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Western Governors University Reviews

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Degree: Management
Graduation Year: 2015
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Having just completed an MS in Management in Leadership in one year (almost to the day) while working full time, I thought I'd share my experience with those contemplating enrollment at WGU. For those who are self-starters, highly motivated and can set aside - truly - at least 20 hours per week for your studies, this is an exceptional program and a great way to earn an accredited degree. Everything I needed to know was provided in the form of online textbooks, journal articles and training materials. I found the exams to be challenging but fair, and papers were graded according to an objective rubric by a third party. My mentor provided guidance throughout the program and encouraged me to accelerate my studies - which saved me the $3,250 for an originally-planned third term. The tab for the entire degree? Just $7,000. By my reckoning, the Franklin-Covey training alone would have cost several thousand dollars and provided excellent, practical and highly relevant information (i.e., I was able to implement "The 4 Disciplines of Execution" - one of the many Franklin-Covey training programs, with great effect at my place of work). Solid experience and I'd recommend to anyone who is able to work independently and remain focused.

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Degree: Education
Graduation Year: 2013
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Western Governors University is the best online college for creating an excellent foundation of how to learn online, maximizing the amount of tuition to competencies learned, applying theory to practice by learning in the field hands on, and providing efficient use of time management by being able to learn in the evenings, on weekends, and still be able to work, parent, or have the flexibility to do other activities while earning a degree. The quality of education is at the highest because of the structure of learning. In order to earn competency credits, you must master every competency unit in order to move forward, every discussion, paper, and proctored exam must be at a level of a "B" or better in order to pass the competency units. The mentors at the university are more than academic counselors, they are there to assist you, your education, your career, and life goals. I feel that Western Governors University is the best undergraduate school I could have attended while working full time and raising my son. I am successful today because of the opportunities and quality of education that Western Governors University provides.

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Degree: Business Administration and Management, General
Graduation Year: 2015
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I speak as a alumni of Western Governors University, having earning a masters in business administration in just over five months. I'm presently working on a second graduate degree with them and wanted to share some of my broader observations with the general internet. The good: - The price is great. - They are accredited. - They do allow acceleration mostly. - They're all online. The bad - The graders often don't have backgrounds in what they're evaluating. This creates a number of problems. - The graders have indicated in their responses that they haven't read my paper, but issue a grade anyway. - The graders don't even pretend to adhere to a uniform standard. It's amazing to watch how others will put in very little effort, and it sails through. Others will work extensively and make an objectively better response, but it gets rejected. - Rejections often don't make sense. They'll pick a random, arbitrary reason why. When you step back and think about it, you could continue to find fault with any paper as long as you wanted. Even if there's no there "there", just continuing to say it's insufficient and provide no reason. What's to stop you? Apparently nobody stops the graders at Western Governors, and even an appeal will net you nothing. - My impression is that they're trying to guard the strength of their degrees and only giving them to people who are willing to rewrite papers several times. Not a great way of actually determining competency. - Appeals are worthless. They never addressed the core issue I questioned them on. When I asked an appeals person directly why my work wasn't even evaluated as indicated in the grader's response, they danced around the question. They'll stand behind their graders. - The course mentors are disconnected from graders. This is arguably the worst part about it. Course mentors, a.k.a. the people that know the stuff the class is about, are powerless. Reiterated, the person that understand the material can't influence the person who doesn't understand the material and is in charge of your grade that the response is sufficient. The ugly - Once a grader asked me to include a graph of a simulation that didn't exist. It wasn't asked for in the question prompt. I filed an appeal, and they said I could have made it from Excel. OOPS, wrong again! Some of the data required to manually make the graph wasn't any where to be found either. That's probably why it wasn't asked for geniuses! My next submission included a statement say such in all caps on that writing prompt. Then it passed. - Another grader said instead of analyzing a single round in a simulation as indicated by the requirements, that all 8 rounds needed to be evaluated. I filed an appeal, and the appeal predictably stood behind their grader. The course mentor responded to the graders and said that wasn't in the instructions. It took hours and hours to resolve this. I had to be the driver for this because it wouldn't have worked itself out. It ate an obscene amount of my time. - To further illustrate the non-uniformity of their standards, I've had multiple course mentors explain to me, including ECare themselves, that if I opt for an appeal, I could have work that was approved come back as disapproved. How much sense does that make? You passed the test! Oh, just kidding! Sounds like a great, accurate, precise setup, right? - Finally, they have different avenues to communicate, like web forums. I started venting some frustration at the graders and the process, and the course mentor decided an appropriate response would be to attempt to curtail my 1st amendment. I wasn't swearing, saying anything offensive, trolling, or criticizing any individual person. If they're too thin skinned to even allow general criticism of the process and results among the students, what does that mean? Why so touchy? In the end, I have a real love/hate relationship with the school. The idea of competency based learning is liberating. It makes so much sense. It is just so bitterly disappointing that Western Governors University does such a poor job at implementing the idea.

