Northcentral University Reviews
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Coursework is okay until you get to the disseratation stage. The school constantly makes changes so it is easy to lose sight of what policies are in effect. They do not grandfather in changes in their own programs.If you have problems, there is lots of red tape to get them resolved, if resolution really takes place. NCU is not really accountable to anyone. Tuition has nearly doubled in five years and you really teach yourself. I frankly do not trust anyone at the school. They have a first milestone for the dissertation called a "concept paper." Most schools do not have this, but if they do it is around 10 pages. At NCU it might be 60 pages or more and you can spend years working on this. I frankly do not think much of the school but once you get past taking a couple classes it is too late to turn about without taking a great loss.
The WORST experience ever, and I'm an educator! The courses aren't too bad...some fairly easy, some harder but in classes like stats, being an island is tough. The Ph.D. "mentors" or dissertation "chairs" are a joke for the most part. They have 3 weeks to return anything and often took a month or more, so you end up extending your program by months and months...more money for them, less for you. My Mentor never, in 2 years of working on the dissertation sent me an e-mail that wasn't replete with spelling and grammar errors, never seemed to know what I was talking about with statistical analysis, and when she wouldn't reply to something and I'd finally get a hold of her she'll tell me she needed a nap, or would do it after she took a nap. Apparently she often forgot to get up again. REALLY? If I weren't so vested in their stupid program I would have dropped it a long time ago. The mentors and chairs don't respond well to complaints however, and you'll never get through the program if you do. Best course of action is keep your mouth shut, pay and pay and pay your money, get out of there and THEN write the accrediting agency. Better yet...don't go there to begin with.
Before reading my review, realize that I was doing well in their program. I took three classes with NCU and had a 3.8 GPA in their PhD of BA program. I decided to leave the school for the reasons below. To put it bluntly, NCU is a scam. The classes are nothing more than busy work and hardly on a graduate level. The assignments you're required to turn in each week can be nearly devoid of useful content, just as long as they're in proper APA format and you cite the required number of references. I don't think the instructors actually read anything I turned in, because the feedback I received was 99% about the paper's format and 1 % on the content. But if the paper I turned in was in good format, cited the minimum number of references and met the minimum length I was given a good grade, regardless of the mindless drivel contained within. To pass the classes I quickly learned to take a simple answer to a simple question and drag it out four 5 - 7 pages while quoting a few loosely related articles from academic journals. If this is what passes for higher education these days, then I think I'll stop at my master's degree. My "academic advisor" was a salesman, and a bad one at that. When I tried to address my concerns about the content and the focus of the courses he tried to convince me to stick it out for another year or two until I got to the point where the "real learning" would begin. Additionally, he was completely unaware of what course I was in, or even what level the course was on. When I called him out on it, he tried, again, to convince me to stick around longer and keep paying. It was not only a useless conversation, but one of the worst examples of bad salesmanship I've ever experienced, to include used car dealers. Additionally, the required textbooks for each class can only be bought from NCU's bookstore. Not even Amazon carried them. On top of that, they charged $200 for a used textbook for one class. I can only imagine how much profit they're raking in from book sales alone. On top of that their tuition rates are the highest of anything out there, nearly $3000 a class. You would think for that kind of money they'd run a quality institution of higher learning. NCU's education model is to make the students' turn in papers weekly, but the constant work is just a method of keeping the students' heads down and keeping them too busy to realize that they're not really learning anything. To put it bluntly, don't waste your time. A degree from NCU is completely worthless. I'm not sure who they bribed to get accredited, but it must have been a hefty amount of cash. If your goal is to waste thousands and thousands of dollars learning nothing more than how to write in APA format, then this is the school for you. If you want an actual education, I highly recommend going somewhere else.
I am just over the half way point in my doctoral journey and I am please so far. The instructors have been giving me great feedback to help me prepare for the Comprehensive Exam and the writing of my dissertation. There is a lot of work required, but this is also a doctorate program. Everyone has been pretty responsive when I have had questions which I greatly appreciate. I am looking forward to completing my DBA at this institution.
