Let me show you the powerful yet rarely-used “test-out strategy” MY students use to advance their careers without breaking the bank — even if you’re busy, were never a good student or have been out of school for years.
Before you answer, ask yourself: how is this any different than the plot of Saw?
(For those unaware, the characters of this classic thriller awake in a windowless basement, chained to radiators while a spooky tape recorder tells them to saw their feet off they want to see daylight again.)
What most students never realize is their exorbitant student loans put them in the exact same position. You land the higher-paying job (if you’re lucky) but most of your new salary gets siphoned away to lenders every month.
College was supposed to be what allowed you to get ahead, not what stopped you!
Where did we go wrong — and how can you avoid falling into the same trap yourself?
Why does the standard path to success resemble a gruesome horror movie?
It doesn’t have to. Unemployment and debt slavery are not your only two options.
I’m here to tell you that you CAN earn a respected degree quickly and affordably…and become a hiring manager’s dream candidate…IF you are willing to consider a new path to graduation.
What I’m about to share with you is an outside-the-box approach that you haven’t seen in any book, article, or TV show about college before. It’s not for everyone, but for the right kind of student, it truly is the best-of-both-worlds “third option” you have been searching for.
I know you don’t have all day, so let me give you…
I call this the “test-out strategy”, and after using it myself to graduate debt-free, I started this website to spread the word to others.
With the test-out strategy, you can graduate from a respected, accredited college by taking tests rather than classes.
Instead of learning from professors, you use powerful study strategies to teach subjects to yourself (on your own schedule) and then earn credit for your mastery by taking low-cost examinations at nearby test centers.
Depending on your desired major, you can earn most of your bachelor’s degree (70%-80%) or even ALL of it by testing out…no matter where you live.
Each exam costs just $80-$250 instead of thousands for classes in the same subjects. The best part: if you are focused and motivated, you can graduate in 1.5 years or less, instead of the typical four.
No, that wasn’t a typo: you really can earn a respected bachelor’s degree for a total cost of $5,000-$10,000 by teaching yourself and testing out of your college subjects with my system.
I’m going to explain the details of how I discovered this (and how it actually works) in a moment — including how you can get MY personalized assistance in creating a low-cost, rapid graduating degree plan in your desired subject.
Before I go any further, though, I want to make sure you’re the right kind of student for this unconventional strategy.
If you answered “yes” to at least ONE question in each of those categories, this is the most important letter you will read all year.
How I accidentally discovered this “ethical college shortcut” to graduating faster
By this point, you are probably wondering why you never heard of testing out before and why I’m the person advocating it to you now.
It was totally unexpected. I never planned on testing out of college or starting DoItYourselfDegree.com at all.
The only reason you’re reading this is because MY school (the University of Connecticut) stopped offering the classes I needed to graduate…for no apparent reason. Here I was, ready and eager to learn, but prohibited from doing so by the school I was writing hefty tuition checks to.
I’m not kidding. I was 12 courses away from graduation and told to WAIT for an indefinite period of time while UConn sorted their course offerings out. As someone who loves plans and schedules, the uncertainty was more frustrating than I can put into words!
Each night, on my hour-long commute to school, I pressed myself: “what am I going to do about this?” It was the same dilemma I had read about thousands of other students going through, and I absolutely hated it.
The difference is that I refused to accept it.
After a few months of soul-searching and self-pity, I realized that pouting wasn’t going to solve anything. Waiting for UConn to get THEIR act together wasn’t moving ME forward.
I needed to figure out a new strategy for taking the situation into my own hands.
Fortunately, unlike most students my age (23 at the time) I already possessed a strong background in research and problem solving. In high school, I made the front page of Wired for tracking down the creators of a virus that some victims called “the most evil thing on the Internet.”
(Google “Students Toil as Spyware Hunters” if you want to read about it.)
In college, I became the “go-to” ghostwriter for companies like TurboTax, writing hundreds of full-length, exhaustively researched articles on college, business and personal finance topics while balancing my full-time courseload.
These experiences taught me how to deconstruct problems and dig up the answers other experts overlooked.
