Excelsior-Caveat Emptor-Let The Buyer Beware

  1. Excelsior College-Caveat Emptor-Let The Buyer Beware!!

    Excelsior College bills itself as the world's largest nursing school. It fits the definition as a nursing school only in the broadest definition. After enrolling at Excelsior you are required to take between 8-10 computerized tests which upon passing you are required to take their 3 day clinicals-and therein lies the rub.

    At most colleges and universities. whether online or brick and mortar, by the time you are ready to graduate you have some idea of where you stand as a student. Poor, fair, good, excellent-a student will know where they stand on that continuum. Excelsior turns that paradigm on its head.

    What Excelsior calls its 3 day clinical (actually the time spent with patients is usually 4-6 hours total) has a fantastically high failure rate. Excelsior steadfastly refuses to reveal its graduation rates as well as passing rates. Full disclosure-I have taken and judged to have failed the Excelsior clinicals 3 times. This despite graduating number one at my LPN school along with excellent clinical reviews, I also receive excellent performance reviews for my job as an LPN, and, oh yeah, maintained a 3.4 GPA on Excelsior's own tests. No matter after 3 tries you are unceremoniously "withdrawn" i,e, thrown out,
    of the school. Your credits are worth nothing at other nursing schools.

    The clinicals have literally hundreds of ways to find a way to fail you. From my experience and talking with other students the passing rate seems to be somewhere south of 20%. Mind you a vast majority of students besides taking and passing all the 8-10 computer tests are generally LPN's with 5-10-15-20 years of working clinical experience. The failures are seldom predicated by violating some nursing practice but from the "clinical examiners" finding something you didn't do the Excelsior way. Why do this? After failing you will immediately, before being escorted off the hospital premises,an application to retake the clinical at an additional cost of $2400.00.
    If you haven't taken one of their workshops ($900.00) you will be encouraged to do so.
    So, why?, it is a big money maker.

    Which brings us to another bone of contention for many duped students. The College Network. The College Network is a publishing company which aggressively recruits students for Excelsior. Basically you end up paying about $5000.00 for study materials that can be purchased for new for a few hundred dollars or used for even less. Excelsior denies being any part of TCN and they aren't but the companies have a symbiotic relationship with TCN acting as a feeder system of unsuspecting students-and, yes, TCN sales reps do act as if they are part of Excelsior. Can Excelsior not know this? and more importantly why don't they issue a cease and desist order-again follow the money.

    Be forewarned Excelsior religiously follows all chat and complaint boards and responds aggressively-those with complaints are generally painted as losers who didn't prepare enough or, even more cruelly "not cut out to be an RN"-remember most students are LPN's with long term clinical experience.

    That said some do graduate from Excelsior and then are allowed to take the NYS RN licensing test but do the research and not just listen to the hype. Caveat Emptor.

    Many, if not most jobs, have some moral ambiguity, but for the minions who work at Excelsior, who day after day shatter the egos, dreams, and pocketbooks of so many qualified nurses, well it takes a certain kind of depravity.

    Roy Bean
  2. Visit tommye12 profile page

    About tommye12

    Joined: Jul '13; Posts: 4; Likes: 1


  3. by   featherzRN
    FWIW, I passed my CPNE on the first try with no repeats. And I didn't sign up with college network or any other publishing company, nor did I do any workshops. It's tough, but it's definitely do-able. Also passed NCLEX-RN on the first try. I am sorry you had a bad experience. Will you try a different school for your RN?
  4. by   ScudderRN31
    College Network aggressively "recruits" for many colleges, they aren't recruiting for the college itself but for their own benefit. The only cost that they collect that goes to excelsior is the cost of excelsior exams. Same with rue. I'm sure the clinicals aren't easy but if you walk in convinced you know it all I could see how you would be failed. Many of us get into our own habits and while it may be "correct" it may not be the way they want it. When I did my clinical rotation as a PN one instructor would want to see things different from the last, you just have to give them what they want and prove your capable to adjust. It would not benefit excelsior or any other school to repeatedly fail people just because.

