Western Governors University Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (401)
To get right to the point, WGU is an excellent school if you are self motivated and dedicated to getting a degree. I feel that the quality of education surpassed what I have previously experienced in my undergraduate at a highly ranked 'traditional' University.
The social interaction is relatively limited, which would have bugged me in an earlier stage of my life. However, at this stage of my life I loved the direct to the point education I was able to receive, with fewer hoops to jump through then I am used to in higher education. A great institution.
WGU is an excellent school! However, it is not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants school. Don't come in expecting to do minimal work and think you're going to graduate! I started in September of 2012, and plan to graduate this December. I've worked my butt off, but it's totally worth it. And I have 3 kids, one that was born this past October! It takes lots of hard work and discipline, and it's not for everybody.
This school is for the more mature students that can pace themselves and guide their own learning. I've seen people complaining about their mentor. I adore my mentor, and actually look forward to our calls. To those that dislike their mentor, request a new one!! Overall, this is a great school for those that are motivated and disciplined and don't expect to be handed a degree!
WGU was the biggest mistake of my life. I'm still attending, but courses as WGU have been a burden since I started. From the beginning I criticized the program. I didn't know that WGU's "mentor-guided learning model" meant you have a mentor who basically just calls once every few weeks to verify you're actually studying. There are no teachers. No one to instruct you or assist you when you're stuck and can't comprehend the material. You are expected to teach yourself but reading books and doing various hands-on exercises before taking assessments, which are certification exams, proctored exams you can take at home with a person watching you via video cam, or assignments you turn into to contracted graders.
My story is that I've spent over a year and a half in the software engineering degree program. I've done well on every assessment thus far. Finally, I'm nearing the end of my program and that's when they throw the two most challenging IT certifications at you. Having only had a little experience programming Java they expect you to study an 800-page textbook online on passing the Java certification exam, an industry exam that many seasoned Java programmers struggle to pass. I failed...twice. I knew it would be difficult, but I thought I might just pass. Well, I didn't. The second time, even with the "guidance" of the course mentor, who basically did little to help, I got a score 2% lower than my first attempt. And the exam is the benchmark. Even though I'm just a few percentage points shy of the passing score, it's no good. You MUST pass the exam. Period. Many students are transferred into other programs at this point because they can't pass it. So after months of hard work and dedication I'm forced to either quit school without attaining my degree, or transfer into another program and hope that I don't get stuck in the same situation again.
Understand that the programs are rigid, inflexible, and often require you to study for what is essentially one big final exam. You're tested on everything once to get your passing grade. So you study tirelessly in hopes that you pass. There are no quizzes, homeworks, projects, etc. in many of these classes to allow those who may not do well on big exams to recover and get a passing grade. There is no opportunity for make-up work or extra credit. It's a very firm line that is set and cannot be moved. Being along and having no help, WGU can keep their program. Some students like it. But I find many are woefully frustrated by it and only stick with it because they've invested too much time and money to quit. And transferring credits is practically fruitless, as most colleges won't take them, as there is no GPA. They don't know what to do with you.
I am in my third and final term for my BA degree in education. I explored the various "communities" and the Facebook page for WGU and refuse to be part of either of those. I am a 46 year old professional who has nothing but excellent things to say about the program. It is hard. You must work on requirements without your mom telling you what you need to do next. You must take responsibility for blowing off the needed work.
WGU is not a degree factory and you must actually work towards the degree. I see many of the people posting here and in the areas I discussed previously blasting WGU who can barely spell and/or complete a sentence. Instead of taking the time to whine about how pathetic you are as a student and blaming the school, take some time and get some remedial spelling training and learn how to write a paragraph. If this seems harsh well, I have one thing to say..... WAAAAAAAA!!
In case you care, I will be starting my master's immediately after I graduate.
PROS: Flexible schedule, inexpensive tuition (books, etc. included in tuition), nationally and regionally accredited, required scheduled contact with school personnel and faculty, competency-based grading system that reflects academic difficulty of programs offered
CONS: Not as academically supportive as bricks-and-mortar school (ie. you are expected to take charge of your own learning, and if you need extra help, you have to schedule an appt.), skepticism from potential employers (not personally experienced, but have heard stories), ease of procrastination
CONCLUSION: For more disciplined students who are technology savvy, this is a great school. Also, for those who do not have access to a traditional school (due to location or cost), WGU is a good choice. However, this school may not be the best option for less dedicated students or those who learn best in a group setting or prefer unlimited access to professors. The curriculum is advanced and the grading system tough, so the academic experience is intense, but rewarding. If you experience problems with the work, immediate help can be difficult to come by. Though, when you do get help, it is usually very good and pertinent.