So when UConn screwed me over, I fell back on my training. I sifted through all of the scams, all of the questionable “alternative degree” programs, all of the BS theories and half-baked approaches the amateurs swore would work. I ignored them all, focused solely on real solutions for intelligent adults.
After intense research, I discovered the test-out strategy described earlier. In May 2012, I started DIY Degree to spread these underutilized strategies to everyone who needed them.
I have now taught over 4,000 students, appeared in the national media and been a guest contributor on websites like Huffington Post, Business Insider, Personal MBA and I Will Teach You To Be Rich. DIY Degree has become a movement. In addition to helping students like you, I am now sought out directly by colleges, test developers and ed tech innovators as a unique voice in the industry.
I was so excited when I discovered DIY Degree. Finally — someone who understood how pointless sitting in class could be, AND had created a solution for it! I expected a creative way to earn a degree. What I didn’t expect from becoming a member of Jay’s program was how much it would also shape my worldview. Through DIY Degree, Jay helps people understand the value in self-directed learning, putting them on a path for long-term success.
When I met Jay at a Personal MBA Master Class in Fort Collins, CO., I had for some time been tracking predictions of the impending disruption of higher education. Here, I said, is someone who is actually disrupting it. Higher education’s stranglehold on credentialing is slipping; I believe those who can follow Jay’s path will be the early beneficiaries.
Here’s my interview on Fox Business where I explained the test-out strategy (and its appeal to employers) to a national audience.
Let’s go a little deeper and explore how I can help YOU earn a test-out degree like I did.
Actually doing it: three respected colleges that are highly “test-out friendly”
There was just one problem with my quest to graduate: UConn wouldn’t let me use the test-out strategy or take advantage of the immense savings it had to offer.
Most universities don’t go out of their way to tell students about testing out, and they typically enforce strict limits on it (for example, “no more than 30 credits earned via examination”) but they do allow it if you are savvy enough to ask.
Not Uconn, though. They prohibited test-out completely, forcing students like me to play their game.
Luckily, I soon found a handful of respected, accredited, distance-learning schools that allow students to earn their entire degree via the test-out strategy. This was the light at the end of the tunnel, the breakthrough that enabled me to finally complete my business degree without waiting games or astronomical cost.
These schools aren’t famous. You may not have heard of them before, and the mere mention of their name is not going to blow anyone away. That wasn’t my objective, though.
I didn’t care about having an overpriced brand name on my resume. I just wanted a legitimate, accredited degree that employers would respect — without going bankrupt to get it. And once I discovered that graduates of these distance-learning schools routinely got accepted into Ivy League graduate programs (including Harvard, Cornell, etc.) I was fully convinced of their good standing.
Now I just needed to conquer the remaining business courses standing between me and my bachelor’s degree.
There weren’t any professors to teach me business law or operations management or corporate finance, so I taught those subjects to myself using study strategies that I can show you, too.
Over the next few months, I took and passed a new subject test every 2-3 weeks.
Not even my frequent traveling stopped me. Since there are testing centers nationwide, I was able to sit for exams in Connecticut (my home state), Philadelphia, PA (where I often traveled for work), and Chattanooga, TN (where I visited friends from time to time.)
Total credits earned: 33
Total cost of all my exams: Around $1,200
Completion time: Under 6 months
If I hadn’t discovered the test-out strategy, I would have waited two more years to graduate from UConn and paid an additional $30,000 to do it. By taking matters into my own hands, I dramatically accelerated my education at Excelsior — and became the only one of my friends to graduate 100% debt-free.
The key to graduating debt-free: lowering your cost-per-credit
I just gave you a lot of information and backstory, but if you’re a “bottom line” kind of person, let me boil it down to hard numbers for you.
The beauty of the test-out strategy is that it enables you to obtain college credits for the lowest cost possible. Here is a chart I created to measure the savings of testing out instead of using traditional classroom instruction at brick-and-mortar schools:
This is how you earn a degree for between $5,000 and $10,000. When your cost per credit is reduced dramatically, the savings accumulate, allowing you to graduate for a fraction of what other students pay.
(These aren’t made-up numbers, by the way. Those are the real, average costs students are paying at public and private four-year universities.)
“So why not just close this page and enroll at one of those schools right now?”
Because I can personally build you a customized degree plan for graduating faster and less expensively in your major of choice.
