Western Governors University Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (463)
Overall, I'm glad I chose WGU. I began my degree program in September, 2008 and expect to finish by the end of October of this year.
First, the obvious - you have to have some discipline and a lot of patience. This isn't for everyone, just as the brick-and-mortar college wasn't for me.
Difficulty - There seems to be a broad range in difficulty across the different classes. Some seemed exactly right for college level. Others, such as their science, seemed well below what I expected. The materials they provided for study were aimed at a much higher level than the actual exam (which mostly seemed geared towards middle school age group). Others, such as one of the writing courses, seem to set the bar really low in terms of the required passing score. Still, most classes provide an adequate challenge. It's only a few of the basics that I found to be on the easy side.
Pacing - Go at your own pace, with a catch. You are likely to find, as I did, that your mentor is very cautious about letting you add courses or start a semester with more than 12 hours or so. Between my mentor's hesitance and my lack of full understanding of the limits placed on students, I didn't get much done the first semester. If I had been allowed to make more decisions about my own course load, I may have been able to finish a semester sooner. Nevertheless, you'll still have way more freedom than you would at a brick-and-mortar school. If I remember right, only one course (the capstone) has a prerequisite. Everything else can be taken in whatever order you see fit.
Classes - Every course has an excellent Course of Study, which recommends, in detail, how to approach the material. In most cases, they also provide an estimated amount of time needed for the course. Of course, your background will probably affect the amount of time you use versus what they recommend. For example, the science class (which has been split up since I took it) recommended 13 weeks. I took the test with zero preparation time and made a 93. Conversely, I took longer for my networks class because I had absolutely no experience and barely squeaked by.
Interaction - I can't say a lot about this. Every class has its own online community so you can have discussions with fellow students, post questions, etc. I very rarely used this option, preferring to work on my own, but the option is there. You'll have a mentor call every two weeks. These calls can be helpful, or they can be tedious, depending on what's going on at the time. Other than getting my schedule done and adding courses along the way, I found them largely unnecessary. But, I'm the stubborn type who prefers to learn on his own.
Speed - WGU has excellent turnaround time for scores (both for homework and exams). Certification exam results, of course, are quick no matter where you go, but I had the results of the last basic class I took by the time I got to my car after the exam. That's a huge improvement over the 3-4 days results for basic classes took when I first started at WGU. As stated, I'm almost done with my degree. Total time to completion should be about 26 months. I only took 13 hours my first semester, 28 in my second, 45 in my third, 22 this semester, and my final 13 hours will start in September. And I managed to do this while working a 40 hour a week job.
Closing - For me, this is what really sets WGU apart from other schools. I could not have accomplished so much in so little time at a traditional school.
I'm about to complete my 2nd term at WGU and have been very pleased. I work full time and I HAVE to have a full time income. WGU allows me to do this without sacrificing time with my family or my job. There is absolutely no way I could get my degree without WGU.
I've read a lot of reviews concerning the testing. "Tests don't reflect the course of study". My response is this: IT'S COMPENTENCY BASED! If you have any critical thinking skills whatsoever, you will be just fine.
The cut scores on a lot of the assessments are 53%! The tests are designed not to simply test you on memorizing the course of study. Instead, they are designed to make you actually think about what you have learned while going through the course of study, and then apply it when choosing an answer to a question.
I would definitely recommend this school to anyone looking to earn a degree. Two terms in, I am very happy with the experience.
My experience at Western Governors University was mostly positive. Like with anything, there are always things that can be improved but the school sends out a survey that allows students the opportunity to make suggestions on how to better things and I saw improvement from these surveys.
I just graduated with my BS in Marketing Management and i am very happy with what I learned, how I was able to learn it and the cost per semester.
I would recommend WGU to anyone looking for a degree program that allows self paced learning at an affordable cost.
If you're a teacher, you know that the only real way to move up on the salary scale is to get a master's degree, and where you get your master's degree doesn't really matter, as long as it's from an accredited institution.
WGU fills the bill as well as any bricks-and-mortar university, and for a lot less money. No, it's not a life-changing educational experience, but I plenty of friends and colleagues who have done traditional master's degrees, and their programs weren't that great either. It's just another hoop you need to jump through.
This has not been a perfect experience by any measure. I've had way too many "right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing" experiences at WGU, probably because none of the people I deal with (course mentors, my own personal mentor, graders, etc.) actually work together.
I get the impression that they only lay eyes on each other once or twice a year, and they clearly don't spend a whole lot of time talking to each other on the phone or by email.
There's a lot of runaround--one person can tell you about this but not that, and the person who can tell you about that can't explain why another thing is happening, and nobody can tell you anything about why you didn't pass your assessment other than "go back to the course of study and review the reading."
For each course, there's a Course of Study with assignments to follow (many of which you never turn in, so if you can figure out which ones will actually be useful and which ones are busy work, you can save yourself a lot of time). There's also a set of required tasks in Taskstream, which is the work that actually gets graded, and I agree with other reviewers that the quality of the grading is hit-and-miss.
The Course of Study and the Taskstream assignments often don't align, probably because they're written by different people who didn't bother to talk to each other, so I have spent a fair amount of time trying to find out exactly what I'm supposed to do. Judging from the comments in the student communities, my experience is not uncommon.
Also, there's recently been a staff shake-up that seems to have resulted in lots of people being let go. In my case, my capstone chair is gone, which is unfortunate but would have been more of a problem if I'd been farther along in my research project and had to change chairs in the middle; one of my course mentors who was incapable of giving clear information is also gone, and good riddance!
