Excelsior College Reviews
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Excelsior College's Associates in Nursing is misleading. Talk about a shortage in nursing, well this school is contributing to the shortage. How? By not being prepared to accommodate students who are at the end of the program and awaiting a CPNE date. The school has not done enough to have sites all over the country that can accommodate students. Because of this many LPNs have missed out on promotion opportunities at work. The CPNE testing is too subjective and it costs thousands. The school will not entertain students' suggestion to come up with an alternative to the CPNE structure such as having you do a certain amount of clinical hours of on the job or volunteering at other institutions and receiving credit. Because the credits are not transferable, you are held hostage in this degree program. Good think some people have bachelors degrees in another field so they can go on a pursue a Masters in a health related field like a health administration or public health. I was satisfied with the school up to this point, and the fact that they are inflexible makes matters worse. The nursing program should not be accredited by the ACEN because it does not meet the needs of students.
I took a leave of absence during my senior year at a traditional university after receiving a great job offer. Always intended to go back to school to finish my degree but life always seemed to get in the way. It was clear that traditional classroom-based learning was not an option at this point in my life, or in the foreseeable future. Fortunately, I am a "read the chapter and take notes" kind of learner. Hand me a book, give me a reading assignment, assign some exercises to try, and I can learn anything. Online learning was the perfect solution. About 15 years ago, I began taking online courses at different schools. I eventually settled on Excelsior College as it had the exact degree and available courses I needed. The school's non-profit status, affiliation with SUNY, and solid accreditation was key. I did not want a degree from a diploma mill, or for-profit corporation. The quality of Online education is highly dependent on the quality of the software used to deliver classes. Excelsior uses the Blackboard learning system, which is one of the better online software learning systems I've experienced. I took a course at another school which used the same system, so this software is not exclusive to Excelsior. However, Excelsior's version was newer than the other school. Excelsior upgraded Blackboard several times during my enrollment, so they really care about the quality of their software. Most (if not all) of the professors in the technical courses also taught at other schools. I had teachers from Penn State, University of Indiana, and other well-known brick-and-mortar schools. Most of the lectures were embedded videos direct from the instructor, but there were also some YouTube links of the instructor teaching the material at his/her other school. On a few occasions, lectures were presented in the form of PDF or PowerPoint series of slides with audio overlay. Sometimes the audio would be voiced by the teacher, but on rare occasion the slides would be narrated by a robot voice. I found the robotic power-point lectures to be rather silly. Thankfully that only happened in one class. I point this our only if you care about the quality and types of lectures you can expect. As stated earlier, I personally get more out of reading the material myself, not from listening to lectures, but everyone is different. What I found extremely helpful was that most professors were openly flexible with deadlines and other time sensitive issues. As long as you keep them in the loop, and communicate early (and often), they are very willing to extend deadlines and sometimes even examinations. Very few professors were exceedingly strict with deadlines. This is a huge advantage for working professionals, like myself, with fluid and demanding work/family schedules. While professors were flexible with deadlines, they always demanded quality work. Grading was academically rigid, but always fair. Outcomes were clearly defined and grading rubrics were readily available. If you lost points on an assignment, it was easy to find where and why. For me, knowing where I had weaknesses helped me focus on ways to overcome them. It absolutely made me a more well-rounded learner. Examinations were mostly delivered online. One would think this makes it easy to pass a test since it implies open-book, open-note, and full internet availability during the exam, but this was not the case. Exam questions were much harder than usual since professors expected students to have so many resources available during the exam. There were few rote memorization questions on the exams. Many of the questions required analytical and critical thinking to properly answer. Exams were timed, and while I typically finish exams early, the questions were challenging enough to require almost all the allotted time. Many of the major tests also have a written component - you have to take an online test and then submit the equivalent of a very hard homework assignment. One my midterms required a written assignment that took almost 16 hours to complete and ended up filling 11 full pages of written work. To pass these tests, you really have to study and be prepared. Excelsior has a thorough online library, research