Northcentral University Reviews
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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.
You are definitely teaching yourself. I expected Skype class sessions, but it's not the worst. If I need help with an assignment, all I have to do is email my professor, and they will set up a Skype session with me. They've even let me re-submit assignments for a chance at a higher grade. Dr. West, really took the time to explain concepts to me, and Dr. Ribadu is great as well. I'm only in my 4th class, but I have not felt like I'm in a "For profit school". I would like to believe that they have truly come a long way from their inception and are not accredited with the AAMFT. I can pay my tuition in installments and choose the amount for each payment. I found out that later on in the programme, I will have Skype class sessions that meet once per week, so that satisfies everything for me. My only wish is that they weren't purely an online based school. I would like to have had the option to physically go in to a campus if I wanted to/was able to. There's a student association for MFT students and they're a great support system. I haven't had any problems with my advisor. She's cleared up all of my issues with graduation dates and how the programme works. I would definitely give it a try if you're looking for an accredited online programme for MFT, because there aren't many to choose from.
I am currently in the dissertation phase of my program. I have a wonderful mentor that is makes relevant comments that improve my work. Throughout the coursework phase of my program I was also paired up with wonderful instructors that really knew their stuff. There was one exception of a professor going AWOL but my advisor and the university were very quick to resolve the issue by finding another instructor to take over where I was so I didn't have to repeat anything. I do hear many complaints, but when you dig deeper most of them are related to students not doing what they are supposed to rather than the university being at fault. That's not to say the university doesn't have issues - every single university on the planet does. I love this school though and am looking forward to completing my degree. Always remember - those that are unhappy are always the loudest.
The process goes south real quick starting with the comps and continues into the dissertation sequence. The requirements are up to each individual chair, not the Graduate School, and they call this process normal. Luck of the draw in terms of chair assignment plays a huge role. Looking back at this, I would not have enrolled with NCU.
Simply put: NCU has been trying to increase there quality but the mentors and reviewers they have over the dissertation process should have never received their degrees. I had ONE mentor/reviewer that understood my thesis which was based on a theory used over 700 times in literature. They all seem to focus on punctuation and spelling, telling you they have no idea how to synthesize what your saying. Each time I submitted a paper, I could not believe the comments and the questions I'd get back. WOW. Stay away, you'll spend less at a more expensive school.
I wish I first checked the reviews before enrolling at Northcentral University. I was badgered almost daily with telephone calls trying to convince me to enroll until I finally did. NCU's relentless emphasis on its integrity and ethics should have raised a flag. Nine months worth of online courses proved NCU has neither. I withdrew and found a reputable institution to learn from instead.
This school was excellent, I hit the ground running and in three years I completed my PhD. If you are looking for a school that holds your hand and does your work for you, or where you pay the fee and get the "B", then this is not your school! I have read many of the post, and do not think it is the school to blame. If you are highly motivated and good, you will graduate. Nobody said it would be easy!