earned his Bachelor degree by distance learning from Charter Oak State College (COSC) at the age
of 58. All 123 hours of credit were culled from standardized proficiency
examinations. He completed the entire process in under a year. I first
became aware of him in 1997 when he asked a question in AED, and I replied. * I
remember it because that answer was later refurbished and reused in BA in 4
Weeks (never throw anything away).
dropped out of high school at the height of the Cold War to serve his
country in the Army Security Agency, an intelligence gathering group for
the NSA (the National Security Agency).
later became publisher of the The Virginia Review, a journal serving the interests of appointed and
elected government officials in Virginia (a job he still hold to this
day). He is also president of the Chesterfield County Chamber of
his many accomplishments Roger remains unassuming and approachable.
Recognizing this common appeal, in 1999, CLEP co-opted him to use his story
and his image in their banner national recruitment campaigns. At 59, he was a poster boy.
continues to be active in distance learning, harnessing his considerable
energies to deliver exam-based credit resources to traditional colleges and
their students, through his company, Mentor Institute Inc.
I began lurking on this news group [he usenet news group,
Alt .Education. Distance]in August of 1997. As a result of what I learned, I
bought John's book [John Bear's book, Bears Guide], posted a few questions, sent
John B several emails and decided that I would see how I could do by
testing out a degree.
I signed up with a local college to take two CLEP
general exams. I took "Humanities" and "Soc. Sciences and
History" in October of 1997. I did not study for them although I did buy the CLEP study
guide. I began to gather information from Regents, TESC, and Charter Oak.
At this time Regents [now
Excelsior College - LM] was going through the trials of becoming independent and was most
incoherent when I spoke to them. I found TESC less than cooperative and
Charter Oak acted as if I was the long lost child finally come home.
It was not hard to decide for Charter Oak. They were
also very helpful in advising me as to exactly what tests to take and
which order to take them in so one would not "step" on the other.
This was before I matriculated as they required that I have 30 credits to
I took two more 6 credit Cleps in November of 1997, "Accounting"
and "Natural Sciences." At this point I started looking into
Dantes exams and started scouting out GRE Subject exams. I found out that I
had missed the GRE dates for 1997, and I would have to drive over 100 miles
to take Dantes exams. Then I would only be allowed to take one at a time
and only 6 times per year. Bummer.
No tests in December, found another college 40 miles
away that would let me take CLEPS at my convenience. Rock n' Roll.
January 98, two more CLEPS,
"Intro. Business law", "Principals of Marketing". Piece
of cake, only study so far flip through a standard text and refresh on
words and phrases.
February slump, no tests, can't figure
out how to get Dantes exams and can't get straight answer on signing up for
GRE subject exams. Local college blowing smoke.
Shazam !! Good friend is president of local Jr. college,
he says if I get the information he will have their testing center apply to
administer Dantes exams. I call ETS they tell me what to do. I pass
information on to Jr. College. Nothing happens.
March 1998 energized again. Took 4
CLEPs two at local college, two at 40 mile school. "American
Lit", "English Lit.", "Intro Micro economics",
"Intro Macroeconomics", almost fried my brain. Found out that GRE
will be administered in April and I am too late. Asked for stand by status
and sent more money.
April- Enrolled at Charter Oak, Took
GRE "History", almost did me in. Got word Jr College set up for
Dantes, OK !!
May - First two Dantes Exams,
"Intro to Business", "Money and Banking." Different, no
time limit, other wise about as hard as CLEPS.. Much close coaching from
Charter Oak, order is critical on some of these tests. If I take the hard
one first the easy one won't count.
June - Test month from Hell, 2
CLEPS, "Info systems/computer apps", "English Comp.
w/Essay." 2 Dantes, "Organizational Behavior",
"Pers/Hum Resource Management", 15 credits total. Got grade on
GRE, 18 more credits. Smokin!
July - I had so much misery taking four
in June I took four again in July, 2 CLEPS, "Analysis Interp of
Lit.", "American Government." 2 Dantes, "Into. to
Modern Middle East", "Intro. to World Religions." Getting
close, running out of tests, much discussion with Charter Oak, the GRE was
great but killed a bunch of possible tests. Final plan approved.
August - Junk and weirdness, plus I am
getting pretty weird too. 2 CLEPS. "Principals of Management",
"Intro Psych." 3 Dantes, "Heres to your health",
"Criminal Justice", "Principals of Finance." Only one
to go. I need to take the Charter Oak Statistics test to meet my math
requirement. Sent for test, found out I needed proctor, worked out
arrangement with local librarian, No Charge. Sent for test again.
September - Test arrives I take it and
send it back. 123 credits If I passed everything. Got word that my
concentration proposal was accepted and my essay was OK. Good thing
since I am finished.
1 GRE subject (History),
1 COSC Statistics.
13 of the Dantes and CLEPs were awarded letter grades by
the rest are Pass, Fail.
7 CLEPs were worth 6 credits each, the rest and all the
Dantes were worth 3.
The GRE was worth 18, I got a 540 for 72
percentile. the COSC Stastics was worth 6. I took the tests much too fast
to study for them. I am not sure how you would even begin to study for some
of the General Exams like English literature, I mean where would you
I ran into a bizarre snarl on the English composition
with essay because of a minor physical disability.Thanks to Charter Oak, it
worked out fine.Charter Oak is pretty small, where Regents and TESC count
their students in thousands Charter Oak counts in hundreds. In talking with
their administrative people they have decided to look outside Conn. for
their future growth so the future looks bright for the Charter Oak option.
About me, I am a high school dropout, I was pitched out
of one college and flunked out of another. I am 58 and have been self
employed all my life.I am currently a publisher and journalist. I am
looking into several Masters programs, including the new one at Regents. I
am preparing myself for my post retirement career - I intend to teach. If
it had not been for this group Alt.Education.Distance, I am sure I would not have attempted this.
Website © Lawrie