University of Maryland University College Reviews - Bachelor's in Information Systems
PLEASE BE WARY OF THEIR HIDDEN FEES. Even though UMUC is a "non-for-profit" school, it certainly doesn't highlights its extra fees pending on the classes you take. I was charged $91 for a "hybrid class" (80% online/10% physical classroom). I was never aware of this debt, nor was I ever contacted for it. Fast forward 6 months later, and now my debt is in collections. I only found out about this because I recently checked my credit history and found a big fat delinquent under my records. THANKS UMUC FOR SCREWING UP MY CREDIT.
I am a non-traditional student as I am a Dual enrolled High School/College student. I enjoyed my experience with UMUC and had taken online college classes at other universities but really appreciated the clear and concise format of the UMUC online courses. All assignments and syllabus are loaded the weekend before class for the entire 8 week term for undergrad. They are broken up by weeks, usually you will have a weekly discussion and response post to make, you don't have to purchase books in most cases as you are expected to read and review the documenation for your class from the online access. For difficult classes like Computer Science or Economics, there aren't online tutors available. Most test are given through an online web-based exam portal. Projects and papers are also given for grades. Group projects for some classes are the same for most. There is NO LIVE INSTRUCTION or even video for many classes. You have to read a lot. Since the classes are 8 weeks long, expect to read anywhere between 50 to 100 pages a week of material to learn the topics expected. Taking a full course load of more than 2 classes every 8 weeks will be a killer on time. I have done 3 classes every 8 weeks and it is a lot of work. For the online free tutoring offered you get 2 sessions of 30 min each time. My tutors for Computer Science and Math were okay, I had to seek other tutors or really be verbal with the professor when I needed help. Most cases they helped. If you want to verify a teacher will be decent you should go to RateMyProfessor before signing up for a class. Overall, I like UMUC and if you are a self-starter student, that is already comfortable with the subjects you are studying you should do well. If not, get a tutor for the topic before you start class. As for billing and financial aide, they seem to have a computer system that calculates everything in an overlapping way. I only had problems when we applied for financial aid and I changed my courses during the pre-registration time.
Great school. Do not believe the bad reviews. This school caters to the non-traditional student. The courses are taught that way intentionally. Throughout the week, you are basically on your own to read the assigned material. IF YOU CAN'T MANAGE YOUR TIME OR YOU NEED AN INSTRUCTOR TO HOLD YOUR HAND, DO NOT APPLY. This school isn't for you. It's not the school's fault that you cannot be an adult like the expect you to be. The instructors (many hold doctorate degrees) are not lenient. It's no different from a brick and mortar school (which I attended for almost two years). Just because it is online, doesn't mean it is easy. Sorry to burst you bubble. Back to the review. I have spent the last 2.5 years taking full semesters (4 classes in the fall, 4 in the spring, 2 in the summer). I took 7 CLEP/DSST tests (needed upper level credit). All this while stationed in overseas. I've been on mission to Ukraine, Republic of Georgia, Africa, Poland, Belgium, Italy, etc. I have been on TDY a total of 1 year out of my 3 years in overseas. It is not difficult to coordinate with the instructor about scheduling difficulties if you do it in a timely manner. My GPA is 3.9. Do not think you can't do it. But do remember, this is an institution of higher learning. You are an adult. Act like one and do your work. Or drop out, like the rest of the weak minded. Your choice.