I will forever be grateful to this institution that has saved me from the agony of my life, my past mistakes. I am shocked to see some bad reviews - I cannot comment in the other degree majors but for someone who in Information Technology field, an Information Technology professional, who is seeking a Bachelor Degree - WGU is the best and only choice. WGU is regionally accredited. Please do not waste time going to any school that is not regionally accredited. I cannot emphasize it enough.
WGU IT curriculum accepts credits for industry standard certificates. Which should be a piece of cake, for someone who is working in the field. I completed my degree in seven months while working full time and taking care of a family of four. Show me a school where you can complete a Bachelor degree in little over a semester - my only regret, I should have planned better and complete in 6 months.
I already completed 10 Master level classes under a certificate program from a regionally accredited brick and mortar school. Just three classes away from a full master degree which is now possible.
I think some students are having hard time because curriculum is competency based - means you need to master the subject. Not like traditional schools where you party all month - cram your way out night before the exam. I was one of those student and who miserably failed at that as well - thank God for WGU - who gave me a second chance.
I'm stunned by some of these negative reviews; sorry your experience was not what you expected. I, on the other hand, do not regret my decision to attend WGU.
First, I'm a mother of four young children, my youngest has autism, I needed something that was flexible, accredited, and tailored to my learning style. I've sat here reading all these bad reviews about financial aid, taskstream, mentor calls, courses of study, changes in courses and so on and so on and I don't have a clue what you're talking about and I've been attending since late 2009. Never once have I had a problem with financial aid. Out of at least 100 tasks I've turned into taskstream, I've maybe needed to revise 4 of them, and they NEEDED to be revised...they contained mistakes; once I revised, everything was good. I have had two of the best student mentors I could ask for; I consider them both friends and look forward to speaking each week.
My mentor, especially the last 3 months has made sure I have done everything I needed to do before Demonstration teaching; she makes sure I'm overly prepared for anything that may come up. Are task sometimes vague, yep...guess what, email or call the course mentor and ask them what it is asking of you, problem solved. Course mentors have always gotten back with me in 1-6 hours to answer my questions and then I was back to finishing my tasks.
Next, in my 4 years here, never once has my degree changed; no course changes, no structural changes, nothing. I guess I'm just one of the lucky ones I suppose.
I have passed all my state praxis exams from the work I've learned at WGU. The school I'm getting ready to do my pre-clinical's at has had no problem whatsoever by me attending WGU.
I even asked the Vice-Principal about any concerns he had with me attending an online university; he told me...not at all, as long as I had the drive, go for it. And for those who say this is high school level work, I don't recall staying up until all hours of the night, day after day, doing research after research in high school. In my high school courses, I had to memorize facts; at WGU, I've had to learn the content of a course forwards and backwards.
I've been to other colleges, have a degree from a state college with a 3.8 GPA from there; the exams here are 10x harder than anything I've ever experienced, I was shocked at the degree of some of the questions they ask. As to the supposed "busy work", I've learned more from that busy work than one could imagine. 90% of my "busy work" tasks needs extensive research to complete. Lastly, almost all of my courses has a live or recorded webinar that has helped guide me through through the course or task; you can even ask questions during them or just listen the questions others have. My state (KY), will accept my degree and will allow me to get my teaching certificate when I graduate, and my state is extremely picky about what they will and will not accept.
I am truly sorry some of you have had a bad experience, I really am. I will just say, if you are wondering if you want to attend WGU, let me give you some quick tips so you don't get into something you don't like.
1)WGU is not easy. If you do not have the time to devote at the very least 16-20 hours a week towards studying, researching, and writing papers, go somewhere else. I will say though, I've managed to overwhelmingly pass my state teaching and content exams solely on what I've learned in my courses. I passed each Praxis exam on my first try; there were quite a few others in the testing room, who went to the local university, who were taking it for the 2nd and 3rd time. I feel I've been very prepared to become a highly qualified teacher.
2) If you're afraid to ask or seek out help, this isn't the place for you. I get stuck a lot trying to figure out a concept or how to complete a task; after I send an email to the course mentor, I either get a quick reply or we set up a phone meeting and he/she will walk me through. They're there to help you and are all too willing to assist.
3)When you're working independently, it's easy to procrastinate; however, you need to be motivated and self-disciplined enough to know when it's time to get back to work.