1 Comment
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Rob in Florida - 7 days ago

Good for you for completing a graduate degree in five months! With respect, if your submissions were written with the same level of clarity found in your critique, it's a wonder you passed at all. "Articulation of response" is a competency evaluated with every submission, and your rant is a bit inarticulate (e.g., "My next submission included a statement say such in all caps on that writing prompt" - Huh?). Disconnecting evaluators from course mentors accomplishes something few schools get right: it eliminates bias and favoritism, as grading is done objectively, according to a well-defined rubric. In the year it took me to complete a WGU Master's degree, I had one paper sent back for revision.

Finally, as a graduate with an MBA, you should know that you're not "a alumni," rather, you're "an alumnus." Maybe the second degree will get you over the hump, eh?

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Degree: Business
Graduation Year: 2015
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I dragged my feet about going back to school for 10 years. With kids and a high-pressure career, it sounded daunting and the thought of dropping $30k...it just didn't make sense. But I finally committed and finished my MBA in a year and it cost me less than $7k through WGU! I worked my butt off to make $150k+ per year and know that an equivalent job will likely require an MBA. There is security in knowing that when/if that day comes that I have to compete for a position at another company, I won't be disqualified because I am missing three letters behind my name. If you have the mentality that you are capable of doing anything you set your mind to, you can do this and I highly recommend that you do!

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Degree: Nursing Education
Graduation Year: 2016
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College work online is very flexible. I am 50% of the way through, and so far so good. I am very pleased with the online experience, the cost, and education experience. At the collegiate level of nursing (BSN, MSN) no one cares where you obtained your degree, only that you received it. It does not make sense to pay thousands of extra dollars on an MSN, when an excellent program that is inexpensive is at your fingertips!

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Frances McCarthy - 14 days ago

It's not true that no one cares where you obtain your degree.

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Degree: MBA in Management
Graduation Year: 2014
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Excellent school with an excellent model! I went straight from WGU’s BS course of study to their MBA program and it paid off big, I am now in upper management as a direct result of my academic accomplishments. The university mentors were amazing, the curriculum was tough but well laid-out and I loved the work at your own pace model. I have recommended this school to a lot of people and they are all on their way to graduating either with a BS or an MBA.

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Chris - 23 days ago

Thanks for the insight, I was considering going straight into the MBA path as well and you've fully convinced me to do so!

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Harry Jonte - 20 days ago

I have never been required to take an entrance exam and I have attended five colleges. Two state colleges that are 2 year colleges and 3 colleges offering graduate degrees one of which was a state college.

Since I have attended a wide range of college, it is not logical to assume that a college is bad if taking an entrance exam was not required. Below are the colleges I have attended.

I have gone to Diablo Valley College (Brick and Mortar) 2 year college with an AA

I have gone to American River College (Brick and Mortar) 2 year college to finish up some pre-reqs

I have gone to California State University - Sacramento

I have gone to Strayer University (Brick and Mortar and Online) and completed by BS in accounting online

I am going to Western Governors University (100% online) and Completing a BS in Computer Science.

I am required to pass Industry Certifications testing completed by the certifications testing bodies.

I appreciate your inquiry as to the validity of it's accreditation and your belief that the more modern delivery system maybe be subject question in its' authenticity.

I know of some people who, through the years of experience, were able to complete their degree much faster than others. As for me, I am on year three of my college experience at WGU. I do not have the experience in Java, Perl, JavaScript, and the many other classes I have taken so I am traveling along my college experience finishing courses as they are given to me. Only once was I able to squeeze another class in and complete it early.

Maybe WGU is not the school for you or maybe you have not given the school enough of a chance. I hope you find the right school for you.

Respectfully,

Harry Jonte

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Kelvin - 10 days ago

I'm looking into WGU's accreditation and their MBA program. Their nursing and education curriculum are listed as being accreditated, but I could not find anything regarding their accrediation WRT their MBA program. What seems troublessome upon inspection was that their creditation from Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC) was resigned 12/31/2012. So what does that mean WRT to their online MBA program? Trying to sort out and decipher the accreditation of their MBA program.

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Degree: Information Technology
Graduation Year: 2015
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This school is regionally accredited and very affordable. I appreciate the move-at-your-own-pace aspect of this institution. For the IT program, almost all of the upper division courses involve you doing online training and then taking a Certification Exam. If you pass the Certification Exam, you pass the course and you have one class down and another Certification under your belt. There is no homework and everything is Pass/Fail. You either complete the course or you don't, so if you're looking for a GPA to be proud of, that will not be possible at WGU. There are some down-sides as well. You have to speak to a 'Student Mentor' on the phone once every week to give status updates. If you miss too many calls, they will suspend your status at the school until you get that fixed. After the first term, you may be able to switch to every two weeks, but that is still very annoying. Additionally, if the end of the term is approaching, you cannot enroll in any new courses. Terms are six months long, so if it's nearing the end of your fifth month in the term and you want to enroll in a new course, your Mentor will likely not allow it. This is because you cannot take a course that spans multiple terms. This is quite frustrating considering that continual enrollment is required and it's supposed to be move-at-your-own-pace. This aspect puts a damper on things near the ends of your terms.