Oh my. What a ragged operation this is. Nothing but problems from day one. First, they use PeopleSoft to manage students and provide online access. PeopleSoft is NOT a user friendly application. It's a nightmare just getting around. Second, while my financial aid wasn't messed up it took them THREE MONTHS to properly acknowledge it. It never did get credited to my account. Third, took THREE MONTHS to clear ONE SCHOOL'S transcript. When I called them out on it, UMUC was sitting there arguing with me to tell the other school to send them a letter explaining some of the course codes and descriptions. Why can't YOU call them?? Fourth, when I did start class, initially I accidentally enrolled in a hybrid course. Instructor was nice and explained that I really should be in the "online" course. Well, PeopleSoft doesn't make this clear when registering courses. It should filter down the list if you're not in the same city! But that's fine. So I get on the online one, it's the same first assignment as the hybrid. Asking you to do a 250 word write up in a board about 100% subjective topics but you're forced to use APA references despite having self knowledge of the topic and despite them being totally opinion-based articles. For example, if you were asked to write on a topic called "Which is better, Mac or PC?" that's an opinion piece. That's fine, but it's subjective. Subjective material does not lend itself well to APA references because the reason you feel a certain way has nothing to do with whether it's "better" or not. If the topic were "Consumer preferences on Macs vs. PCs", that's fine. You can then reference case studies, surveys, etc. to support the topic. When I raised this concern to the online instructor with a simple question on how she suggested I approach it given the subjectivity of the topic, she rudely referred me back to a plagarism policy. This school is a joke. Do not.
Review of the Admissions process only. As a warning to anyone considering the school. UMUC is extremely behind the times in this regard. From what I can tell, everything is manual, keyed in by underpaid staff who really don't know how to assess the "newer" types of certifications or classwork. As a result, don't expect a quick admissions process unless you're coming into this thing cold turkey, fresh out of high school. CompTIA, for example, has had online validation of full transcripts for decades. You generate a link, it sends you to a verification page for each cert the student has. The fact it's on CompTIA's website, with my name, is validation that they're legit. UMUC will ask for the validation code, which is generated and available for each cert. That code used to be for schools or employers to navigate out to a validation widget and put the code in one-by-one to verify authenticity. Guess what? The verification page is the SAME information, SAME PAGE, as if you go to the transcript link, but the transcript link gives you ALL certs for the student, not just that one cert. IN cases like mine where I've got over 7 CompTIA certs, it's illogical to go keying verification codes for each of them when you can just hit the link once to verify them. UMUC is the first organization to ever ask me for those codes - and I got my first cert way back in 2002. Microsoft, same thing. I've got over 4 of those, they required verification codes for each despite Microsoft having a Learning transcript page that verifies them all. Waste of time. Second, a transcript from WGU flagged a followup question. I don't blame UMUC for reacting because the transcript was poorly worded as to what the credits were for ("Transfer Course Work", which is caused when WGU changes the curriculum and gives you retroactive credit, but they don't explain that and they don't spell out what courses are included). My issue with UMUC is that they refuse to call your school to clarify anything. As if I have answers to a transcript I can't see - it's shipped directly to the school per their requirement. And the answers are about terminology; only the school would know. So here I am brokering communications between UMUC and WGU when they could have just reached out and asked the question OR said "we're not including this, let's go on". UMUC refused to ignore them even with me requesting they do so. It was only 6 credits, I can live without them after a 2 month delay. Third, it took 4 weeks to review transcripts. 4 weeks. To look at a piece of paper and make a decision. They were sent electronically, so mail was not an excuse. It was all UMUC. We're talking one college transcript and some tech certs. That's inexcusable. The online web portal is based on Oracle - looks like PeopleSoft to me, but not sure - and as such there's no linking of anything to what you do. So when you go to register classes, you can list the classes that apply to your program all well and good, but that app doesn't take into consideration any transfer credits until a human being presses a button on their end. Also it's not clear which classes you specifically need to enroll; you could have a requirement for Science, it will list various study class types, you go in there and then it lists different classes by location. Why doesn't the app filter out any classes that don't apply to your location? If I'm under Adelphi, why is it showing me Europe classes? Again, the adviser won't help you here. All around bad experience, and I've sadly escalated it to the Dean, because I just don't get why they're so haphazard at this stage.
The Information Systems Management program at UM is very good, it provides a very thorough look at the mid to high level picture of IT. One weak spot is that it doesn't provide much knowledge for the lower level IT functions. Since most new to the workforce employee will be starting out in help desk, this is a potential weakness in the program, but overall it was a great program and was well work the money and effort.