Northcentral University Reviews
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I am currently enrolled at NCU. I am currently in my 7th course, one year in to the degree. Up to now my experience has been positive. Enrolling was easy. Very friendly personnel helped me to start, we set up a phone call and I was shown step by step how to deal with the web site, submitting assignments, etc. My first course, which was sort of a "welcome to doctoral studies" type of thing was very good and I had a very nice mentor.
It is for self motivated people. You have to do things on your own but your mentor is there to answer your questions and provide guidance if needed. Some students may have more interaction than others. Some mentors are more involved than others and provide more extensive comments than others. But this is normal in any kind of learning experience. My bachelors and masters degree from a traditional and highly regarded university was also an "on my own" experience. Traditional universities don't guarantee hands-on and willing to teach professors.
My experience with NCU has been very good up to now both administratively and academically.
I believe the organization is not operating with integrity or following their own policies. I have been enrolled in the Ph.D. Program since 2008 and it seems that once a student is almost near completion of the Doctoral program problems occur which either prevent them from graduating or cause them to drop out of the program for fear of retaliation by the University and the Mentors. I do not believe the University is acting within good faith because if a student files a grievance, a concern, or a complaint the school sides with the Mentor even though the student compiles documentation to merit their complaints. There seems to be accreditation issues at Northcentral and multiple students have complained to various agencies, however, Northcentral will not change their unethical behavior towards students. Northcentral should have their accreditation revoked due to the high number of complaints the University receives, the unethical behavior they display toward their students, and their failure to adhere to their own policies and procedures.
I believe the Higher Learning Commission should look closer into the practices and behavior of Northcentral in order to fully grasp why the University has a high student turnover rate and why so few students graduate from the Doctoral programs. I have attended and graduated from other Universities that were accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and I have never attended a University as unethical or with as many problems as Northcentral University. Nor have I seen a University which was accredited by the Higher Learning Commission have so many negative reviews from its students.
It seems that with all the students negatively complaining about Northcentral University a governing body needs to take a closer look into the schools actions and unethical treatment of their students.
Until NCU finishes hiring enough full-time chairs, think twice before starting one of their doctorate programs. Depending on the chair they assign you...you are on your own and no one seems to care. Do not make the mistake I did and fall for the 1:1 marketing. You are truly on your own. In retrospect, I should have paid more attention to the negative reviews ;( They are well deserved.
I am a doctoral student and was suppose to finish 2012. I have ethical issues with them as in 2010 they required students to start paying dissertation fees with general coursework. Then a couple months later, they designed a "full pay" comprehensive program.
A student can complete classes quickly, but when you get to the dissertation stage, you really do not know what is happening. You are ASSIGNED a full time chairperson who has the total authority to decide if your concept paper (not dissertation proposal) is ready to be submitted to the Grad School for approval. There is no continuity between what is written or what is expected once you get to the dissertation stage. Though they claim flexibility, there is little in class choices. You have no options regarding your dissertation chair or team and they generally will not let you change. They state that everything they do is in the best interest of the student, which is not true.
The school is motivated by money and not student interest. The faculty turnover is great and there are few ways for students to contact each other and no continuity. The mentors (instructors) generally only correct papers, so you teach yourself. Had I known, I would have chosen another school or none at all.
I enrolled at NCU in 2007 for the PhD in Business Administration. At first I loved it...100% online, no residency, and tuition was low. I only needed 51 credit hours to finish the PhD, including the dissertation.
5 years later, I had to withdraw from the school. I had finished the Comps exam, received my "ABD" letter, and even finished the first 2 dissertation-specific courses with a 3.9 GPA. Why did I quit?
1. Too many changes in the school policies. For example, originally it was my responsibility to choose my next course, choose my start date for it, and request my academic advisor to enroll me in it. They nixed that...the school chooses your course path and they automatically enroll you in your next course on the date they choose 2 weeks before your current course ends. Originally you could take 30 days between courses...not any more though. Originally you could take a leave of absence for personal reasons...not any more. Originally you could submit your assignments on any day you chose, as long as you got them all done in order and before the course ended; but now every assignment has a fixed due date. These and many more policy changes have rendered the school NOT flexible. They blame all the changes on accreditation requirements, which is false.
2. High turnover in faculty. The school can't keep quality instructors very long. My dissertation committee changed several times, and they kept assigning members without consulting me. Once they changed my instructor halfway through the class because the original instructor never showed up.
3. Increasing tuition. They raised tuition EVERY year while I was enrolled there. They invented new fees for nothing, such as technology fees even though they provided no technical support to students, and the only "technical" aspect of the student experience was using a web site that was unchanged for 5 years. When I finally had enough, I notified my academic advisor that I wanted to withdraw. The academic advisor went ahead and enrolled me in the next course, and I contacted her again to protest it and demand withdrawal. She submitted my withdrawal, and then the school charged me a $100 fee for failure to enroll in a course. Now they are threatening to put it on my credit report because I refuse to pay it.
In the end, it had nothing to do with how challenging the course work was...I was making steady progress toward graduation and was not struggling. I left because the 2012 NCU was not the same NCU I enrolled in back in 2007.
Having completed an online Masters at New England College (great school, an example for others to follow) I know the ropes of online education. I expect steep workload and rigorous grading.
With NCU, you get the workload at a premium price, with zero support. The education is what you take away from the readings and reviewing 20-year old articles, no interaction with others to include the mentor. The mentor is there to grade, period, they offer no value to the educational process, and the several that I had were unqualified to teach at the Doctoral level.
I have been in the PhD program for 4 years. After thousands and thousands of dollars, hours, and gallons of sweat and tears, they keep moving the target. I submit my dissertation, they edit, I fix, resubmit. Repeat. Every time they set the bar, I meet it, they move the bar. They have no incentive to help me finish my degree. The longer I stay, the more money they make.
NCU changed so much its policy that I felt like going after a moving target. The program is following a particular model, so students either enter in their model or are retaking courses. Never mind, you have to pay tuition constantly and are enrolled automatically without your input.
You are completly alone, receive a syllabus and write one paper of about 8 pages each week. Instruction is between you and the books and writing. Mentor are only correctors.
I would not recommend the school as it is a for profit school at its best.
This is not a school you want to go to. The circulum is not adequate that you would get from a community college let alone a University. The teachers and mentors will not give you the help when you need it and will find reasons to talk to the dean and get you in trouble.
Also they will sign you up for classes and state that you have the funding available and than weeks later come back and state that you are supposed to pay out of pocket for the classes. If you want a good degree and not to waste your time do not go to this school. I have requested transcripts for my new college and they wouldn't accept alot of the classes that I have wasted my time taking all believing they would move over FOR NOTHING but 2 wasted years and having to take the classes all over at another school.
I think you will find that most negative reviews are from those who don't make it through the program because it is too rigorous for them, but they are going to come up with other reasons other than their own abilities, to explain why they are no longer in the program. It is human nature.
Those of us who actually had what it took to make it through and earn a doctorate degree are much more likely to be happy with it.
NCU is tough and I think too many people, including some professionals with Master's Degrees expect everything to be handed to them, and expect it to be easy. They want somebody to hold their hand and guide them through everything.
Most online schools are not going to make those people happy, and NCU would be the extreme school where there is no hand holding. If you are not an independent learner with lots of self-determination, motivation, and self-discipline, do not enroll. Yes, policies change and not all professors are perfect, but I think that is to be expected and we must learn to roll with it. Overall, my experience was very good and I'm glad I chose NCU.