23 May 2013

A Non-Traditional Route To A College Degree

Bypass the unnecessary fluff, expense, and nonsense promoted by much of academia. This enterprise was started by a homeschooled student . . .

10 comments:

ropelight said...

I can't call this a legitimate college degree. It's more like an upper level version of a high school equivalency certificate.

These students take exams by mail to get awarded college credits for courses they haven't taken, and they're enrolled in what amounts to an adult correspondence school that allows maximum substitution of exam credits for actual course work.

The school awards college credits for what individuals can show they already know, not for what they learn. Some limited credit for previously acquired knowledge is legitimate and appropriate, but too much and the college ceases to be a center for higher education and becomes just another corrupt diploma mill exchanging fancy degrees for cold cash.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Rope - we'll have to part ways on this one partner:

d"These students take exams by mail to get awarded college credits for courses they haven't taken,"

Why waste time and money taking the courses if you can prove you already have the knowledge? That's the whole point.

"The school awards college credits for what individuals can show they already know, not for what they learn."

You don't need to "learn" what you already know. Again, that's the whole point.

"but too much and the college ceases to be a center for higher education"

Well, that is already an issue. But, again, what's the point in wasting time and money if you can prove you have the knowledge. That's redundant and grossly inefficient.

Thanks for the comment nonetheless.



ropelight said...

If your intention is to get a degree then these shortcuts make sense, however if your intention is to acquire new knowledge, that is learn about things you don't already know, then a college education becomes an intellectual adventure into the unknown.

It's an introduction to the great thinkers of mankind, a life changing adventure, a real education, rather than a series of multiple choice exams attesting to previous walks down memory lane.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

A bachelor's degree today is equivalent to a high school diploma of 50 - 60 years ago. I believe to get additional knowledge from a college education one would have to pursue an advanced degree - in most cases. I'm speaking for those who are good students in high school. I maintain for those students, the most efficient way is that one demonstrated here.

ropelight said...

R, please understand, I'm not advocating for on-campus residence, and I'm opposed to contact with, let alone immersion in, leftist indoctrination camps.

Yet, young people today need quality education beyond the high school level as never before.

My comments here are not attempts to solve the overall problem: how to acquire cost effective quality education and at the same time protect against the pernicious effects of unhealthy influences.

My series of comments are attempts to question the utility of these shortcut programs, which I fear do not lead to satisfactory conclusions.

I can't agree that most or even some of today's bachelor's degrees are the equivalent of yesterday's high school diplomas. Though some certainly are, especially the ones acquired by former high school students who've never set foot in a college classroom.

Specifically, high school graduates who acquire enough college course credits for the completion of a bachelor's degree by taking mail order exams while enrolled in correspondence schools.

That's not a college education, it's a scam and it's the students and their parents, often well intended but gullible Christians looking to protect their sons and daughters from corrupt influences, who fall prey to these higher education philistines and their shortcut degree programs.

These programs are a quick way to get a bachelor's degree at less than half the time and money of attending a brick and mortar school, but what do you actually get in exchange for your time and money?

Unfortunately, all too often the answer is you've paid for the appearance of an education rather than the reality of one. You get your name on a fancy sheepskin and for only a small additional fee you get a big color picture featuring the grinning graduate wearing a flat hat and a black bathrobe brandishing a blank scroll.

One of the things you don't get is respect. The professionals who make employment decisions know the difference between legitimate higher education credentials and quickie diploma mill forgeries.

The bottom line is your high falutin mail order bachelor's degree isn't worth any more than a high school diploma to the people who count.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hey Rope - thanks for the comment. I truly think you're misjudging this particular program. These are not cheap diploma mills. Many of these programs use CLEP exams - I'm sure you're familiar with those. These are not "mail order" exams. CLEPs are proctored exams. My daughter has taken some of them: http://clep.collegeboard.org/exam

There are also DSST exams:
http://getcollegecredit.com/about/

Again, not mail order. You're simply testing to prove you already know what you would ostensibly learn sitting in class (and wasting time and money.)

And isn't it true that many college professors couldn't care less whether you show up for class or not, as long as your tests and papers pass, you get the credit? What's the difference?

"The professionals who make employment decisions know the difference between legitimate higher education credentials and quickie diploma mill forgeries."

Again, I don't think you truly understand this process. These are not diploma mills. These ARE legitimate degrees and the various (and growing) number of schools make no distinction as to the degrees whether earned via a "traditional" setting or via testing and life experience portfolio.

You write:

"Yet, young people today need quality education beyond the high school level as never before."

That depends more on the quality of the high school education they received. In the case of my children, all the children who were homeschooled were more mature than most of their contemporaries and understood more about what it takes to be successful than the average college graduate. My youngest son has an above average IQ. After high school he took technical training and apprenticed with someone for a while in his chosen trade. On an income level, he's in the top 20 percentile of earners in America. Hes' more politically informed than the vast majority of men my age that I know.

This example is anecdotal, of course, but I've seen similar experiences in many, many homeschool students. I could go on, but again, I think you're making some incorrect assumptions about this type of degree and the real value of a college education today. This is becoming mainstream opinion. See:
http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2013/03/the-collapse-of-value-of-college.html

All this being understood, I'm not necessarily opposed to the traditional route - I just don't believe it has the value that the government/educational complex is trying to convince everyone it does. They have skin in the game, especially since student loans have been completely nationalized and the complex is making lots of bucks:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/obama-student-loans-policy-profit_n_3276428.html

Thanks for the comment.




ropelight said...

FYI, here's the first sample question from CLEP's American Government Exam. They identify the correct response as D.

(Although one brief sample question is too limited to draw even tentative conclusions, CLEP does present it as an example of the sort of instruction their exam verifies.)

Which of the following best explains the consistent growth of the federal bureaucracy over the past hundred years?

A. Increases in federal income tax since 1925

B. The inability of Congress to cut programs

C. The success of Democratic presidents in promoting their policies

D. Public demand for, and expectation of, social services

E. United States Supreme Court rulings requiring Congress to assist those living in poverty.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Rope - interesting, but forgive me for being a bit slow here, I'm not sure I get your point. In regards to the question, I would say the correct answer would be A, B, C, AND D. This is a case of which came first . . .

Again, back to my previous point - students who have received a good high school education (the case with most homeschooled students using this process), they would already know the more nuanced answer to the question. But isn't D what is being taught in class anyway?

ropelight said...

Yes, D is being taught, and I don't have a point, I thought you might find the question interesting so I sent it FYI.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Yes, it is interesting, but not surprising. The CLEPs aren't going to deviate from the script. But it allows students to short cut the whole process and "defund" the beast - at least to some extent.