Degree Forum Wiki


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Welcome to the Degree Forum WikiEdit

Welcome to the unofficial wiki of the community. This wiki contains information on how to accelerate your degree completion through transfers and test-outs at "The Big 3" schools (all fully accredited and including two public state schools) and complete your degree for as little as $5,000-$10,000 from scratch. The Big 3 schools are tailored to adult learners seeking a degree for career or personal enhancement. Don't worry, these aren't diploma mills -- two of them are state schools. Also, tests can be taken by students at virtually any age, so parents you can get your kids started! There are quite a few high school students in the forum who are planning to complete associate's or even bachelor's degrees by the time they graduate high school!

NOTE: This wiki is NOT officially attached to, nor endorsed by, the owner of and He provides a fantastic service on his own. This wiki is entirely community-developed. As such, no statements found here should be seen as official statements from

NOTE 2: This wiki is NOT a discussion forum. All discussion features should be disabled. Any discussion should take place at the site. It is an excellent resource and the wiki will only augment it, not take away from it.

Wait, I can test out of my degree?Edit

In a word -- YES! It is entirely possible to get a fully-accredited bachelor's degree from a state school without taking a single class! Many people have gone down this route before and blazed the trail for you. One user reported earning 89 credits in one month using various test-out options! And many of these are acceptable as transfer credit at most regionally-accredited schools, though schools other than The Big 3 generally have restrictions on the amount of credit you can transfer in.

However, purely test-out is not the only option available. The Big 3 have generous transfer policies, allowing you to transfer in all but 3-4hr of a total of 120 credits needed to complete a degree. They were designed specifically for the adult career learner who may have credits from a variety of sources (community colleges, universities, industry certifications, etc) but not enough to fill up a "traditional" degree. This wiki and can show you how to fill up the credits to get you a real, regionally-accredited degree.

How does it work?Edit

There are currently three universities that allow you to transfer in all but 3-4hr of a total of 120 credits needed for a bachelor's degree: Thomas Edison State College (TESC), Excelsior College (EC), and Charter Oak State College (COSC). These are often referred to as "The Big 3" schools. These schools specialize in providing education opportunities to busy, working adults who may have a collection of credits or creditable experience from multiple sources. Thanks to their generous policies it is possible to earn a bachelor's degree without taking a single college class. As long as you know how to do it, understand the policies, and are willing to put in the work, that is. This site, and the community, can help with the first two, but the third is entirely on you!

NOTE: These are NOT for-profit schools, nor are they "nationally accredited." Two of the "Big 3" are public state schools, and one (Excelsior) is private and formerly known as Regents College (formed by the New York State Board of Regents). These are reputable schools catering to adult students.

How much does it cost, and how long does it take?Edit

A lot less than you might think, and certainly far less than a traditional butt-in-seat school. User bricabrac completed four degrees in two years for $10,000! User ryoder completed one bachelor's degree in business administration in six months, got bored waiting to begin his graduate school courses and decided to knock out a second bachelor's degree in science and math in six months. He then went on to complete his graduate degree in six months. (Both of these are outliers, but many people complete a degree in 1-2 years)

What type of degree can I get?Edit

It depends on the school. With Thomas Edison you can get a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, each with a variety of majors. Excelsior has similar degree structures available. Both have nursing programs. Charter Oak has general bachelor degrees with "concentrations" as opposed to majors. This allows you a bit more flexibility in structuring your degree in some cases. All three also provide associate degrees in various disciplines.

However, you may want to read the Georgetown Unemployment Report regarding employability and unemployment levels among the various types of undergraduate and graduate degrees. The disparity in earnings can be fairly high. This doesn't mean you should not take a generic Bachelor of Arts degree -- many people do quite well with them actually. It simply means that you should always consider your goals and situation before jumping into a particular degree program. For more information on how to choose a degree see this very informative discussion thread at discussing the Georgetown study and degree selection.

Legitimate degrees from real colleges, not "life experience" degreesEdit

The Big 3 are all regionally-accredited public state universities that offer their own classes. Regional accreditation is the highest level of academic accreditation with the strictest academic standards. You can earn all 120 credits by some combination of the following: taking classes at these schools, taking classes at other schools, taking classes from alternative sources, or passing class-equivalence tests.

If you doubt the legitimacy of such a degree, note that user ryoder (mentioned above) was interviewed by the New York Times as part of an article about the future of alternative education and went on to enroll in a PhD program at North Central University.

Note: While each of the The Big 3 currently offer the posibilty of earning "portfolio" credit -- a means to document and prove your actual knowledge equal to college level outcomes in particular courses - some students who have walked this path before have had unsatisfactory experiences  See also 6 Prior Learning Assessment - PLA credit for what you know in Sources of Credit for more on this topic. For the same cost of a "portfolio" - around $450 and 3 months, with no guarantee you will actually get any credit - you can take 3 CLEP tests and receive 9-18 credits! (30 if you passed 3 general subject tests and aced a foreign language test)

Real People Getting Real DegreesEdit

Check out the Wall of Fame to read about real people who have used the Big 3 to gain degrees and advance their careers and enrich their lives. Then go over to and ask some of your questions directly to them!

Short List of TopicsEdit

This is a short list of topics used to originally set up the wiki. It has expanded beyond this list but this is a good starting point. You can view a list of every page on the site from the tabbar above.

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