4)If you're still unsure, go to the WGU student forums: http://www.wgustudents.com/forum/ This forum was created by a student and not the university; you can read what we talk about and what we go through, without the university monitoring it. Feel free to ask questions; ask the students if they are able to get jobs with this degree, ask them if they are shunned by employers for attending WGU, and ask the alumni if they felt their work was "high school level work." Don't gauge your decision based on someone who attended for a semester or was denied before the enrollment process. There are people posting on the forum all the time asking questions, some decide to enroll, some decide its not for them. We're not going to lie to you just to get you to attend; we're mostly 30, 40, 50 year old career changers who will be very blunt with you about whether you're a good fit for this type of school or not. The last thing we want is for you to enroll, find out its not for, and then get on one of these review sites to complain about how horrible the school is.
One last thing, for those who feel this is a diploma mill school, just this week, 2 more governors (TN and MO), have stated in their state of the state address that they want or are getting WGU in their states. Google their state of the state addresses and read them for yourselves; I don't know of any governor who has ever stated his desire in such a public fashion to get a diploma mill school in their state.
Again, if you don't want to talk to an enrollment person just yet, go to the WGU student forum. We have nothing to gain by you enrolling,and, nothing to lose by you going somewhere else.
I've read a lot of the reviews and if you are reading these to decide whether or not to choose WGU then you have to take some of the reviews with a grain of salt. Everyone learns in a diferent way and this learning model will not work for everyone. If you are someone that needs to sit and listen to a lecture or do not learn well on your own with a text book this is not the education model for you.
I am in my second term at WGU and I love it. I attended University of Phoenix/Axia College prior to WGU and just did not care for the constant requirements to log on and participate in chats and the cost was killing me. All of my U of P credits transferred to WGU and it is truly a self paced program. Yes, you have a mentor that calls weekly the first term and then bi-weekly once you've completed your first term, but those calls are mostly goal setting calls and if you're staying on track there's no need to avoid the phone calls. I've only needed assitance from a course mentor once and she was very helpful so I can't attest to much else about course mentors. Also, I've not had a lot of issues with my work being returned from the evaluators. I've had a few that needed revision, but the evaluators provide specific details about what is lacking so it's pretty clear what needs work.
I can also say that I've found the work load to be far more challenging than I expected and leaps and bounds more difficult than the work at U of P. I truly feel like I'm getting a well rounded education from WGU. In the end it all comes down to whether or not you can learn in a self paced, mostly self taught environment. The support is there if you need it but this isn't for someone that needs a lecture to learn and a set schedule of due dates to keep themselves on track.
I felt encouraged to write this review after reading how several others responded to the Universities unique design. Personally I love it. Yes there is a student mentor who is there assist you and encourage you along the way. For me this is a positive. Yes, I am an independent individual, but it was great to have a person to ask questions of, who provided guidance and who had completed a master's program. All of the WGU Student Mentors have at least a Masters Degree and many have higher level terminal degrees. The course work is challenging but meets the standard work load the same as a brick and mortar university does. You can expect at WGU that there are a lot of resources available for assistance if you are willing to use them. Don't come to WGU if you are looking for an "easy" degree program. You will work and you will be held accountable, just as you should be at university level. Time scheduled are flexible and the great thing is, if a course comes easy to me I can work right through at my own pace, for a harder one I can slow down, but I still have an expected deadline that I will be held too.
WGU Course Mentors are "fabulous" almost all of the course mentors (aka professors) hold terminal degrees and really know their stuff. The key-you have to be willing to email, schedule an appointment and talk with them. Gee- I had to do that in my Indiana University Classes too if I wanted a one-on-one with the professor. I never had a Course Mentor unwilling to spend whatever time I needed, assisting me with comprehension, reviewing an assignment or helping brainstorm ideas. The best part is that there are Course Mentors all over the US, so many have very flexible time schedules and some even have weekend office hours.
Yes, the readings do jump around in the text books, but that is because they only have you reading relevant course work and the texts are all on line now- you don't purchase learning resources at WGU. They are also available on all platforms and on most devices. i can read my text on my iPad or iPhone while waiting for an appointment or on my lunch break while I eat. Great mobility!
The graders are third party and impartial, yet through discussion I learned they all have degree usually Masters degrees or higher and grade within their field of study. The are subject matter experts and grade impartially. No you can't plead and argue with them, but the rubrics are clear and well defined. The key is to use the rubric as extended instructions and make sure your work is top notch and meets all of the rubric requirements.
So, yes I recommend WGU, if you want an online degree that is respected and valued across the fields of education, nursing, business and IT.Talk to student services and they can share statistics of graduates and placements. Now WGU is a state university in Indiana, Washington and Texas too! I plan to attend again and I have several friends who just finished the MBA and sing praises about the program.
This is the absolutely best online school ever!!! I was able to complete my BSN in less than a year completely online for about 7,000.00$ Totally worth it as my income increase 20,000.00$ a year as a result of this degree.
I feel the education I received was fantastic and my personal mentor was like my own personal cheer leader. Great Program!