Kaplan University Reviews - Bachelor's in Communications
Review of Communications Bachelors Degrees
My experience with Kaplan Online University was great! I am old school and they held my hand every step of the way. They accepted a lot of my credits from my community college, gave me a scholarship because of my GPA, and yes I graduated with honors in Miami Florida!!!! I learned a lot, kept all of my books and ebooks which are helping me tremendously today. I never had one ounce of problem with my financial aid or obtaining any classes. It was smooth sailing all the way to Miami.
I really wanted to put out an accurate perspective on Kaplan as many people think Kaplan is a scam. It is true that the school has had legal difficulties in the past, and that can leave a bad taste in the mouth for some. Another poster mentioned that the classes are all the same, in the communications program this has been true thus far. I have taken 2 major classes and both have covered the exact same materials. The Intro course is rather boring as it focuses mainly on the workplace as opposed to real life skills. Kaplan students tend to be older so I it is a safe assumption that most know how to dress and act during an interview. My biggest pet peeve as far as coursework goes are the 2 English Composition core courses. Comp 1 uses the KU writing guide which covers things like how to structure a paragraph and APA, while does not cover things like grammar or punctuation. Comp 2 (I am taking now) links to podcasts and articles to the KU writing center and "Ted Talks" videos. I had hoped that these classes would focus more on the mechanics of writing as opposed to learning how to create an outline or draft. The Professors I have had have been fair (my GPA is 3.75) and have been very helpful when I had questions or concerns. I have not had too many problems with financial aid however I have heard from others who have attended Kent State and other B&M schools FA is always a nightmare. They tend to put off sending out stipends as long as they possibly can (at least in my case) and only sending a check as opposed to direct deposit is a bit "old school". The advisers are great and will help you if you can actually catch them. However I am not a fan of the policy that has recently gone into effect that a student must follow a specific sequence of their degree plan. I understand the reasoning behind this but I really would have preferred to finish the core requirements before getting too far into the program. Another "complaint" I have is that many students do not use Standard American English, and post dbs in "text talk". This can be extremely difficult to respond to. Lastly, the school is extremely expensive. I have read many reviews where folks got into the last few terms and were not able to finish due to maxing out student loans. This is very possible and a major concern for anyone who does not have a nest egg or family to fall back on for support. With the recent news of Pell grant funding being cut by 303 mil (about 1k per student per year if it stands) I did quite a bit of number crunching and realized that I will not be able to finish as I will have maxed out my loans by the last two terms and I do qualify for the max that the government offers. Because of this I have decided to leave Kaplan and pursue an online degree at a less expensive nonprofit school. Having said all that, I do believe that Kaplan is a good school that has a lot of potential. The Professors are in general great, the coursework can be a bit repetitive but most of us learn by repetition. The live lectures can be great or overwhelming depending on how busy you are in your own life. The students are just like people everywhere, some are awesome people and some suck. My advice would be to do your homework and research all of your options before committing to anything. Make sure to figure out the complete costs of your program including the $200 technology fee per term to ensure you will have enough money to complete whatever degree you are pursuing.
Kaplan allowed me the flexibility I needed to be able to complete my degree while continuing to work full-time. They allowed me to transfer almost two years worth of previous credit from two previous colleges I had attended which allowed me to complete my degree at Kaplan in 15 months on an accelerated track. My employer also had Kaplan listed as a preferred institution which enabled me to a 14% discount per credit hour. This worked out to be a significant savings as I was a cash student (I refuse to take student loans and the let lenders and the government bleed me dry). I did find that professors had a tendency to not always be aligned with APA formatting rules. One instructors would mark down for not following a specific aspect of APA formatting while another instructor would not mark down for the same rule. This would become frustrating as you never truly felt like you were calibrated to what each professor wanted in APA formatting to avoid potential markdowns in grading. That is something the school definitely needs to work with their faculty on to ensure a universal and uniform application of APA formatting rules across all classes. The quality of the instructors was normally average to above average. There were only 1-2 professors in my time at Kaplan that I was "impressed" with when it came to their knowledge and insight. However, the rest of the professors were knowledgeable enough to be able to lead the class. I also never had issues with delayed responses when seeking assistance from professors. For the most part the instructors were engaging, friendly and qualified. Kaplan allowed me to do what I was seeking to do: close the one glaring hole on my resume. I would recommend Kaplan for others. But you should know upfront that this is a "for-profit" school and Kaplan does not have the pedigree or reputation that is going to impress prospective employers when they review your resume. However, a degree from Kaplan is still going to be 1000x more beneficial to your career than no degree at all.
Great school, always willing to help, very flexible. Good value for the cost. Quality of course work is adequate. I feel appropriately challenged in my course work. I like the online format, the campus portal is easy to use and most instructors are knowledgeable and offer real world experience.
Since 2008, I have been a online student at University of Phoenix, Ashford University, and Kaplan University. Kaplan offered the most challenge academically, and had a better platform in comparison to the other two. University of Phoenix and Ashford was an easy A, that took me through fly by courses. I actually don't remember anything I learned there. Here are things that I really liked at Kaplan:
WEEKLY SEMINARS- I liked the real-time interaction with the instructor and other students. It gave me the opportunity to probe for clarity.
ENGAGING INSTRUCTORS- In all of my classes, except one, my professors delve into deep conversations about the topics and challenged students to critically think. Many used real-life scenarios to explain theories, rules, etc, in order to demonstrate how the learning material can be applied.
PROJECTS- I had a lot of projects that required me to step away from my computer, and glean information from my local community. Others, allowed the opportunity to collaborate with other students. With this, we used free online conferencing tools to hold meetings.
FEEDBACK- Many of my instructors gave real feedback on assignments, and guided me on how to improve, rather than just give a grade.What really made me give this a good rating was the level of communication between the instructors and I. They were always ready and willing to talk beyond the scheduled classroom hours.
Their career placement services isn't much for me. I have only spoken to my assigned representative once by phone, within the last 3 months. It's hard to catch up with each other. We have communicated via email, and she has provided links to various websites to do career research. However, all those listed, I had already found on my own. The area I live in, isn't booming with the type of jobs I was pursuing. I do like that my career counselor encourage me to be open to consider relocating. It allowed me to see the opportunities else where, and my husband and I are in serious discussion about making a leap.
I don't have complaints with Financial Aid. I never had to talk to them by phone. Everything was email. I never had any problems with processing documents, and timing.
There are a lot of resources available online. You have to be self-driven to make use of all the resources. I have particpated in the webinars, used the library extensively to read beyond the academic literature, and found useful links to resources that helped me enhance my knowledge base, in order to promote myself at my current job.