    LPN who can't wait to be a RN!
  5. by   Nalon1 RN/EMT-P
    Excelsior does release its CPNE pass rate. See HERE.
    Pass rate in 2012 (most recent year available) was 46%. 2011 was 61%.

    While I sympathize with you having "wasted" all the time and money with Excelsior only to be "dismissed" after your 3rd failure of the CPNE (I know I would be crushed), it is clear from the get go what the expectations are. Your number of years of experience as a LPN (or Paramedic or Resp therapist) does not come into play for the CPNE if you don't do it the "Excelsior way". You may be the greatest LPN in the world and do everything correctly at work, but fail the CPNE for not doing it their way.

    I did my CPNE with 3 others, all 3 were LVN's (with 10 years or more experience each), all on their 2nd attempt.
    1 failed out on Sunday morning (not sure what happened, I did not see her).
    The 2nd was waiting to do her final adult assessment.
    She told me that the reason she failed the first CPNE is she did not practice the "Excelsior way" and it caused her to fail.
    The assessment she had failed on Saturday was a mistake she made and knew it when she did it (I don't recall what it was).
    The 3rd passed without failing a single skill or patient care assessment. He said he had to unlearn his way of doing things and do them how the CPNE wanted it. He practiced it at work and at home, all the time.
    I somehow passed the first time.

    As for the College Network, Excelsior states on their site they are not affiliated with any 3rd party publisher. They get nothing from them and tell students they are not needed.
    I got roped into using DLSI and spent way more than I should have. I did use their stuff to study and pass, but if I had know better I could have saved a few thousand off my degree cost.
    I passed my study guides on to 2 other paramedics where I work to use (one signed up with College Network and hates their stuff).
  6. by   Pixie.RN
    Quote from tommye12
    That said some do graduate from Excelsior and then are allowed to take the NYS RN licensing test but do the research and not just listen to the hype. Caveat Emptor.
    Just as a note, most students take the NCLEX-RN in their own states, not necessarily NY.

    I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with EC. It doesn't work out for everyone, that's for sure. And yes, EC is aware of TCN's antics, which is why they warn students about third-party test prep companies on their site. I too wish they'd go after TCN. Did you get sucked in to a TCN contract?

    There are a lot of very smart people who can't or don't finish EC's program; it really doesn't reflect on their quality as a nurse or a human. I hope you find another avenue to continue your education and I wish you the best of luck.
  7. by   BSNbeDONE
    So many people have asked me if my many years as an LPN (24 at enrollment) helped me to pass ECs program. I told each of them that it did not, except for two occasions: with the exams, I was familiar with looking at lab results from working in the hospital, so that helped with whatever exam applied to that aspect; with the CPNE, I was very comfortable with having someone looking over my shoulders and watching my every move...that's what patients' families do best. In my opinion, the less experience you have as a working NURSE, the easier it is for you to think the Excelsior way...no need for deprogramming and reprogramming.

    No words that I could possibly say to the OP will help him to feel better. If the shoes were reversed, my name would probably be signed to the post...true or not. I felt horrible when I failed my first ever nursing exam a few months ago, and I blamed EVERYBODY and EVERYTHING....including the dog that I still don't have. My failing that exam added an entire semester to my completion! All I can say is that I wish the OP well in whatever program he finds....
  8. by   caddywompus
    This post is completely biased due to failure. I passed with Excelsior on the first attempt with no repeats and had a wonderful, though stressful (of course) clinical experience. You are in NO WAY required to use The College Network and Excelsior is clear about that. I bought all of my materials from Amazon for cheap. I have no regrets about going through Excelsior. They also publish their pass/fail rates and this information is easy to find. It's been a few years since I've looked at it, but at that time the clinical pass rate was somewhere around 64%. With all that said, I am sorry EC didn't work out for you and wish you the best.
  9. by   John SPN
    Both myself and my wife completed Excelsior's LPN to RN program in about a year and for approximately $6000 each; both completing the CPNE on the first attempt. I am sorry that you could not complete the program but to make generalizations claiming that the program is akin to a profit obsessed degree mill is offensive to those who worked quite hard to complete their degrees.