Here’s the deal: while Excelsior, Thomas Edison and Charter Oak are highly permissive of testing out, they won’t help you construct a degree plan until AFTER you pay their enrollment fees.
Furthermore, even after you DO enroll, the advisors at these colleges will generally steer you toward their more expensive online course offerings rather than suggesting an aggressive test-out strategy like I used.
Even the most flexible colleges are still focused on their bottom line. I started DIY Degree because I’m focused on YOUR bottom line.
As a student’s advocate, I see it as my supreme duty to help you get the most out of college for the least cost.
Which, after using the test-out strategy myself and in consultation with hundreds of DIY Degree students, is what I now specialize in doing.
Because I am a maniacally obsessed research fanatic, I treated my test-out quest like a lab experiment and searched for ways to optimize it. I spent sleepless nights learning about study strategy, school selection and every conceivable way to knock the cost of a degree down.
I wish it were as simple as just enrolling and testing out, but as it turns out, there are a number of formidable challenges facing you as an aspiring test-out student.
Here are just some of the challenges I wrestled with on the path to earning my low-cost degree via the test-out strategy:
- Which of these three schools should you choose to enroll at? (It depends on a number of personal factors related to your desired major, learning style, past college experiences, etc.)
- What tests are required for my major? (There are more choices here than you realize, and too much choice quickly becomes demotivating and confusing…)
- Which order should I take my tests in? (Crucial for actually following through and executing your degree plan once you have it)
- What if I’ve mastered a subject that there IS no exam for? (That happens, and there’s a terrific strategy for earning fast/low-cost credit in this situation, but it’s not cut out for everyone and too complex to explain here)
- What are the best study strategies and resources for mastering subjects deeply and comprehensively without taking eons of time?
These are questions I help my DIY Degree students resolve every single day, and now, for the first time, I am offering my services to personally create a customized degree plan FOR you.
Look: it’s obviously POSSIBLE to figure all this stuff out on your own, to actually sit there and dedicate yourself to digging up the answers, grinding through trial-and-error and emerging with a rock solid degree plan that you confidently execute from enrollment to graduation…but why would you want to?
Jay Cross is the answer to the current crisis of higher education. He combines the practical wisdom of understanding what employers want in an increasingly knowledge-dependent job market, with a knack for decoding the confusing rules of colleges nationwide. Every student who wants to graduate, get ahead and escape student debt should hear what he has to say.
Scott H. Young
Jay, I have just started on my journey with you. All of these years I thought I was too dumb, too slow, etc. to pass college subjects. Now, thanks to you I am enrolled, studying, and succeeding. I am learning and I LOVE IT! You are throwing the door wide open for others to pass through on the path to higher education and greater opportunities. Making the world a better place! That is what it’s all about isn’t it? I will put you on my prayer list, if that’s ok.
Your dream in life isn’t to become a test-out expert. If you’re like most of my students, you just want a roadmap to move forward, earn the degree that’s holding you back, and achieve the career you deserve.
For just $297, I will personally craft a “test-out friendly” degree plan FOR YOU based on your unique goals, strengths and weaknesses — and show you the precise path you need to take to graduate!
In the past, I sold a detailed 77-page ebook showing how to create a test-out degree plan the way I did. It was a big hit with my students, sold a bunch of copies and helped a lot of people graduate quickly and debt-free.
“The appeal of DIY Degree was that I could pour in however much time I wanted to my studies without being limited by someone else’s schedule. Now I can show future employers what I’M really made of, instead of how some school held me by one hand and robbed me out of the other.”
But I also realized something critical, which led me to make the offer I’m making today.
Most of my students didn’t want to read a massive book about testing out. It slowed them down from actually getting started. They wanted a specific, personalized, step-by-step blueprint to just DOING it, so they could get through college and get on with their lives.
That was an eye-opener for me, because I didn’t start DIY Degree to make a killing with ebook sales. I only care about helping students follow through and get the incredible results I got.
That’s why, for the first time ever, I am offering to be your personal degree consultant and formulate a roadmap for graduating quickly and inexpensively — in your major of choice — via the test-out strategy you’ve just read about.
