Columbia Southern University Reviews
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I graduated from CSU in mid-2012 w/ a B.S. in Information Technology w/ a 3.8GPA. I was able to transfer in 75% of the credits needed thanks to my A.A.S. degree completed at a community college, several IT certifications I had and a couple classes from a college attended years earlier. I know for a fact getting a B.S. in IT helped me get 2 different IT-related jobs since 2012 and helped me switch careers after the recession. CSU is a nationally accredited school, which means it is 100% legit and fully-recognized by the United States Government as a legitimate, reputable university. CSU has now been around for decades at this point. CSU's classes, expectations and class structure/workload is consistent and well-crafted for it being 100% online. The biggest selling point for me was the # of credits they transferred in, the low cost per credit ($200 when I went) and the take-classes-at-any-time approach vs. needing to work full-time and figure out how to attend a real, physical school Mon-Fri. I think schools like CSU are the future for people because a regular state school can charge $20k/annually for tuition+room & board and frankly, they guarantee no better job than anything else. I would recommend going to a community college to get years 1 & 2 from face-to-face learning, for even cheaper than this ($100-125/credit hour) and then for years 3-4 going to a school like CSU. And for people whining about accreditation and not being able to go beyond, that's hogwash. Regionally accredited schools like University of North Alabama offer Master's Degree programs (which again can be taken online) to CSU grads and don't penalize/look down on them at all. So you can get the best of both worlds. If I had any complaints, it's that, having gone to a 4-yr. school years ago, you get ONLY the education stuff and none of the college life stuff. Second, it feels isolating never meeting classmates or teachers, so it's equivalent to self-study. Third, I wouldn't recommend doing all 4 years at CSU - just do 1-2 years at most. I think 120 credits at CSU wouldn't be a wise decision - just transfer in what you can from elsewhere - they take just about anything relevant.
NOT REGIONALLY ACCREDITED!....which leaves a lot to be desired. I wasn't aware it wasn't accredited before attending it was only after I had completed majority of my courses that I found out. I should have checked but I assumed the school being highly recommended by the Education office and one of the top 10 universities being attended by veterans using their education benefits that it would be but it's not. I do have to accept some personal of the responsibility in that because it is up to the student to choose their school. The school seems not to want to answer questions regarding the accreditation outside of "we're working on getting regionally accredited and it's a long process." I have had multiple members of the faculty give me this answer verbatim. If you are looking to continue your education onto a masters degree or get a job with the degree outside of the government (which most times will take any degree from any school) it greatly limits your opportunities. I haven't heard of anyone graduating from here that went onto attend an accredited public university everyone continues with online private colleges with similar programs. Some of the professors are very helpful able work with you. I found that mostly I made the same grades regardless of the effort I put into my assignments with a few exceptions. It's good because it offers flexibility but I would say if you are serious about having a career or continuing your education do not attend here. They are good with getting your financial aid and other benefits set up to attend. The student advisors leave a lot to be desired. My advisor would always recommend classes I had already completed so I only contacted them when I had a questions outside of my degree progression. I would say the biggest issue is the accreditation because you spend all that time and money to come out with a useless degree that no one accepts especially if it is in a filed where you need to continue your education to be able to use your degree as mine is but other than that it isn't a bad school. If they fix the accreditation issue I would recommend it to others.
Great 1st semester...the professors will help and will work with you. Only thing...have to make sure you schedule the final and a proctor...if not you will get an F. I like the school and plan on finishing my MBA. I can do this and still work as a busy Director of Operations for a restaurant group... Go Knights!!!
Great school for working adults, great price, Great feedback from counselor, I had gotten behind on one of my classes, I received a call out of the blue from my counselor encouraging me, made sure I was in touch with my professor, and offered to assist in any way he could. (Thank You). Price is Right, Some college professors are delayed with a response but I found if I send a request or response to them in the "Ask the Professor" they generally get right back to you. Overall I am very satisfied with my level of education received. It has definitely prepared me for my advanced career.
I ended up switching to another school. Reason I chose CSU, cheap tuition, books included, work at your own pace. Reasons I left CSU: Student advisor is a waste of time, if I asked her for something she would refer me to a link. Professors, disengaged, take forever to respond to emails, takes for ever to grade papers, no feedback on work submitted, syllabus unclear and obviously cut and pasted for every class, grading not accurate to rubic, submitting papers half the time was easy, other half was a mouse maze of links. Also the advertised special pricing discount for military but never applied it or refunded me for the over price. Some of the books are really e-books and I personally don't like e-books. Book shipping is unpredictable. It took weeks before the even shipped them, you'll have to schedule your classes around the book shipping department and not the other way around.