This all sounds pretty negative, but I still recommend WGU for the master's in education program. It certainly hasn't been a perfect experience, but in the end, I will finish the program more quickly than I would at a traditional university, for a lot less money, and I've had a lot more flexibility than I would have had in a traditional program.
I had attended two years at WGU. My experience was horrible. My first mentor left and gave no goodbyes or reasons. My second mentor said the schools policies were not similiar to her own and she felt their intentions were not in the students best welfare.
I was ready to quit when I was reassigned a very nice mentor. She tried to help me get around the financial aide suspension, she felt it wasn't my fault with having two mentors and all. Anyway I was finally re-instated but- by the time that happened I lost semester time.
I was never able to recover, and I couldn't receive the help I needed. It is true they have tons of evaluators, if you submit something today and it fails wait a week and resubmit-I guarantee it will pass. Very one sided and bias school, do not waste your time or money..
After reading these unhappy reviews, I cannot help but think that my experience is completely contrary. Whereas people stated that the school is not interested in a student's success and that WGU is only interested in making money, let me say that they are wrong.
My mentor has been nothing but supportive, knowledgeable, and encouraged me to work. The thing with this school is that you get what you put in. If you are motivated and enjoy applying knowledge, rather than simply regurgitating it, this school is for you.
The fact of the matter is that to succeed, your level of committment will determine your success. By working hard, seeking out answers, and applying yourself, this program will be worthwhile. If you want someone to tell you what to write, and what to think this program is not for you.
I am nearly done with my MBA and will recommend this program to anyone that asks.
WGU isn't a traditional school. It has a unique model that fits a variety of lifestyles, but requires a great deal of self-motivation to succeed.
At its core, its a series of study guides (courses), a series of learning resources (books, videos, online text, etc), a mentor (counselor), and course mentors (course counselors), who guide you through a self taught, standardized degree plan.
Barriers to your education the school handily removes are the logistics of delivering an education to you (no classes to attend), and the finances to fund your education (through grants and loans).
You supply the rest. You can capitalize on your own learning style, your drive to succeed, and your previous knowledge.
My average time to study is about 30 hrs per class. I take a pre-test to see where I am at, study those things I don't know, and sit for an exam, write a paper, or complete a project to show mastery of the coursework. If I fail (I havn't yet) I get to learn from my mistakes and try again.
Many barriers cropped up once I started. I found I was not studying enough, that I didn't have a good learning space to study in, and thus my performance was sub par. I didn't get anything done in two months, and wasn't any closer to a degree than when I had started.
I realized what I would have to change to succeed here, determined what to change, and I've enacted those changes. I have a set study schedule, and I have been able to earn 30 credits in my first term, which isn't over yet. I should graduate with a Bachelors of Science in IT with a security in a bit less than two terms, if I can keep up the pace.
The downside is I only get a year of schooling this way. I feel a little like I'm getting ripped off for three years of living the life of a student. I'm considering completing two masters programs. The MBA and Masters in Information Assurance, to make up for it.
As for the structure of the school, they take my suggestions seriously. Every employee of the school is given raises and bonuses based on student enrollment, graduation rates, and student satisfaction surveys. They have financial incentives to help me succeed. My mentor is really good too.
I have found the grading to be hard and fair. The classes are pass/fail, the GPA is set at 3.0, and psycho-metricians determine what level of competency must be shown to constitute a "B" grade, while most of my upper level classes are passed by earning an industry certification.
The general-ed classes are a roughly 1/2 of the program, a few are easy, a few are hard. Some people truly struggle with subjects. Its not possible to pass with a low C in any subject. You "get it" or you don't progress.
The upper level classes in my degree program almost always result in a certification. Some of those are easy. They all require study. A+, Network+, Project+, CIW web design & database certs, Microsoft certs, and Cisco certs.
Ok... I reread my review and it didn't quite capture the experience. I study 5 hours a day in a coffee shop or a bar. I have a laptop, and I'm either a little wired or a little drunk. I choose my poison based on the subject at hand. I read about 60 pages a minute, and retain most of it... sometimes I listen to headphones.
I take a break about every 15-20 minutes to go talk to someone about something not school related at all. Its honestly an incredibly pleasant, easy experience, and it doesn't feel like I'm working at all. When I finish a class I reward myself with a piece of delicious cake. School is making me fat. And smart. It rocks.
I am finishing up my 3rd term at WGU. I love this university, although the courses are hard, they r very do able. No university is perfect. I would recommend this school to anyone you like to learn independently!
I already have an Associates degree in Human Service Management. When I went to enroll in this school after looking at my transcript (GPA 3.2) they were only going to credit me with 32 "units"
They said there was no way that they would accept my prior management classes or my writing classes.
Why would I (or you) waste your time repeating or paying for work you have already completed?
Things were going great with this school until I had to do a hands-on project, which would lead to my Master's thesis. I had to do it in a school or workplace, since my workplace would not allow it, i had to do it in a school. Well since I was not a teacher, schools were very hesistant to let me in and teachers were not really overly cooperative....so I didn't get the required response rate that I needed for WGU to count my project.
I thought perhaps my mentor could help, but she claimed she was restricted to give students any help in this area, and that she was merely a mentor. I posted on several educational websites and other areas to garner teachers' attention, but didn't get enough response, and unfortunately reached the time limit covered by financial aid and had to take a sabbatical.
I took all of my tests with WGU, but wasn't able to complete the hands-on work....so basically wasted 2 years and $20,000. A brick and mortar school would have been more help in getting you into a school to do a program required for you to complete your degree....WGU does not offer that type of help.
So unless you are a teacher already....they aren't much help. I am paying on a loan that I got ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for.