What you’ll get by joining DIY Degree today:
- An immediate download of my wildly popular “DIY Degree Guide”, which contains my intense research and personal discovery on how to earn a test-out degree
- An email from me to schedule our kick-off phone call where you and I will discuss your college goals.
- A customized, point-by-point roadmap for testing out of your desired major, complete with exact costs and the specific tests to take (and test out of)!.
- “Fill out the FAFSA to maximize financial aid eligibility!”
- “Buy used textbooks and save hundreds!”
- “Apply for scholarships on FastWeb.com!”
- The FAFSA isn’t the key to a debt-free education. It mostly just qualifies you to borrow money that will take decades to repay. Yes, it can also lead to grants and free aid…and you should fill out the paperwork to take advantage of these potential opportunities…but we’re talking, at most, a few thousand dollars — not enough to cut your costs dramatically. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be a student debt crisis in the first place!
- Textbooks cost 812% more than 30 years ago, but still represent a tiny portion of your TOTAL college costs. Every penny helps…but buying used books doesn’t pay for college any more than clipping coupons pays for a mansion.
- Most people who apply for scholarships don’t win any. I’m not saying don’t try — you could be the one in however many that wins — but statistically, it’s not likely to pay off. Plus, it’s another way of relying on outside forces (“please give me free money!”) to reduce your college burden. I run the Do-it-YOURSELF Degree, so I think you can tell where I stand on this!
- Why college experts blindly tell you to major in math, science or engineering…even though it’s actually NOT the best way to stand out in the job market
- The clever positioning strategy Glenn uses to break hiring managers out of their “my way or the highway” mentality and make them see the unique value of your major
- The hidden phrase in almost every job listing that enables you to get hired regardless of your major (I’m still astonished that no one else is talking about this!)
- How 12 years of formal schooling has brainwashed students into playing it safe, not taking chances and following outdated rules that hold them back
- The personality test Fortune 500 companies use to figure out where you belong
- Which types have the hardest/easiest time with college
- The type only 2% of the general population has, but almost 100% of CEOs have
- Psychological Patriotism: celebrating your strengths instead of dwelling on your flaws
- Why mastering personality type is the #1 way to get ahead at work, forge deeper connections, and live an interesting life
The cost for all of this? Just $297.
You don’t have to join DIY Degree today…but what are your other options?
We’ve all heard the generic “college savings tips” that experts spew out every year. Aren’t you tired of them?
Follow this advice and you will be totally prepared for college in 1996. (In case that year ever comes back.) Want to know how this advice plays out in 2015? I’ll warn you — it’s not pretty.
The sad truth about “conventional wisdom” college tips:
Many of the people writing student loan horror stories on Huffington Post followed all three of these common recommendations. Guess what? None of it helped. They went into debt anyway! Yet every single year, these are the tips college experts put in front of us, because it’s all they know.
I’m advocating a different path for you because I was forced by circumstances to figure one out — and I’ve tested and proven that it works!
“Okay Jay, I understand that testing out is a big time/money saver…but why ELSE would I want to approach college this way?”
I understand that college isn’t just about racing through to graduation. It’s about personal transformation: becoming the kind of person who can adapt and thrive in a complex world. Luckily, students following a DIY Degree approach gain even more than a speedy and affordable diploma!
Surprising Test-Out Benefit #1: You will learn more and absorb your college material at a higher level than typical classroom students.
When you talk about testing, some people assume that students just “cram” for their examinations and forget everything immediately thereafter. “Surely, you need a professor’s guidance to master college material”, these folks say.
In fact, just the opposite is true! In a recent book called Academically Adrift, two college professors examined the quality of learning on America’s campuses — and came to some horrifying conclusions.
|After tracking gains in “critical thinking and analytic reasoning” for 2,300 students at various four-year colleges and universities, the authors were appalled to discover that 45% of students “did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning” during the first two years of college and that 35% failed to demonstrate improvement over four years as well.
“How much are students actually learning in contemporary higher education? The answer for many undergraduates, we have concluded, is not much”, wrote, Richard Arum and Josipa Roska, the authors of Academically Adrift.
Meanwhile, a 2010 study by the Council for Adult & Experiential Learning found that students who test out typically outperform their classroom peers, noting that those who earn credit by examination in an introductory subject are “much more likely” to earn an A or B later on.