I have been in this program for 5 years now and have invested over $50,000 toward my advanced education. I have never received below a B during the entire program and have held a 3.66 GPA. I have completed all of the elective courses and have moved into taking the “comprehensive exam” which is known as the exit exam before you start the dissertation process. I took the comprehensive exam in April 2014 and unfortunately did not pass. After signing up to re-take the exam again ($2500) I contacted the instructor for detailed suggestions on what I need to do differently the 2nd time around in order to pass the exam. The instructor provided me with detailed suggestions on ways to improve the required paper and increase my score. After re-signing up to take the exam I was assigned the same instructor that I had the 1st time. I completed the project the 2nd time (73 pages total) and submitted it. Not only did the instructor fail me a 2nd time but the Universality has now completely dismissed me from the program completely stating that it is their policy that if you fail the comprehensive exam twice, you are completely removed from the program. I feel that I followed the instructor’s suggestions to a T and he gave me a score of 50% which is conveniently the same score he gave me the 1st time that I took the exam. I filed a grade appeal with the dean who dismissed/denied and stated all he could offer was a 2nd Masters degree but I will remain dismissed from the program. How is it that someone who has worked at an educational program for 5 years and NEVER penalized but kicked out and basically told “sorry nothing we can do”? “Opps you are less than a year from holding a phd but you are done now”? Or how is it that 1 single instructor can have the power to control a student’s entire academic career? This University has completely ruined any chance I have at completing my phd. How is this fair? For failing an exam twice that the student has voiced to multiple people she feels the instructor is unreasonable and unfair. Who can afford to invest financially 5 years of doctoral classes to just be at a loss at the end? I feel this is a scam going on and nobody at the University will hear me. I need someone to help fight for me. We encourage people to get higher education but how is it fair that a student tries and the University is the one that violates the ability to succeed. I have asked to allow another instructor to grade the paper and voiced that I feel it is unreasonable that 1 single person has that power to dictate someone’s future like this. If the decision to dismiss a student who is 5 years involved has to occur, then a board of professional staff needs to be involved in making this type of life changing decision. Not left to the hands of 1 instructor who clearly does not have the best interest of the student at heart. I feel completely bullied and treated unfairly yet left to pay for 5 years of doctoral student loans and never will receive the degree even though I’m begging to let me finish. On 8/14/2014 I received an email from financial aid stating that I now owe the University $2200 for the course. Please do not even consider this school. It is a complete scam. You may contact me at 618-789-1820 if you have any questions. This could completely ruin your future career.
I worked for 4 years on a doctorate with straight A's. Dad got sick,so left for 10 months. Accepted back with 5 added courses to my degree program. I worked for 3 more years nonstop but they would not stop the clock of 7 years for degree. They knew I could not finish in time but let me back in and accepted $40,000 of my Fed Student Loans. Threw me out at 7 years with the 4th dissertation course half-complete. There are so many disgruntled student out there like this with huge debts and no diplomas from this school. The School was purchased by Quicken Loans and is now a For-Profit school that is raking in money and cares nothing for the students. Stay away. Go to Walden or Capella or Nova Southeastern for a PhD.
It took me 2.5 years to get my masters degree at NCU while working full time and raising family with two little kids. Although I would prefer traditional in-person education, given the circumstances, I was very pleased with the overall experience. You have to be disciplined, self-motivated and stay on top of the assignments to get through the program. To succeed, you need to have a passion for the subject you study and then the research work and a lot of writing you are required to do will come natural to you. I am very pleased with my experience at NCU.
Online education was a last resort for me because of life circumstances that included moving. I would never suggest getting a MA degree online in the field of mental health or counseling. For what it is, NCU is adequate for meeting my goals, just not optimal. Consider the difference in a school that helps you find a placement for your internship or practicum and one that does not. NCU does not. Consider the difference in being amidst the support of a cohort and talking through concepts and feeling isolated. Rather than receiving papers highlighting concepts, most often are highlights of grammatical errors. That said, my writing has improved. As well, each professor is different. If you connect with a professor who you can trust their feedback and you believe has your best interest at heart, I highly recommend staying in contact and build a rapport, despite the unlikelihood of ever getting them again. You will need them as a reputable reference. Try to meet regardless of whether opportunities to skype become available. Do not depend on your advisor as it seems they are merely office workers in a for-profit center. You must be self-disciplined and self-motivated. Otherwise, don't blame the school. It isn't perfect, but there are ways of making it work if you want to achieve your goals despite your situation.
I applied and was accepted to two traditional brick and mortar universities right out of undergrad and I chose to attend NCU instead because I could do the work around my full time job and the cost was much lower than either of the other schools I considered. I am a very independent learner and have no problem completing the assignments on time and find the assignments clear and the course materials very helpful for every assignment. I have 3 classes left before I finish my master's degree in health psychology. I have been very please with my academic advisers as well. I have had three of them in the last year that I have been taking classes but each of them were very helpful and responsive. A lot of the bad reviews I have read seem to focus on the cost, unfair grades, or bad mentors. The cost is very reasonable compared to most universities, both online and traditional. It is not only normal for tuition to increase each year, but expected. This happens everywhere. I have only had one bad mentor experience, but I just kept in contact with my adviser and gave the mentor exactly what she requested in the feedback and comments. I would say that NCU requires more work than a traditional university each week because you are required to produce something every week to show your understanding of the material instead of simply showing up and having a discussion or completing three assignments over the course of a semester. I will say that the mentor is not a professor. They are there for questions regarding the assignment and to assess your knowledge of a given topic. They are not there to present the material to you each week. I would not recommend NCU to anyone who has trouble learning on their own or who is not familiar with word processing and presentations. For me, this was exactly what I was looking for.
I head to commencement next weekend. I completed in about 4.5 years, only two months off my original goal. With the exception of one instructor (and the school resolved the issues), I had an outstanding experience. It was a rigorous program with a strong emphasis on writing and research. However, if you are not focused and self-motivated, no online program is going to work for you.