General Question

JaneraSolomon's avatar

Is there a way to get a real and respected college degree for self-learning?

Asked by JaneraSolomon (1163points) February 3rd, 2012

If you really did the research and learning, taking the free courses through MIT and Stanford and so forth, and literally learned everything someone would have learned in an Ivy League master’s program, is there a way to get a real degree (not a meaningless diploma mill degree) for your effort?

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7 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

Not sure what you mean by “a meaningless diploma mill degree”. Do you mean that a degree from those schools is meaningless if you go a traditional route through their academic systems?
It used to be, a few decades ago, that an auto-didact might be able to make special arrangements with the school to be recognized, but after all is said and done, why would they bother if you have not supported them and only taken free courses?

gorillapaws's avatar

No, but the value is in the knowledge, not the paper. Use that knowledge to do something truly magnificent and colleges will be throwing honorary degrees at you left and right.

janbb's avatar

Goddard College in Vermont offers respected undergraduate and graduate degrees that combine independent study, credit for life skills and a low residency requirement. Check them out. They are the only bona fide college I know that does this and are not an online for-profit degree mill.

@JilltheTooth I think the OP means a degree mill such as University of Phoenix.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

@JilltheTooth – Diploma Mill is actually an official term, recognized by the U.S. Government department of education and defined by Congress:

DIPLOMA MILL- The term `diploma mill’ means an entity that—
(A)(i) offers, for a fee, degrees, diplomas, or certificates, that may be used to represent to the general public that the individual possessing such a degree, diploma, or certificate has completed a program of postsecondary education or training; and (ii) requires such individual to complete little or no education or coursework to obtain such degree, diploma, or certificate; and
(B) lacks accreditation by an accrediting agency or association that is recognized as an accrediting agency or association of institutions of higher education (as such term is defined in section 102) by—
(i) the Secretary pursuant to subpart 2 of part H of title IV; or (ii) a Federal agency, State government, or other organization or association that recognizes accrediting agencies or associations.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I didn’t know that. Thank you.

wundayatta's avatar

I know there are places like Goddard that do give credit for life experience, but you still have to pay. The only way to get a diploma is to pay for it, and have them provide the certification that you have done everything required to receive such a diploma.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I talked to my friend who had done this in the early 80s. She contacted the department chair at the state university and they worked out how she could apply her knowledge to a Masters. She had to take a couple of equivalency exams (for which she had to pay) for course work not taken and there was also a fee for evaluation of her Thesis. I honestly don’t know if any school would consider this now but it couldn’t hurt to ask.
Hope that helps.

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