I can’t speak for every student, but my theory is that teaching yourself an entire college subject and passing a rigorous examination requires far more effort, dedication, and study than the “typical classroom experience.” When you trade classrooms and professors for the will to work hard and a library card, it’s all on you!
“I’ve earned 30 credits in 3 weeks and taught every inch of those subjects to myself. That’s more than two full semesters of material at a normal pace. Thank you so much for DIY Degree!”
Which leads me to…
Surprising Test-Out Benefit #2: You will immediately become irresistible and extraordinary in the eyes of employers.
Having a degree might be required for the most desirable jobs, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it. To actually get hired, you need to stand out — which is precisely what The DIY Degree helps you do.
Let me share a brief lesson in a concept known as “personal branding” and how earning a test-out degree enhances YOUR personal brand in the job market.
Think about most of the grocery stores in your town. The only thing customers care about is price.
Checkout takes forever because everyone is throwing coupons at the cashier to save twelve cents on cat food or laundry detergent. I bet you didn’t know this, but grocery stores are one of the most unprofitable businesses to run. Every store charges a little bit less than their competitors and everything from employee satisfaction to food quality to store cleanliness plummets in an undignified race to the bottom.
Compare that to a specialty store like Whole Foods.
Their food is insanely expensive. Their employees get paid much more than other stores would pay. Yet the store has more business than it can handle.
It’s because Whole Foods made a conscious decision to stand out and target a different type of customer: someone who cares more about buying the best food available than paying the cheapest price.
As a recent college graduate, who would you rather be: Whole Foods or your local A&P?
You get to decide. But the moment someone can pigeonhole you and say “she’s just another business major”, you have lost.
Thanks for playing, try again, next!
From an employer’s perspective, approaching college like most people do makes you a commodity. Unless you have other amazing items on your resume (like work experience at a blue-chip company) your degree will not jump off the page and grab the hiring manager’s attention like you were told it would.
Why is that? Why are college degrees so unimpressive and taken for granted today?
For one thing, there’s degree inflation: more people than ever have a degree now, and that makes yours a little less remarkable. But it’s also because the college experience itself is now associated with sloth, partying, and immaturity.
The most recent example of this came from President Barack Obama. When someone asked him what he would say to all the students who are struggling with student loans, part of his answer was “I would encourage students to look more seriously at their studies instead of treating it like a 4-year party.”
If that’s what the President thinks, can you imagine how a hiring manager feels? They’ve hired dozens (probably hundreds) of college graduates. They aren’t going to be blown away by your standard-issue degree from XYZ State University.
Yet this is what many recent graduates rely on to speak for them. The number one item on their resume is their degree and it doesn’t separate them from the crowd at all.
Unless they graduated from an elite college, it just isn’t very remarkable anymore, is it?
That’s where testing out can help you.
|The DIY Degree strategy helps you transform what is typically a commodity, into a stand-out story the hiring manager has never heard before. Unlike most applicants, you can proudly say “yes, I designed my own degree program from scratch, independently scheduled, studied for, and passed anywhere from 20-40 challenging subject tests to complete what is typically a four year commitment in 1/3rd the time for a fraction of the cost.”|
Look at the message behind this. It says you’re self-reliant, curious, resourceful…everything a hiring manager wants, right in front of her eyes in a stunning, outside-the-box story.
It’s not just about college. Every claim you make in your resume about your skills and accomplishments is made much more believable by the impressive and unique way you graduated from college.
This isn’t simply theory, either. Students following the DIY Degree approach routinely contact me to explain what a head-turner their unique college story has become!
The time and money I’ve gained through Jay’s DIY Degree program is astronomical and my employer’s management team has been awestruck when I update them on my educational experiences.”
DIY Degree is about helping you graduate from college quickly, inexpensively, and remarkably. But I also take a strong interest in helping my students launch amazing careers AFTER graduation.
Toward that aim, I’m excited to deliver the following FREE (yet highly valuable) bonuses to students who join DIY Degree today.
