National University Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (86)
Good school, I learned a lot. It is easy to pass classes, but very difficult to get A's. You can learn a fair amount if you apply yourself
National University has been an absolutely amazing experience. After separating from Active Duty military service I immediately enrolled in National Universities Bachelor of Arts Psychology program. The online courses are not for the faint hearted. You are completely teaching yourself with the support of some fantastic career professionals. While browsing over some of the negative reviews, it seems that this type of self directed learning was a big issue. However, if you have leadership qualities and are able to handle challenges then this is the program for you! The online experience at National is enlightening. You are allowed to self explore and interpret the material yourself without any bias, or significant influence from outsiders. Extremely fast paced so I suggest you have extremely tuned organizational skills as well as the ability to prioritize.
Having read all the other reviews of National on this site, I feel compelled to offer my experience there as a reference point. I graduated with a BA from UCSD in 2005, and spent two years in retail, trying to figure out what to do with my life. I chose National because they credential more teachers than any other school in the state, and I could get my teaching credential and my Master's in 18 months start to finish. Since I lived in San Diego at the time, I started by going to their brick and mortar campuses, of which they had three at the time. (I know that now they have several more). I had a good experience going to the classes but I found them boring. I was working 6AM-4PM in a warehouse, and then I would drive to school for class from 5PM to 10PM three times a week. On my off nights I was doing homework. After about 6 months my schedule at work changed, and so I switched to online. Although people said that online was bad at National, I actually found it to be perfect. It is very fast-paced, very self-directed, and very rigorous. I learned that procrastination is the enemy, and their standards are high. If you're not a self-directed learner, then National is not for you. As soon as I switched over to the online program, I realized that's what I should have been doing from the start. There were discussion forums, papers, and a capstone project which was a digital portfolio. Overall, I had no problems with this format, and although keeping up with the reading was hard, I was a straight A student the entire time. I had zero negative interactions with students or professors the whole time I was there. When you go to class online, the professor just facilitates and grades. I had no problems there, and I don't see how someone can have a problem with a professor who, in effect, does nothing but give assignments and grade them. If you do shoddy work, you will earn low grades. When I was going to classes in the brick and mortar, I met some professors who I liked more than others, and some were easier or harder graders, but nothing out of the ordinary. I made friends with people in my classes, and that's the only thing I missed when I switched to online. I had zero problems with my enrollment plan, there were no hidden fees or surprises, and my financial aid came through like clock-work. Half-way through my 18 months, my loan got sold to another bank, and there was some paper-work involved. I don't remember that being an issue at all, and the payments came on time. If I needed help, I sent an email and got a prompt reply. A lot of people on this site are complaining about Financial Aid and Enrollment issues. I really don't see why. I walked in, told them what I wanted to study, and they had me enrolled for the full 18 month program and had my financial aid papers ready in less than 2 hours. How is it possible to get to a point in the program where you don't know how many classes you need to graduate? Just look at your paperwork carefully and stay on top of your lender. From that moment forward it was 100 miles an hour until I finished. Perhaps my advantage was that I lived in San Diego, and I could just go to their office if I had a question. If you live out of state the situation may be different. National is not for everyone. You must be self-directed, very organized, a fast reader, and good with technology. Their portal at the time (we're talking about 2006, so I'm sure it's better now) was not easy to navigate at first, but you get the hang of it. Nobody there will hold your hand, and you need to self-advocate if you need help. The truth is, I was NOT that person when I entered National, and the work-load at first was a shock to the system. I reoriented my study habits very quickly after that, and I'm a better person for it. You must be prepared for this if you want to go to National. If you have these qualities already, or think you can learn them, then you should choose National for your education. If you have any hesitation, then don't go to National. There are schools that are easier and cheaper than National University. But if this your big push to get ahead in your career, then you should go to the most rigorous program you can stand, even if it does cost more, because there is where you will learn the skills to help you succeed at work. I spent $36K on my degree there, and I find it money well spent. I don't miss the long hours, but I don't begrudge them either. My education there led to immediate full time employment, and I have been fully employed as a High School English teacher since then.