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DarthGigi - 17 days ago

Just a note on the enrollment in a course within one month of the change over. Their hesitation is so your transcript doesn't have any negative marks. My mentor explained that you can still do the work and take the pre-assessments until the end of the term and upon accepting the course in the next term submit them immediately. This way an Incomplete does not show up on your transcript. Or I would do all the work without enrolling and as soon as I was done with all the tasks or if I passed the pre-assessment the mentor would enroll me and I'd submit (or test) quickly. So, if your mentor will work with you it's golden if not you can transfer to a different one who is more in tune with your needs.

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Dane - 16 days ago

Most everything DarthGigi said above is true. Here's where it actually became an issue for me.

It's the end of a term, I cannot enroll in my next course but I have completed all of the learning resources and pre-assessments. My final assessment is a certification exam which has to be taken at a proctored testing center. I have to wait until a few days into the next term to enroll. Once I am enrolled, I have to request a voucher. I wait a few days for the voucher. After receiving the voucher, I schedule my exam at the proctoring center. The next appointment is two weeks out. That's three weeks at least sitting around waiting.

If I could have gotten that ball rolling in the previous term, I wouldn't be waiting around for my test that I am ready for-slowly losing some of the knowledge I've gained.

This isn't a hypothetical situation. This happened to me every term.

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Degree: Marketing/Marketing Management, General
Graduation Year: 2013
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I don't know that I would ever have gotten my degree without WGU! The competency-based curriculum and flexible schedule/pace sealed the deal for me. The fact that the tuition was much lower than other universities was a huge selling point as well. It was great to have a mentor check in on me every week to see how I was doing, and there were always tutors available when I needed extra help.

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Degree: Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management, Other
Graduation Year: 2016
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There are fallacies with every school, you just need to find the one with the least amount for your personality. CREDITS / CLASS: So yeah, WGU has a weird credit system, 6 credit classes that I can literally study 1 night and pass the test while there are some 3 credit classes that take me 2 weeks. But it balances itself out in in the long run if you think about it. MENTORS: I had a mentor I didn't get along with and requested another, Boom! just like that I was given the worlds coolest mentor and we get along great. I've even had more of a motivation to work ahead (13 credits last term with old mentor, over 23 and still counting this term with new one.) The actual class mentors are helpful in a way where they want to see you succeed the first time and give you the recommended shortest path of least resistance for the average student. GRADING: This one is a bit unorthodox... 3rd party grading system that seems a bit robotic. There isn't much depth to the grading method, and it's all surface presentation. For example, this is my assumption of my grading method if I were a grader. Task: Write a paragraph explaining why 1 and 1 is equal to 2? Answer: Blah Blah blah not worth reading, (now the key words) IT IS EQUAL TO 2 BECAUSE MATH, blah blah blah (more in-depth stuff not really worth reading.) I'm basically saying, without those key words, no matter how in-depth you answer, your work will most likely get sent back. BUT this method works out well if you understand it. Since my first hiccup with this, I haven't had any work sent back because it's pretty easy not to mess this up. Those that keep failing, just don't get it. As far as the tests go, just study and don't underestimate the post test. I haven't failed anything yet and I'm no smarter than the average Joe. PASS/FAIL: You either pass, or quit the school. GPA is a straight 3.0 from day 1 to the last day which is the minimum most colleges look for when applying for a Masters Degree. TUITION: It's simply amazing. I pay for less than what I'm learning, It almost feels like stealing. REAL WORLD APPLICATION: As far as information technology goes, a select few of the degree programs truly get you ready for the job market especially in the private Dept. of Defense sector of government contracting. We've hired a good few people from WGU due to the certifications they bring with them.

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Degree: Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance
Graduation Year: 2016
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Wanted to wait until I completed my first term to give a fair review. While I was attracted to the format of this program (online and self paced) it has some major flaws. First is that professors (or in the case of WGU course mentors) don't actually grade your work. You will go through the material (this part was actually pretty good) and then submit tasks. This is where my biggest let down is. The service, Task Stream, is just a 3rd party that, more than likely, have no idea what your field is. You can tell by their "copy and pasted" response they just grade on a generic rubric and look for buzz words. Even following the rubric you will get your work sent back multiple times. My guess is that Task Stream gets paid per grading so it's in their interest to make you submit multiple times. The rubric is very generic, such as, write in detail about X. I have had to just change wording around and finally got the task accepted. You are not writing to learn a subject, you simply write to make the people at Task Stream check off some blocks. If WGU found a better way to evaluate your knowledge it could be a good program, until then save your time. On a good note the program itself is a lot cheaper than many others out there.

1 Comment
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Graham - 12 days ago

I hardly had anything sent back, don't hate.

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