resources, and writing helpers like Grammarly. They also offer a free service to read and evaluate research papers based on the criteria you chose. This was a huge help for me. I had previously worked on research papers strictly on my own (with mixed success) and was dubious to use these resources, but found them to be extremely useful. My daughter is attending state university and we talk all the time about the tools and resources at Excelsior compared with what she has available at a traditional university. For the most part, we share the same resources. I found the counselors to be extremely useful, and friendly. I did not hesitate to use them. They really did provide value, and were a great asset finding courses I had interest in taking and also fulfilled academic requirements. Courses are offered in standard 16-week semesters, as well as rolling 8-week semesters. The 8-week semesters were a godsend to me. I wish all schools offered year-round 8-week courses. Also, Excelsior has an agreement with Microsoft where you can download almost anything from their library for free. There were software titles I didn't even know existed, like embedded robotics compilers. The only software missing was the current version of MS Office, but you have access to the complete previous version. You get a personal license for all the software, so it's a real licensed copy for you to use. This can save you thousands of dollars in software licenses. My experience at Excelsior was great, but there was one issue that left a bad taste in my mouth. Several years ago, the engineering technology track required a certain number of hands-on lab-based courses. I needed a total of four 1-credit labs to complete my degree. There were no 1-credit labs offered online, so I had to take four 4-credit courses (3-credits for the course, and 1-credit for the lab component). I had no problem with this requirement as I believe you can't work as engineer without having some lab experience. It took a year to complete all four courses. After completing the last lab requirement, Excelsior changed the entire program and removed the lab component. Those four courses were no longer necessary. In their place, they added four other requirements that I also lacked. I'm sure this was not done to screw me, it was unfortunate timing on my part since I took only a few classes at a time. It did extend my graduation and cost more money. The one thing I disliked about Excelsior (and frankly all schools have something similar), is the annual student fee. I don't mind paying a student fee while I'm in school, but you also have to pay the fee after you finish your last classes and await degree conferral. In my case, I finished my last class in December, but my degree was not conferred until February. My student fee expired in December. I had to pay a whole year student fee or they would not process my graduation. I complained to the bursar and appealed to the ombudsman, but the fee stood. They did take pity on me, however, and reduced the graduation fee. Yes, there is a graduation fee. In my case, they waived the graduation fee. I thought that was very cool! The annual student fee is around $500, and the graduation fee was about $250, so I think it was a fair compromise. My place of employment payed for the courses, but not books or student fees. I would get reimbursed at the end of the course (if I passed), but had to pay tuition up front, usually by credit card. Excelsior offers a payment plan which helped reduce the amount of credit card interest I would incur. I made too much money to receive any student aid, and didn't need to take out student loans so I cannot comment on that. Overall, I loved taking courses online, and enjoyed the flexibility of taking 8-week courses at Excelsior. I really learned a lot at Excelsior, not just about the courses, but about myself and what I can accomplish when motivated. Before starting at Excelsior, I took a general engineering test to gauge my engineering knowledge. The test had six parts, taking between one to two hours each to complete. I scored very poorly (around 40% overall). After graduating, I took the test again and scored almost 90% overall. I would recommend Excelsior to everyone who is serious about the quality of their degree, and has the discipline and motivation to complete online courses. It wasn't easy, but it was definitely enriching and fulfilling.
I finished my Bachelor's degree here and then did their Master of Arts in Liberal Studies immediately afterwards. What an excellent program! The courses are challenging and the faculty have graduate degrees. All of the Master's degree courses have faculty with PhDs. Staff in the advisors office and financial aid go the extra mile to help you. You can get federal financial aid here and one magazine I read said that Excelsior grads are more likely than other colleges to get jobs. It is fully accredited and non-profit so prices are reasonable. I loved all of the courses- you can study things like the History/Literature of Witchcraft, Pirates, Renaissance History, Fiction Writing Workshop, Astronomy and much much more.
This college could care less about your education or success; they're only concern is how long you are going to pay them money. I waited over a year and half for a clinical conformation date after finishing the online portion, and received a $500 "annual fee" each additional year of waiting. This was by far the biggest waste of time and disappointment.
