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Hacking your degree – Get your degree faster & cheaper than ever

Finding myself out of work recently, I’ve been pondering going back to school to further my education. After looking into all the options, and schools, I’m completely amazed at the time and cost involved in doing so. For a Bachelors of Finance degree, using just my local colleges in the area (there are many) would cost me upward of around $25,000 just in tuition, and that’s on the low end. It would also take around 2+ years to finish. Being 35 years old, with a family to support, taking two years out of my life on someone else’s schedule just wasn’t going to cut it.

I started to do some digging, and what I’ve found is nothing short of amazing. I’ve discovered that through a few specific websites, I can not only take(for free) the exact courses I would need to finish such a degree, but can also schedule, test out of, and get college credit for these courses as I go along, and pay only for the exams(about $80 each). Doing it this way, turns that $25k into around $3k-$5k depending on the degree you’re seeking.

So I have set out on a plan, I am going to start studying on my own time, and take the tests when I feel I have learned enough to pass them. Also, the site offering the free courses provides free practice tests as well. If you have ever wanted to “go back to school” or further your education, but didn’t have the time or money to do so, this is by far the best way to do it. Below I will show you the resources I’m currently using and offer some insights into each one.

First, head on over to Thomas Edison State College website, and browse their degree programs. They are one of the few colleges that will allow you to transfer the full amount of credits required for your degree. Decide what courses you want to take and look over the necessary course work.

Next, you will want to head over to saylor.org and sign up for an e-portfolio. This will allow you to begin taking the integrated courses for your degree. You’ll notice that when you log in, there is an area specifically for Thomas Edison State College, along with all the courses needed for each degree. You can go through these on your own time, as fast or as slowly as you want to. When you feel you’ve learned the subject material enough, you can take a practice test on saylor.

If you do ok on the practice test, you can test out through a few different organizations. The first one is CLEP(College Level Exam Progrm) and the next is DANTES, designed originally for military, but now open to civilians as well, and last but not least, TECEP, Thomas Edison State College Examination Program. Just do some searching and register for and take your test. Once you successfully pass the test, you earn college credit.

Note that you do NOT need to enroll in Thomas Edison state college until you have all the credits you need to graduate. Once you do, enroll, transfer your credits over from the testing providers, and graduate.

I thought this was a really quick, cheap and easy way to earn a degree and wanted to share it with you. I hope this helps someone out there.

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Try ASU online: Its reputable and cheap


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Make sure you check to see if

Make sure you check to see if the school you found is accredited and the credits will indeed be transferred. Not all schools can be applied toward credits.

Good advice. Most schools

Good advice. Most schools have very tricky credit transfer policies. Some of the colleges will only accept a certain amount of transfer credits or CLEP/DANTES credits. Most schools will not allow a transfer if the student only has a few more classes to complete until graduation. Just give a college advisor a call (from the school that you wish to graduate from) to clarify all of their requirements and policies before you start this process.

While you are at it, you should also check out Coursera: www.coursera.org

"Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free."

"The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live." -Ayn Rand

I got a degree in

I got a degree in engineering. Went to community college then to instate. Apparently half my loans were subsidized which left me with about half the average student debt. Schooling took about 5 years which is typical for EE dgree. I will have everything paid off in a couple months. Living at home has helped a great deal. If it wasnt for stagnent job market, I would have gotten a real job much sooner, but either way, I will be in the clear. Then just have to pay off the car loan. The next housing market crash will probably take place just as I start looking to buy my own house.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.

And of course...


If you need a cover story here goes...


Having an undergraduate degree (ME, tryna figure how to proceed toward another (CS). You can just start takin coursework and take care of the formalities later, yeah?

Exactly, you can start taking

Exactly, you can start taking the free courses today, and then take the tests when you're ready for them. Graduate degrees included.

Started already

Gracias, awesome post! You da man 2day 2b sure.

Thank you so much!

really, i'm doing it right now.

im in a similar boat. i really appreciate it.

College is a waste of time

College is a waste of time and money unless you are studying to be a special professional, ie: doctor, architect, lawyer, etc

I dropped out of school at 14, had my own auto reconditioning business by the time I was 17, was making 50K a year by 18 ( this is in 1970 ), started smuggling weed from Colombia, cuba in the late 70's made millions before age 25 and a lifetime of memories, got caught lost everything then took a hobby and turned it into a lifes profession where the earnings are 6 figures, the first digit isn't 1.

Heh if I was a young man now? I'd be in Asia. That's where the big opportunities are now. If you haven't lived there full time ( I have in 2 different countries and traveled thruout the region ) you have no idea how wonderful it is for a young man specially if he's......