Bonus #1: “Landing Your Dream Job No Matter What You Major In”, an interview with multi-million dollar marketing psychologist Glenn Livingston
One of the common questions I receive from students is “how do I impress employers when I don’t have a technical degree like science, technology, engineering and math?” Nobody wants to hire someone with a psychology degree, right? WRONG!
If you’re smart and strategic, you can position ANY degree to not only get the job, but blow the hiring manager away.
To explain how, I interviewed Dr. Glenn Livingston, the famed marketing psychologist who (along with his wife Sharon) sold $30 million in consulting to blue-chip companies like Lipton, Whirlpool, and AT&T.
Glenn also led the market research team that came up with the brand name “Nextel”, so it was thrilling for me to harness all of Glenn’s psychological insight and focus it on the career challenges of my DIY Degree students.
In this penetrating, 40-minute interview, you’ll discover:
This material is worth $500 based on Dr. Livingston’s standard speaking fees. When you join DIY Degree today, it’s yours free.
Bonus #2: “Mastering Personality Type For Personal Happiness & Career Success”, an interview with bestselling author Penelope Trunk
Recently I was lucky enough to interview one of my favorite writers, best-selling author and career coach Penelope Trunk. The topic of our discussion (like everything I send you) is something you won’t hear from the typical college/career experts.
“Penelope Trunk is the world’s most influential career counselor.” – Inc. Magazine
Penelope is an authority on personality type. No, I’m NOT talking about newspaper horoscopes or astrology. If that’s what you’re relying on for guidance, DIY Degree probably isn’t the place for you. I’m talking about the scientifically-proven tests Fortune 500 companies use to choose their leaders, place employees in the right positions and identify your signature strengths.
Personality type is not some pie-in-the-sky abstraction. People who “get” their type (and the types of others) have a massive, unfair advantage over people who don’t. They understand how to educate themselves. They know how to get hired or promoted. They can relate to anyone with a few wisely-chosen words.
This is a “before and after” concept.” Meaning that once you listen to this interview, you will divide your life into “before I understood personality type” and “after I understood personality type.”
Here’s what Penelope and I cover for you in our 20-minute “crash course” on personality type:
This material is worth $300 based on Penelope’s standard consulting rates. When you join DIY Degree today, it’s yours free.
Frequently Asked Questions about DIY Degree
1. Is DIY Degree a university? Are you personally awarding my degree?
NO. I help students build test-based degree plans they can follow to graduate faster and less expensively than classroom students do. The schools you will actually graduate from are Excelsior College, Thomas Edison State College, or Charter Oak State College (depending on your unique goals and our discussions together.)
2. Can I REALLY graduate in a year and a half or less? It just sounds too good to be true.
YES, if you acknowledge and accept the hard work it takes to pull off. I don’t want to sugar coat this for you: the DIY Degree approach is more efficient than traditional classroom instruction, but it’s not “easy” and it’s certainly not for people who are unwilling to dedicate themselves to the process. I can share the study strategies that enable you to master college subjects quickly (and earn credit via testing) but I can’t do the work for you!
3. What bachelor’s degree majors can I earn using the DIY Degree approach?
Right now, I specialize in helping students who are interested in business, accounting, psychology, computer science or nursing.
4. Can I graduate using the DIY Degree approach anywhere in America?
YES. There are test centers across the country as well as other ways to earn fast, self-taught credit regardless of your location.
5. Can I graduate using the DIY Degree approach OUTSIDE of America?
Usually, but not always.
Take our free quiz here to find out if our program will work for you.
6. What is the exact price I’ll pay to graduate using the DIY Degree approach? Why are you providing a range of $5,000 to $10,000?
Good question. It’s because no two degree plans are the same. A number of factors (whether you have any previous college credit, your comfort level with testing out, how quickly you complete the exams in your plan, etc.) determine your exact, out-the-door cost of graduation with the DIY Degree strategy. Nevertheless, regardless of the exact number, it will typically fall inside the $5,000 to $10,000 range and take dramatically less time than than other college options available to you.
7. Does the DIY Degree approach work for master’s degrees or PhD study?
NO. I wish the answer were otherwise, but i have yet to discover any graduate-level programs that are compatible with testing out.
Still have questions? Email me directly at [email protected]. I only want students who are completely dedicated and sure of themselves to take advantage of this opportunity! 🙂