My education thus far at National has been amazing. I have seriously learned so much from my professors in the online learning environment. There are so many passionate teachers in the Global Studies program that made the coursework rewarding and worthwhile. My courses at National have overall contained a high volume of coursework. The general ed classes were more busy work, but my upper division classes have been filled with interesting discussions and analytical writing assignments. The quick pace adds an additional challenge to the already burdensome course load. I did have many frustrations with financial aid, the veterans center, and my academic adviser, but overall no problems that were not quickly solved. I am very pleased with the Global Studies program, as I feel entirely more knowledgeable than I felt before I started the program.
I started an NU with the intention of receiving my BSN. I chose the school due to the flexibility of online or on-campus courses. The fact that each was 4-6 weeks long was perfect for my personality/attention span. I was looking forward to receiving my degree... until I started running into problems. Financial Aid is a nightmare. IF you can get ahold of someone, good luck getting the information you need. I was able to deal with the inefficiency until recently. I went in to ask if I could post pone my last two classes. I asked if it would affect my financial aid. I was told it would not, in fact my grant would be in effect so it would be best to wait. Next thing i know, I get a $3,000 bill because it seems i fell out of eligibility. nobody is accountable, it's just too bad for me. the best part? I'm not accepted into the nursing program until I pay off the $3,000. All because an adviser gave me the wrong information. Cudos NU.
There are more negatives than positives about National University. Before explaining my experience at the University, I want to provide a brief description of the institution. First, National University claims itself to be a non-for-profit organization that delivers both high quality education and educational services. Second, the institution has multiple mini campuses throughout California, and a few in other states such as Nevada. Third, the institution's main campus is at La Jolla, California. Fourth, the University offers online, on-campus, and combined online and on-campus courses for all majors. Fifth, the University has a wide selection of majors, but only offers the following: Bachelors, Masters, and certificates. I started attending National University in the summer of 2010. The reason why I chose National University in the first place is because I wanted an online teacher education program that is certified by the California Teaching Credentialing Department. Being both a full-time employee and a caretaker of two ill family members, I do not have the time to attend a traditional university. Upfront I knew that the cost of education at National will be quite expensive because it is a private educational institution. However, I did not know several other aspects about the University's financial aid practices, quality of on-site services, and quality of education. I relied on the information provided by the National University's website, which introduces the school's mission statement. Also, I relied on the information about the school provided by the admissions officer at the Costa Mesa, California campus. After a year and a half of attending National University, I realized that things were not getting better. The things that I am talking about are the quality of education, the services being provided to students, the attention given by the faculty, and the cost of education. First, I notice that every three to four months, National University sends an increase in tuition letter to all of its students. The students who are already attending the school have to pay the difference in the increase in tuition. I feel it is unfair for the students because they were told that the program will cost a certain amount at the time of entrance. For instance, I was told by my Admission advisor that the total cost of the teacher education program will be $22,000; instead, the amount became up to $30,000, because of National's financial practices. I learned recently, National just opened a new mini campus somewhere in California, which probably came out of students' pockets. It is quit bazaar that the school claims to be a non-for-profit organization. Second, in the process of my student teaching, I learned that National University is not the best school to get the best student teaching placement. Several school districts do not accept National University students, and there are multiple school districts that place the University's students last on the list. For instance, the director of student teaching placement Mr. Don Wise, had a difficult time finding a placement for me. Also, I was told by another National University student that Garden Grove Unified School District places National University's students last on the list. This student that told me the information said that she had spoken to one of the board of directors at the District. Third, the faculty, the department heads, the financial aid officers, the administration, and the credential advisors are all emotionally, and mentally distant from the students. I will try to explain a little bit better in the following sentences. The university’s staff are not involved or connected to the students' concerns and problems. The faculty members do not invest time helping the students grow both professionally and mentally such as educational wise. They have no empathy and sympathy for the students. More importantly, they do not care about the students' welfares and overall educational experiences. Instead, the faculty are more concerned about their own welfare such as getting a paycheck, and the university's welfare in terms of its connection with other institutions, and its financial goals. For example, the teacher education program directors and faculty members were not concerned on helping me improve and grow as a future educator. The education department directors and student teaching coordinators were too invested in listening to the words of the assigned Master Teachers. They are blind sighted in certain aspects when observing the student teacher, and they tend to misinterpret certain information. To me, the misinterpretation comes from the inability for the faculty members and directors to effectively communicate on an interpersonal basis. I describe an effective interpersonal communication process as one in which both the receiver and the sender listen, understand, and reach an agreement with each other. This did not happen with me when I was working with the professors, directors, and my master teachers. I did not receive an adequate amount of support, and advice for professional growth from all of the following: master teachers, professors, and directors. At the end I had to pay a huge price that is up to $30,000, which includes interest on an education that was not worthwhile. I tried to get some type of compensation back from the University's officials at the main campus. No one has contacted me back, which shows that they do not care.