Somebody told me you need a college degree to get any kind of job nowadays and that he sends in resumes to which he never gets replies from the companies he wants. He's college educated and doesn't have a pot to piss in. Meanwhile another friend of mine started hustlinh tshirts and sportswear from hong kong when he was 19. By age 26 he was a national rep for the Korean company making half million a year. Babes? Like Elle' covers, all you want if you are..............( shhhhh can't say it )

The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good things is my religion. Thomas Paine, Godfather of the American Revolution

There's a movie somewhere in

There's a movie somewhere in your story, man.

10-15 million more voters need to believe in non-interventionism (liberty) at home and abroad to change America. Minds changed on Syria. Minds changing on privacy. "Printing money" is part of the dialogue. Win minds through focus, strategy.

There's a lot of people who

There's a lot of people who have a story just like mine man:)

The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good things is my religion. Thomas Paine, Godfather of the American Revolution

For people who had already

For people who had already been in the workforce for years and did not want to take the standard 4 year route for a degree, I used to always tell them to figure out what they want a degree in, get the on the job / life experience credits from Thomas Edison, take CLEP exams to get credits for other courses they need, fill in with classes at a community college and then transfer all the credits back to Thomas Edison college to assemble all the credits into the degree. Just make sure that the community college you go to has credits which are accepted by Thomas Edison college. AFAIK, that's one of the ways they worked. It's been a while since I looked into all that, so maybe things have changed by now. Got my degree the old fashioned way, but had I known about this option before I went to college I might have tried it out.



CLEPS and double dipping are the bomb. I don't know if they do it in other states but me and my brother both went to different colleges in New Hampshire and they both allowed you to take Masters level classes senior year of undergrad and if the class was similar you could take the Grad class and get credit for both the Grad and Undergrad without paying extra.

Pretend you have the degree

and determine what doors it opens for you that were closed previously. If you are knocking on closed doors, perhaps it has value.

If you can land a job on which you learn the skills you are after, no degree can match that competence and experience, and any boss that doesn't know the difference, is perhaps not someone you want to work for.

When I first left high school

I thought a higher education was a frontier of higher learning for the good of mankind. Straight out of Asimov or Heinlein, what I grew up on.

It really is all for oneself. Ever since, I've always thought 'piss on society, who needs it?'.

Really, movies about comic books, texting, paparazzi, scientific studies, cable TV, reality TV. We are so fcuked. And I don't mean that in a playful cynical way. Ants have a healthier society. Seriously.

Honestly, Fcuk government, society, look out for yourself and your loved ones. That is all that matters. Fcuk government around every chance you get. And if someone screws with you, NEVER take it. Eye for an eye is a good mantra.

Lie, cheat and steal to get your degree. It's only a piece of paper. As long as you understand it you are being true to yourself, and it is all that matters.

Downvote away. Doesn't make it any less true.

I completely disagree.

We're stronger together as functioning and healthy communities of people looking out for one another. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. Turn off the TV. If the piece of paper is worthless, do something that has value.

In theory I wholeheartedly agree

In practice I am skeptical to say the least.

Then your theory is wrong

or your practice is wrong. You have to believe. Or not. Choose.

Thank you!

since you have investigated this thoroughly, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?

"First, head on over to Thomas Edison State College website, and browse their degree programs. They are one of the few colleges that will allow you to transfer the full amount of credits required for your degree."

What are the other colleges?

Can you get science degrees, like engineering or medical?

I assume Thomas Edison State College is not accredited? Your thoughts on that?

"It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a rEVOLution before tomorrow morning." - Henry Ford

Hi, the only other college I

Hi, the only other college I know of that will allow you to transfer full credits is excelsor(i might have spelled that wrong). Other colleges have a limit to the number of credits you can transfer in, and it varies from school to school.

As far as accredidation, according to their website, they are regionally accredited. Heres the link: http://www.tesc.edu/about/Accreditation.cfm

Also, it looks like you can take just about any type of degree you want.. I see stuff for the sciences and engineering, as well as higher level degrees like MBA's and such.

Another option, if you're going for a graduate degree is to get your lesser degree this way, and use it as the pre-req for the degree you want from the school you want.

I CLEP-ed out of 16 credits

I CLEP-ed out of 16 credits of Spanish in college. It was quick and cheap. I didn't realize you can do a whole degree like that, but it seems like a pretty nice option for a lot of people.

Ya, I know a young man who did similar

He dropped out of high school in his 2nd year and went to the local community college, tested-out for all of the required courses and got a general associates degree a year before his high school mates finished high school.

Here in Louisiana, one doesn't need to be a high school graduate to go to college.

Appreciate posting the info! Thanks :)

Same in Texas, but

you have to take the GED test first to enroll.

So what are you all waiting

So what are you all waiting for? Go get edumacated!