This is an overview of mapping a degree and tracking your progress, originally written up by forum user bjcheung77 using a spreadsheet created by user dfrecore as an example. It has been expanded by users on the wiki. Please make sure you build your spreadsheet to your specific school's degree plan, and that your options are still valid and up to date.
The Spreadsheet Edit
Use a spreadsheet to track your progress and reference what is complete or still required, cost, UL/LL, etc. One of the most common degree plans on the forum currently is the BSBA in General Management form TESU, and here is an example of a spreadsheet built by forum user dfrecore for this degree.
- TESU 2016 BSBA GenMan.xlsx created by dfrecore.
Note: Requirements, credit recommendations, and policies change often! Please verify the current status before attempting this (or any) plan.For myself, I live about 1.5 hours away from a CLEP/DSST testing location and don't want to drive 3+ hours for each test. I'd rather get paid overtime at work instead of driving and make up the $ for online testing if it's more expensive than the CLEP/DSST. I'll chose a Saylor or SL course for the majority of them, but for the ones that don't have a comparable test, I'll use PF for example. Now you have pretty much all you require to get started and completing courses, tracking them along the way and sending them to ACE.
Where to Begin Edit
Which courses to take first and why? You can start with the FREE courses first! You don't have to go from top to bottom of that list, I suggest getting the FREE ones completed and tracked in the spreadsheet. Send to ACE Credit Registry for credit and storing a history of completed courses, such as credit banking these for a transcript.
Then, you may want to start targeting the cheaper options, as well as any subjects you are already well-versed in that you can complete quickly. You might want to target the General Education Requirements and Electives. I would group courses together so you can finish them faster. Example: Take Intro to Communications from SL and also English Comp I and II. Then work on Intro Religion/American Government.
Afterwards, work on the Professional Business Requirements (for BSBA degree seekers) and finally, work on the Area of Study courses last. Again, grouping them, such as taking Accounting I & II, Macro/Micro economics, and so it would be easier for you if it's grouped together, more overlap of info. You don't want to rush taking too many courses, so, you need to pace yourself and follow your plan. You're not in a race against others. Some are fine with 2-3 courses, others are fine with 4-5 courses a month. You're doing this according to your schedule and skill set.
When you apply to the school you would like to attend, there are academic advisers assisting you as well. There's no reason to put off working towards your educational goal. You have many people on helping you. Sending your transcripts to the school will result in an academic evaluation and it will tell you what else is required to finish the degree. I usually would recommend people who have completed about 90+ credits to transfer their credits in for an evaluation.
Work your butt off and reap the rewards afterwards. After each completed course, pat yourself on the back, you're 1 course closer to the goal. Well done! Keep on going! Many people have completed an entire year of coursework in a few months, and many have completed a degree in a year. There's light at the end of the tunnel, it's just requiring you to head to that end. Wish you luck, you have my support! :)