Baker College Online Reviews - Computer Science Bachelors
Review of Computer Science Bachelors Degrees
I am finally graduating after 5 years at Baker. I have a previous bachelor's so my experience here is compared to that and may not be the same for everyone. Transfer credits - I saw some complaints about this. Not sure if things have changed since 2010 but Baker fully honored 100% of my relevant classes from my previous degree. It may depend on what institution you are coming from (I had graduated from a different Michigan school) but it worked out well for me. The material - It was really hit or miss, depending on the class. Some classes, specifically the core computer science ones, were very good and had challenging material. I have several good friends who are CS majors and they all said what I was learning was on par with what they'd expect for a BCS. This was a concern for me when I originally decided to attend because I didn't want to get a joke degree. That being said, some classes simply did challenge me enough. The database classes in particular I wish were 1-2 weeks longer. I felt we were just getting a good hold on the content and then the class was over. The electives, particularly for my interests (programming, algorithms, databases/structures) were very sparse but I did feel the ones I took were actually worth taking. Every class I took I was glad to have taken it afterward. The instructors - I feel this is where this school really falls short. I had some very good, engaging professors but I also had some that just didn't devote any time to their students. I had one class where it would take 6-7 days for a question to be answered. That is just simply unacceptable for an online environment. As someone else noted in their review, some professors with PhD's would know less than the students. I came across this once or twice, where the professor would be pushing some outdated concept or program, but it was only for one topic. Contrasting from my old degree, I don't think this is that unheard of. Plus, knowing multiple ways to do things is always a plus. Participation - Ugh, the WORST part of this whole experience is trying to find something to say 5 days a week. Some classes it was a breeze but others I really struggled with trying to come up with decent content to discuss. A few classes I just resorted to asking really dumb questions just to get a conversation started. However, participation did offer a great points buffer for those classes where you had zero instructor input which resulted in a lower grade than you may have deserved. Overall - My takeaway from all this is actually fairly positive. I had many times where I was frustrated and the online environment made it difficult to resolve any questions but I got through it. The biggest thing to consider is that you are basically teaching yourself 95% of what you are learning. That means that things won't always be a breeze and you actually have to put in some work. This whole experience has taught me to be much more disciplined and also eager to learn more. I currently have a career in a different field so I am unsure about how this degree from Baker will impact that but it has helped me a lot at work. I am hoping to pursue a master's degree in CS this fall (not at Baker) so that will be the real test of how well this one prepared me. In conclusion, it was a great learning experience and I would recommend the school to working professionals who want a career change in the future.
I think the college is fine if you are in Michigan but if you are in a different area, their degree won't do much for you. Employers tend to look at not only your degree but where you got it. There are also issues with what employers want as far as skill and the classes they offer. Of course I went to grad school after and compounded the issue. I had a 3.95 at Baker and 4.0 in grad school and didn't feel prepared to do much.
I got my associates degree from a reputable university. I started attending Baker Online in 2008 going full and part time and taking a couple of long breaks, but finally finished in 2014. I wish Baker would have transferred more of my classes prom my previous school, but I understand their hands are tied based upon their accreditation. I loved the flexibility, but if you are not good at studying and learning on your own, do not take online classes. They are very time consuming and more dedication is required versus traditional campus classes. I learned a lot and my BaCS helped me land a good paying software engineering position with a Fortune 500 tech company in California. If you can attend a traditional university, I would suggest that option first. But if you are older and need a degree for advancement and the traditional route is not an option for you, I highly recommend Baker Online. It will be hard, but stick it out and study hard and you will succeed. I graduated with a 3.86 GPA due to some stupid core classes that I got a C or B in otherwise I would have had a 4.0 GPA. In a traditional setting, this would have been closer to a 3.7-3.8. Without Baker College I would not be where I am today working in my dream job.
The experience at Baker in the Computer Science program leans towards degree mill quality. The "instruction" entails mostly nothing more than reading a book, and the books are of varying quality. The book I am currently reading on web technologies is 7-8 years old, which is ancient for this subject. I don't mind reading a book to learn, but I was expecting more for $900 a course. The course materials are often disjointed, with the assignments having nothing to do with book, and the discussions having little to do with either. Some of the classes haven't been on the same subject as the name implies, such as "Introduction to Computer Science" being about how businesses use computers - nothing about Alan Turing here. Most of the time the "instructors" do little to nothing, and could be replaced by an automated bot that occasionally posts a conversation starter on the discussion board. While you are required to post 10 posts a week, most of the posts by other students are of far lower quality than what you could find in 3 seconds on stackoverflow. Much of the time the conversations are chatty and don't help you learn anything about the subject. It is seems like it would be quite possible to get a degree from here without really having much knowledge or expertise on the subject. Just posting drivel on the discussion board and turning in assignments that don't really test your knowledge is enough.
It is unfortunate to read some of the negative reviews because my experience at Baker College has been nothing but positive. Of course, there is the exception with some instructors who clearly care only about a paycheck, but most are helpful and enthusiastic about teaching. This is no different than any other institution. Many of the instructors have a Masters, while some have a Ph.D. I have never had an instructor who had any less. Not to mention, every one of them were very skilled in their subject and have held impressive professions prior to or alongside to teaching at Baker.
This institution offers the fundamental tools to become successful, but it is up to the student to put forth the effort. The online programs are accelerated and can be extremely demanding which include several essays, projects, quizzes and participation (for attendance) that involve 2 substantial posts, 5 days out of the week. If you are willing to put forth the effort, you will do well. If you are looking for an easy route, this is not the school for you.
As far as tuition, I have priced out many other institutions and had found Baker to be extremely reasonable. While many institutions (large universities)charge $500/credit hour or more, Baker charges $230/credit hour as of the writing of this review. And no, Baker does not make you buy the books through their bookstore, although they encourage it. A slight downfall is that the administrative staff have yet to be desired, and this is only because they seem very uninformed. I have talked to some of the staff (with the exception of the advisers) who seemed very clueless as to how they should answer my question.
A slight change in subject, I had read someone giving a bad review because an internship was part of her program!! Newsflash: An internship is a great way to get a job, especially if you have no relevant experience! In any event, this is a great example of a reviewer who rated Baker poorly because they did not want to put forth the effort.
WHERE HAS BAKER GOTTEN ME? I am a Computer Science major and am projected to complete the program in 2014. With the help of the tools and skills that Baker has provided, I was able to obtain an internship in the IT department of a major automaker. Not to mention, I have been acknowledged by a major computer manufacturer to whom I am currently interviewing with as we speak for a position as an entry-level applications developer.
During my internship, I have noticed that I had applied my learned skills through each of my core classes and was able to apply them throughout all of my tasks. In other words, I did not go into my internship blindingly, and was already familiar with everything that was brought to the table because of the curriculum at Baker.
Overall, Baker is not for everyone but in my opinion, it is a fantastic school.
I've had great experience with Baker College (online). All the instructors are top-notch and have very impressive resumes that relate to the class they teach. The course of study is difficult and expedient, which requires the online student to be very organized, diligent, and structured.
I often compare my homework with friends in more prestigious on-campus universities and they are surprised to learn that my work is much harder and more demanding. I'd suggest Baker College to anyone who is willing to put in a lot of effort. This surely isn't a degree mill.