I can provide a well-rounded review of Kaplan as a student but I also have intimate knowledge as an employee who worked directly with faculty and administrators. The school is fully accredited but the degree’s legitimacy can be arguable. The major challenge graduates will have in graduating from this school is the complete lack of confidence some employers have for online institutions. The information I’m about to share will explain exactly why this is and questions Kaplan’s academic standards. I’m about to complete my second Master’s degree at Kaplan under the GOK program (a free tuition benefit for employees). In both fields of study, the content of the classes proved to be challenging and stimulating as long as you are disciplined and push yourself to complete the readings and assignments outlined in the syllabus. If you briefly search some of the assignments on Google, you may notice the content is shared by other colleges (many of them well known brick-and-mortars). This at least confirms the coursework required of students is adequate, comparable to other universities, and fosters a sense of legitimacy. However the problem lies within Kaplan’s academic standards and expectations of students. In each and every class, I’ve witnessed dozens of students who seemingly lack the writing prowess one might expect from graduate level coursework. The sense of “should these people even be here?” was not spawned from arrogance. The work they turn in speaks for itself. If we ignore APA citation and formatting issues for a moment in review of writing in general, it would mirror today’s average internet discussion forum: blocks of text with varying degrees of coherence, run-on sentences, spelling and grammatical mistakes, etc. Some students do not speak English as a primary language and their errors are understandable and perhaps more forgivable. But what’s fascinating is the portion of students who do speak English as a primary language yet demonstrate exactly the same lack of understanding/command of the written language. To be fair, I believe the entire country bares this burden, as the dumbing down of academic study has been an issue for some time now. Perhaps at Kaplan the problem is more obvious because everything is based on writing. Nevertheless, the shock of seeing these students pass, class after class, carrying with them unimproved (terrible) writing skills is aggravating and depressing. They ultimately graduate, never having mastered adequate writing practices, and enter the workforce. Hiring managers who take notice will quickly question how someone could have possibly graduated from a Master’s program under these circumstances which only sour’s Kaplan’s spotty reputation. It begs the questions: How could Kaplan have let this happen? What does it say about the school’s academic standards? What does it say about the average graduate and their level of intelligence? How much of Kaplan’s priority is focused on profit vs. education? The questions/assumptions professionals will make about Kaplan’s graduate body is ultimately going to be what makes or breaks this University. This is not just theory—I’ve felt the bias first hand with my current employer. My employer refused to acknowledge Kaplan as a worthy institution and insisted on reviewing the undergrad transcripts I had earned from a small brick-and-mortar university. I held a 4.0 GPA at Kaplan but none of this mattered. The Director of Finance holds a Master’s degree and a CPA and prided himself on being very aware of academic standards. His skepticism was not for online instruction—but rather the quality of instruction received. Note the difference between these concepts. It didn’t matter much where the education came from (since I wasn’t Ivy League). The quality of the education was the primary factor. In four years, I never once heard a discussion about student quality. Instead, the focus was placed on gainful employment, MOOCS, and the future direction of online instruction and employer/academic relationships. The rah-rah rhetoric fed to employees was about the benefits of online instruction as a viable alternative. What’s funny though, is that management is clearly out of touch if they’re still fighting this battle when it has become painfully obvious online instruction is generally accepted. Virtually all brick and mortars are gearing themselves up to offer both on campus or online classes. And if such is the case, who will still want to go to Kaplan?