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How did you arrive here?
#1
I'm genuinely curious how most people arrived at pursuing non-traditional education and if there is an activist component to why they pursued it. Or is it as simplistic as "I want something as fast and as cheap as possible"? I suppose this applies to all pursuing a Big 3 degree, a Competency Based Education (CBE) program, or some other collegiate option that accepts over 90 transfer credits and is online. I'd assumed that most people arrived here after realizing the following:
I don't want to make this post dwelling on these obvious problems. I'm simply curious if awareness of some or all of this above influenced your decision to take this route to "starve the beast" as it were. Perhaps many realized the above after falling victim to it, such as myself. I unknowingly had an ACE course which was CLEP credit be my first ever academic credits recognized without ever knowing what ACE was. Was this most of you? Did you imagine yourself scavenging the net endlessly for free or nearly free ACE credits to procure the coveted Bachelors degree? Now that most here are going this route I'm also curious if you see yourselves as a sort of white knight, helping advise those close to you that still don't have a degree having them pursue a similar course of action? I know I have.
In Progress - UMPI // BABA - Conc. Management
2013 - Yale University // Dropped Out... Confused
2011 - Deep Springs College // AA Philosophy
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#2
It was simple enough. I was working as a computer programmer even while still in high school. I spent the 10 years after graduation trying to earn my degree on and off while working full time before giving up on it. I had just never been willing to make the time commitment. I'd done fine without a degree, but I had my ego bruised by a big name employer who yanked back a contract at the last second because I didn't have my bachelor's. I came online looking to see if there was a way to finally finish it. I landed on the site and the rest is history.

I honestly don't see this approach as a cure for the ills you listed, at least not for the students right out of high school. However, I think it can be a godsend for the properly motivated older student who is ready to make the effort, and I see helping people through it as a worthy cause.
NanoDegree: Intro to Self-Driving Cars (2019)
Coursera: Stanford Machine Learning (2019)
TESU: BA in Comp Sci (2016)
TECEP:Env Ethics (2015); TESU PLA:Software Eng, Computer Arch, C++, Advanced C++, Data Struct (2015); TESU Courses:Capstone, Database Mngmnt Sys, Op Sys, Artificial Intel, Discrete Math, Intro to Portfolio Dev, Intro PLA (2014-16); DSST:Anthro, Pers Fin, Astronomy (2014); CLEP:Intro to Soc (2014); Saylor.org:Intro to Computers (2014); CC: 69 units (1980-88)

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#3
davewill's story is pretty much my own, except that I think I spent 20 years on-and-off, and then I was a SAHM with not much money for something that was not a true necessity, so I was going to have to finish my degree as cheaply as possible.

No student loan debt for myself or my husband, no thinking the system was broken (much), I just knew that I couldn't commit to take butt-in-seat classes, so was thinking something online but cheap.
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#4
I was in high school saw a CLEP study guide textbook in the background of a reality tv show, but I didn't know what it was. I googled "CLEP" and then I googled "earning a degree by CLEP" or something similar and found this forum. I knew about CLEP since 2012 but didn't take first my first CLEP until 2015. I ended up going to CC but I used CLEPs for gen eds and got two associates degrees in the time frame of one.

Four years later, I wanted to finish my Bachelors degree and decided to go the TESU route. But in a last-minute twist of fate I switched to B&M State U. However, the school accepts CLEP and DSST. Also they are in the ACE and NCCRS database and supposedly accept them according their website, but I have not tried this yet.

Yes I will be taking slightly longer to get my degree and a have a small amount of debt than had I gone with TESU. But so far, I do not regret my decision and am learning a lot. I think I will be better prepared after I graduate with the B&M and morter degree than TESU degree. Because with TESU I would simply have a degree and wouldn't know how to move forward. But since being at University, I've gone to multiple career fairs, graduate school fairs, panels and talks with people in different careers, built relationships, applied for internships and more.

For older working adults who simply need a piece of paper I can see how earning a degree this way is a good option. However, for younger people, I think combining alt credit with an in-person college experience could be a good option as well.
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#5
Well fact is you dont have to do student loans. No one is forcing you. I did two years of community college and I basically got paid to go to school. I would get 2.5k per semester 8n my pocket from grant after costs. And I came here because I wanted something quicker and cheap to qualify for a program next year and it wouldnt be that quick at regular university.
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#6
I did 20+ years in IT after 4 years in the US Navy, and never hit a roadblock until my current employer, who said I needed a bachelor's to get promoted. They have tuition reimbursement, so nothing out of pocket. WGU seemed like the best bet, as they took CLEP, DSST, ACE credits and certifications as credits. Hacking my degree was my mindset, and WGU seemed like the best fit. I came in with 67 of 122 CUs and finished my degree in less than 4 months.