I graduated from the RN program years ago. I don't know if they improved their clinical system, but I can tell you that it is no different than most money hungry schools. They had a one weekend clinical where most people fail. If you fail you have to pay thousands of dollars just to take the clinical over again. I was an LPN and had a lot of clinical experience prior to taking this "clinical" two day test. They get paid to find fault in the dumbest things. Things that are not practical in the real world. They actually have incentive to fail most students on their first try. Out of 10 students that weekend, only two of us passed. Prior to this I learned that this is a common practice so I was nervous going into it. I only did it because it suited my schedule. An outside advisory company told me that I should get my associates in applied science, stating that it would cut three coursed that I wouldn't need. Thank god because it saved me a lot of money. You don't think any advisors at the school would have looked out for my best interest do you? If you don't mind gambling, by all means take a chance. Otherwise, go to a reputable school that has a good clinical evaluation system. Don't believe me? Read some online clinical reviews about Excelsior.
I had a wonderful experience with Excelsior College. I see so many negative posts mostly in regards to their nursing program. Apart from the nursing program I have nothing but wonderful things to say about this institution. I received my BS degree in Liberal Arts with concentrations in history and sociology. As with many Excelsior grads, I am also prior military. Most colleges would only give me a physical education credit which is a shame. We hear all the time how this country values our service, yet many colleges refused to recognize my army training. The nursing board of Illinois recognized it and allowed me to sit for the Nclex-PN. What allowed me to become an Lpn was not recognized by brick and mortar colleges. Excelsior applied 60 credits towards my degree from the courses I completed in the Army, i,e, Anatomy and Physiology from my Army nursing course ,was applied towards my science requirement. I was ecstatic. This meant I was halfway done. I also had previous credits from two other college which Excelsior took. I tested out of the rest of my degree using combination of clep/dsst and Uexcel exams. Excelsior is innovative, flexible and truly is a place to attain one's degree for the nontraditional student.
This school is for muture adult learner. I received two Associate degrees and one Bachelor degree from Excelsior College. It is regionally accredited. They have a very liberal transfer policy. They grant you credit for military training as well as experiential learning and prior learning to include but not limited to exams, traditional classroom courses, correspondence courses, CLEP, DANTES, etc. I had no problem getting employment such as the Federal government, private companies, County and City agencies. I use it to obtain my Master's degree. I have referred over ten different people that were successful in getting their degree.
Love this school. They took a ton of my military certifications and previous college. Class were challenging, fair and beneficial. I work full time and am a mother of 3 and didn't think the course load was that hard. I would recommend this college to anyone and it's very affordable.
I am a current Excelsior student and I very highly do not recommend this nursing program and once started you can not transfer your credits elsewhere. At least not anywhere that I have found. The courses are mediocre at best. The teachers all seem lovely though. I have continuously had to take 8 weeks off due to there guidelines of not starting a new phase in a new semester due to their trimesters. They prolong the time you need to be in their schooling and EVERYTHING has a waiting list. I was originally told as an LPN I was granted the ability to test out of specific nursing courses. In reality it is NOT a bridge program like they compare it to and you are only cleared from one course. Initially I was told that the CPNE was easy to apply for once classes were complete and had a minimal wait time. Now as I progress I am being informed that the wait for a CPNE at minimum is at least a year after all course completion. Keep in mind it is very expensive to take and if you are unable to pass the first attempt you then must wait another year to take it again. After that you still need to take an NCLEX. At that rate you will not be up to date on NCLEX questions due to the prolonged time period you must wait before being cleared to take this. In all if you have already taken your nursing courses and have 1 or 2 left this is an okay school to go to. If you are like me and chose the online means for all courses it is a true waste of money and time. I have now been in this school for 2.5 years and still need to take 4 more courses before CPNE approval. I would be completed if I went to a traditional college. Although convenience with my work schedule it was a reasonable choice I truly regret making the decision to proceed with education here.
Do not waste your money on this humiliating experience! The grading system for the CPNE that is required is absolutely the most ridiculous thing ever. It's crazy expensive and it's a year waiting list to even get a date for the CPNE. Seriously, do yourself a favor, search elsewhere. This is NOT the place to turn to get your RN.