At first I thought it was a really good school, and then I got accused of plagiarism. They failed 3 courses of mine, which I worked my butt off to get A's in. When I tried to fight it they told me that I used a homework help site that I never even heard of. Unbelievable! I would not recommend this school to anybody.
The tuition costs were what brought me to CSU. It had VERY affordable tuition and books were included. It offered a generous credit transfer policy and a very supportive student services team. I did, however, find out that the program was not very academically challenging especially for a Masters degree program. My biggest complaint, and I knew this when I enrolled, was that it IS NOT REGIONALLY ACCREDITED. I didn't think this would be a major deal breaker but I found out after graduating, the importance of having a regionally accredited degree. I basically had to enroll in another Masters program after graduating so that I could earn a degree that was regionally accredited. So the bottom line for me is, if you need a degree that isn't regionally accredited, then Columbia Southern might be the school for you. If you need one that is regionally accredited, it is not the school for you.
Prior to CSU I attended University of Phoenix.. I was amazed that CSU accepted/transferred nearly all of my other college credits into their program. The course work in the OHS program, is a lot of reading, writing and a good amount of time spent on research. Say what you want about "on-line" schools but I have attended several brick and mortar colleges over the years and this course work has been far more challenging. My Professors were all first rate and many are subject expert matter within OSH field as well as CSU. My Academic Adviser Mr. David Emond was wonderful, and along with my professor's challenge me to strive for better academically whenever i started to get behind in class. Proud CSU Alum Go Knights!!!
There are many, many choice of online education providers. Having said that, this institution may not be for you and here's why. Many of the professors have no idea about the course curriculum. I have called several professors during their office hours to discuss the unit topics. Not once did I receive anything in the way of direction, insight or even a glimmer of knowledge. I wasn't looking for an answer, just clarification. One Fire Science professor I called was intoxicated and couldn't even discuss the topic. He wanted to know about my life goals and offered loan forgiveness advice that wasn't applicable. Another Criminal Justice professor wanted to brag about being a court expert and published. Again, he offered his resume and not clarification on the subject at hand. The academic advisers are some of the worst available. They will offer classes that do not correspond to your degree action plan, return emails/calls in a few days and are generally not helpful. You actually need to take charge of your own degree program and tell the advisers that you will be taking certain classes and in the order of your choosing, otherwise they will enroll you in classes that will not count and you will have to pay for them. Overall experience, not impressive. I went on to earn my Master's from another institution.
I would like to let anyone considering online education know that Columbia Southern University is an exceptional value for pursuing higher education. My experience has been nothing less than outstanding. I utilized several transfer credits to complete the Bachelor in Environmental Management. I continued on to the MBA for Project Management. However, I did change my degree program to the Masters in Occupational Health/Environmental Management. I just recently secured a new job, and the latter was more fitting for my new position. My student advisor smoothly transitioned the program for me, and I continued on once the new eight week term began. The administrative staff is very helpful, particularly with financial aid. They process financial aid paperwork promptly, and I never experienced any issues with tuition being applied, or delays with payment of stipends. The cost per credit hour is extremely competitive, undergraduate being $210 and graduate is $275. There are also tuition discounts offered for military and learning partners. Textbooks are included with the courses, for both undergraduate and graduate courses. You will not find this offered anywhere else, at least not that I am aware of. CSU has just begun pilot program where e-books are being offered in some courses, as opposed to shipping hard copy textbooks. Of course, you could still buy the traditional textbook if you want. In addition to the assigned coursework, you are required to participate in weekly discussions on what is called the Blackboard. The professor will post a question, and you post your reply. You are also required to respond to at least one other person's post. Most of the time, I responded to several people. This really helped establish a connection with the professor was well as other persons taking the class. It can also help if it happens to be a topic you might be having a little difficulty with. The instructors are very friendly and you can ask a question outside of class any time you need help. The coursework is challenging, but this is college level work. It can be completed if you work your assignments diligently each week. Courses that have a final exam are usually open book, but do not let that fool you. The finals are not just sets if questions you look up the answers to. They are designed to see how well you comprehend the material, as well as practice for strengthening research and writing skills. CSU also utilizes a tool called Safe Assign, which is used by many other online schools to detect plagiarism. Do not attempt to copy and paste anything from the web for an "easy" grade. You can end up failing the course, or even be expelled for plagiarizing. Each student has a dashboard that shows courses and weekly progress. Each time an assignment came due, I received an email reminder. I thought this was very courteous, considering independent students typically do not receive this type of support. I also received emails for when my books shipped for the following term. Each student is also assigned an academic advisor you can email when you have a question about your account. This was reinforcement to me that CSU is committed to helping students succeed. The only thing I could say that I did not care for is that new assignments are posted each Wednesday, as opposed to being available at the beginning of each week. Other than that, the experience offered at Columbia Southern University is accredited, affordable, and has exceeded my expectations for my education goals.