I have attended National University for eight courses and have received A's in all of my courses. I am leaving at the end of the month to finish my graduate education elsewhere due to a change in goals. Even if I were not changing my objectives, I would still be leaving National. I feel that National has been one of the most expensive mistakes of my life. Yes, they are accredited and can get you your degree and teaching credential. Even so, the quality of instruction is not stellar. After all, how deep can you really dive into a subject in 4 weeks? There simply is not enough time to really get into a subject. Most of the assignments are a joke, and while you do have professors and live web chats, you will be teaching yourself. With a few exceptions, questions have been answered with vague responses or outright false information; this is especially in regards to assignment formatting. In regards to the "rigorous" nature of the courses, they are not. I was able to receive all of those A grades with little to no reading. Most of the papers were relatively short. The "signature assignment" in one course was a paltry 1500 words. For a graduate course??? I've also had some courses that employed texts which were woefully biased or utilized information that was outdated, particularly with the advent of Common Core Standards. Oh, and while every professor says that APA is required, almost every professor sees APA a bit different than what National considers as standard. I also loved the one professor who spent 10 minutes in a lecture explaining how important it was to use "Doctor" when addressing him - yes that sort of degree takes a lot of hard work, but when your PhD is from a second-rate school and your lessons are often unclear or even non-existent, you just sound as if you are a bit full of yourself. Financial Aid is a joke. Yes, you will get it, but you MUST stay on top of them or it will be delayed or messed up. If you can go to a brick and mortar school, please do; I though understand that is not always possible. Yes, National will get you your accredited degree and teaching credential, but don't expect amazing things.
I have heard they do have some great programs. I didn't start out in one. I chose digital media design, and I now scold myself for not seeking out others who had been in the program. If you like teaching yourself at the tune of $1500 per month, you love it! I switched to general studies to expedite my graduation, so I could learn digital media from actual teachers. I was told I would need 5 classes to complete that program. Eight classes later, on the exact day that I'm supposed to be finishing my final course I receive an email telling me that I need four more courses to graduate. I am furious. To be fair, the marketing professors are excellent, yet demanding. But I want demanding. In paying for this ridiculously expensive school I expect to learn and learn well. I am an excellent student, and I'm supposed to graduate with honors--that is if I ever get to. I think the school can be good for some, but do your research and get all promises in writing.
Absolutely horrid school. They exist to make money, not to provide you with a quality education. They did illegal things like: changed the graduation requirements $25,000 into the program, against the course catalogue. They lied and lost many important contracts vital to my education in the field.Be prepared to possibly fail a class even if you have over an A plus. If you don't pass the ATI (which they don't teach towards), they will remove you from the program. Units do not transfer. DO NOT GO HERE.
Does any advisor know what they are talking about? Why does financial aid information always change? Can I get a direct answer from anyone? Seriously, I don't know how they hire people here, but as far as advisors and financial aid officers go, IT'S NOT WORKING! One good thing, the teachers I have had so far seem to like teaching here and are totally willing to help students succeed. I can't wait to get out of here though. My advice would be to train the staff before they start advising people. It is people's lives there are messing with. Never been so stressed over school... and this isn't my first rodeo!