graduate studies and it appears Excelsior is the only one of the "Big Three" you mention that offers graduate programs.

    What would everyone recommend as good options for online graduate programs?

  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Hi Mike - Ya just gotta help us out a tiny bit. What subject area?
    Ornithology maybe?
  11. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    TESC also offers graduate programs

    But there may be much better distance learning options to meet your needs.
  12. OnMyWay

    OnMyWay Grand Duchess

    TESC -Which I graduated from. I like the sound of the name. They had a degree program that fit my needs. The process was really easy for me. They don't do a lot of hand holding but it works really well for independent learners with good follow up skills. I got the help I needed via email.
  13. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    Why COSC

    My 16 year old daughter has 41 college credits - and thanks to this board, we started investigating the Big 3. She plans to graduate with an AA this summer. Her degree plan is mapped out so she will not be completing any coursework there.

    Since she plans to move on, I could see no advantage in paying more for the AA, and COSC has the least expensive tuition/fees of the Big 3. In addition, I have been impressed by the customer service. We have phone calls/e-mails returned by the admissions staff, advising, etc, within one business day. So for us, COSC was the best choice (although like John, I don't believe any of the Big 3 are bad).

    In addition, one of my advisees (I teach at a CC) is enrolled in classes at COSC. She has an associates degree from our institution along with some old GE credits from a school in Minnesota (which COSC accepted.) She is happy with the program, the level of instruction and her feedback, etc.

  14. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    Kids today have it so easy. :p Your daughter is impressive.

    Yep, there is little reason not to earn an AA/AS from one of the Big 3 before attending on-campus for a BA/BS for most high school students/graduates.
  15. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    I voted for TESC, one of the best military programs out there (for active duty). I completed my BA in Psych from them in 2004 while still in the Marine Corps. They were generous with my military credits, FEMA credits, and other credits I had earned from various schools. The administrative support was good, and the professor's were helpful and flexible. I usually recommend them to friends in the military.

  16. Mike001

    Mike001 New Member

    That's for the birds. :) Still working on that. Possibly something marketing related.

    Thanks, I think you're probably right and I'll have to start doing more research.
  17. Jazz

    Jazz Guest

    I chose TESC for a number of reasons. The main one was the name. Excelsior sounds like a diploma mill, and Charter Oak reminded me of the band camp from American Pie.

    The only thing I didn't like at TESC was their customer service sucked. It took them forever to update my degree audit and return my emails. Other than that, I was happy with my experience.
  18. recruiting

    recruiting Member


    My wife graduated from TESC two years ago with a Bachelors, and when I was thinking of going there instead of NYIT they were very helpful when some issues came up with regards to their military policies. They actually changed the cost of their in-house exams for military folks as they were charging us more. My old posts have the all the info on that.

    My wife is also in the military and TESC was very helpful in a lot of ways with regards to time tables and tuition.

    I have taken a few classes from Charter Oak and it was ok as well. The only thing I don't like about that school is it has LOTS of "extra" fees. But so far I have found COSC's customer unmatched by any school I have had contact with thus far be it B&M or Distance!

  19. MISin08

    MISin08 New Member

    I went with Excelsior, mostly because they had a lot of info on their site when I was initially exploring, and COSC didn't offer a major. IIRC COSC (the best name of the big 3 IMHO and they appear to be really nice) is somewhat more costly as well.

    I enrolled under a partnership plan and I have tuition reimbursement to cover the 12 credits I have to take at EC. This makes EC very reasonable. I've been happy with them, including (so far) one of their online courses. I like the level of control I've had in completing my degree.

  20. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    What about Athabasca, as one of the Big 4?

    There has been discussion in the past about whether we should be talking about the Big 4. As I understand it, Athabasca University ( also offers the Bachelor's degree based entirely on previously-earned credits, now has distance students from 67 countries, also offers a range of Master's programs and two distance doctorates (business, education) . . . and has U.S. regional accreditation, to boot, from the Middle States Association.

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