Unfortunately, we had a massive management change since the original agreement. It's no longer valid. I'm looking for a new job, but at least I have a bachelor's on my resume now.

What landed me here was a quick Google search of "quick bachelor's degree". I have no complaints about the caliber of people I've met in my journey :-)
Working On:  WGU MS-ITM (start early 2020), GA Tech OMSC (start early 2021?)
Completed:  WGU BSCSIA (started 10/1/2018, finished 01/11/2019)
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#7
I wanted to find an affordable way to complete my undergraduate degree so I could start on the path to medical school.

Without writing a novel, here's a multi-part (for easy reading) response to your post/question:

*I'm definitely not an activist and don't think colleges should be held accountable for whether or not someone is employable (TLDR; going by your post). I'm not raging against the machine, just chasing contentment.

*I think people have a right to be informed about agreements by which they are entering into but it's also *up to them* to make sure they understand it.

*We seem to be living in a time where some in society favor stripping away individual accountability and replacing it with victimhood. Nothing worth anything comes easy.  Using nature as an example, I would posit that by giving people an excuse to opt-out of adversity (see: trading accountability for victimhood) only serves to weaken those opting-out. In other words, life is tough and everyone struggles - learn what you can learn and make the most of your cosmically short time.

*I definitely don't see myself as a white knight, just someone who has paid-forward the stuff I've learned here. There's nothing heroic about passing along information, let alone information I didn't research, IMO.

TTFWIW
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#8
(11-12-2019, 11:52 PM)MSK9 Wrote: ... don't think colleges should be held accountable for whether or not someone is employable ...

Not even when it's public funds that are being wasted?
NanoDegree: Intro to Self-Driving Cars (2019)
Coursera: Stanford Machine Learning (2019)
TESU: BA in Comp Sci (2016)
TECEP:Env Ethics (2015); TESU PLA:Software Eng, Computer Arch, C++, Advanced C++, Data Struct (2015); TESU Courses:Capstone, Database Mngmnt Sys, Op Sys, Artificial Intel, Discrete Math, Intro to Portfolio Dev, Intro PLA (2014-16); DSST:Anthro, Pers Fin, Astronomy (2014); CLEP:Intro to Soc (2014); Saylor.org:Intro to Computers (2014); CC: 69 units (1980-88)

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#9
(11-13-2019, 01:34 PM)davewill Wrote:
(11-12-2019, 11:52 PM)MSK9 Wrote: ... don't think colleges should be held accountable for whether or not someone is employable ...

Not even when it's public funds that are being wasted?

I think MSK9's argument is that the colleges don't have any control over whether someone is employable or not. If that's true (which I don't think it completely is, though there's an element of truth to it), then certainly we shouldn't hold them accountable for it. At least that's what I understood MSK9's post to mean.
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#10
(11-13-2019, 01:34 PM)davewill Wrote: Not even when it's public funds that are being wasted?

(11-13-2019, 01:47 PM)mysonx3 Wrote: I think MSK9's argument is that the colleges don't have any control over whether someone is employable or not. If that's true (which I don't think it completely is, though there's an element of truth to it), then certainly we shouldn't hold them accountable for it. At least that's what I understood MSK9's post to mean.

Mysonx3 nailed it.

There's no way to make a graduated student do anything other than what they want to do and I'm skeptical of claims citing lack of opportunities for graduates. "Opportunity" is subjective but not much in life is guaranteed and a school has as much control over someone being employable as they have over the wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum.


I suspect (my evidence is anecdotal, of course) that some of those polled correlate a lack of general opportunity with the lack of what they consider to be their "desired" opportunities. I've also seen (again, anecdotal) the look of shock on an Art History major's face when someone explains the career-choice limitations of their degree.

While the diminished returns argument isn't lost on me, public funding pays for things like research. We could get into a much deeper discussion about how public money is spent at publicly-funded institutions and we'd probably agree on ways to better utilize it, but I cannot advocate for blaming the college for a person's lack of employment. I just think it's lunacy. 

I don't think an "education" is a guarantee for anything, but rather a supplement for career preparedness, a demonstration of commitment, if nothing else, pure "enlightenment." If the expectations of post-college employment seemingly fall short, maybe we should point the finger at society, rather than the institutions.
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CASPer Done MCAT Done
Medical School Interviews Completed: 1 MD (As of 12-11-19) Acceptances: 1 MD 
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