Walden University Reviews
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I selected Walden University because my mother was attending it for her Masters in Education. Although I had to adjust to online school, it takes a lot of dedication, the adjustment came easily. I did enjoy the set schedules for assignments that were posted for the entire class as I'm a procrastinator and need deadlines to help push me to actually completing anything. I liked my instructors, although sometimes I did feel a little overwhelmed with assignments. But, I always managed to get it done on time. Instructors provided great feedback on assignments and I felt that many were actually interested in making you want to learn instead of just giving you credit for completing the assignments. I decided to complete a Master's Degree from Walden as well, which I am currently taking. Yes, this school is expensive; but many schools are nowadays. Overall, I really enjoyed my experience here, with the students, instructors, and academic advisers. Whenever I needed to contact my advisor, which was not often, they got back to me quickly, usually within a few hours after emailing them. Online education is different from the usual way as you have to motivate yourself to complete the assignments and study. But I can say that before I even completed my degree, I found myself applying what I learned to my profession. That helped to continue to motivate myself to stick with my studies. I like doing my own research anyway so online learning was ideal for me. If you would prefer to be lectured or have face-to-face with instructors and peers, then online school is not for you. Otherwise, I would recommend it to anyone who needs a degree and does not have a problem with researching, reading, and writing papers. There's a paper due just about every week of class, but it helps you to be able to apply what you've learned. I can say that in the courses I took, there were not a lot of tests which was great as I am not a great test taker.
I started in the General Psych program then switched to Industrial/Organizational Psych. There are a lot of unnecessary classes (which may not be unique just to this school; I'm not sure) and it feels ridiculous to pay tuition to take such courses that are meant simply to "teach" good study habits or get accustomed to posting in online environments. Really basic, unnecessary stuff. Plus there were other courses that were deemed mandatory even though they were only introductory and had no follow-up (such as Research Methods - all the various psychological tests out there, how they work, what they measure, etc., which is great information but could have been included as a sub-matter in another class. The entire course was simply for us to pick one of these tests and study it in-depth, then continuously report on it for the entire 12 weeks. Such a thing is not going to help me in a career since it was way too generic, yet way too focused at the same time). However, many teachers really did engage students and encourage discussion beyond "Great post! I agree!" but at times it really did feel like I wasn't in a real competitive environment, in the sense that witnessing extremely poor grammar, syntax, etc. in others' discussion postings (especially from those who were purported to be at the end of their program) made me wonder how they ever got accepted in the first place at a Master's level (well, other than being willing to shell out $$). I do feel I learned a lot, and there was enough variety, such as group projects, and videos of case studies to watch and learn from. I did hit a snag with my final thesis in that I e-mailed repeatedly for status updates and the entire delay pushed me into another quarter, but after filing an appeal I was refunded the entire price.
Wow! I am planning to apply to the FNP program at Walden. All these reviews are giving me a second thought. Thank you all for your honesty. If anyone has been through the FNP program at Walden, can you PLEASE give me a feedback on the program?
I just graduated from Walden University. I would have to say it was a good experience and the degree met all the requironments to be accepted into graduate school. I had no issuses with advisors or the financial aid dept. Some professors were engaging while others felt none exsitant. Online format is definately for those who are self motivated. I was pleased with the overall pyschology program. Did consider to continue at Walden to pursue my masters but missed the classroom interaction so it is back to a brick and mortar campus. If you do not mind writing lots of papers ,participating in discussions and independant study than Walden may be a good choice.
I read a bunch of the negative reviews - and I see some that I can understand the frustration and others that feel like sour grapes. All I can tell you is that I gained a lot from attending Walden and graduating with my MS In Social Psychology. I would say that 50% was Walden and 50% is what I put into it. I'll admit, I was a little worried when I witnessed some of the classmates I had in the first few courses. As a for-profit college - I think you tend to see people who really aren't prepared to go back to school, and those are the very people I noticed dropping out as time went on. There were a couple of what I would call "weed out" courses where it was abundantly clear - only the people who wanted to apply themselves and get the degree would complete. I recall statistics being one of those courses. For those of you who crave professor time, or lecture time - online classes aren't for you. For people, like me, who don't mind digging in and learning through a lot of reading and writing... online classes suit us well. For me, online was a must. Because of my job and the hours and production schedules - it would be close to impossible to regularly attend "night" school. I found the online format perfect for me. Though it took me some time to adjust to the work-load and to form good scheduling habits, I found the routine consistent enough that I rarely felt really stressed. Yes, there were times where I would procrastinate and get stressed about completing an assignment. But I found that, for the most part, if I was disciplined - the work was the right balance of challenging and flexible. No, Walden isn't cheap. If I had one desire it would be that Graduate Students could more easily find "scholarship" help. However, I accepted that as a cost of convenience. The bottom line is - Walden isn't for everyone. But for people who are really interested in learning, with a very flexible and convenient way to do it. Walden may be the answer. The key is that anyone considering Walden should be prepared to drive themselves. The only one who can really determine whether this is a valuable learning experience is the student. I am fairly certain that people can fake their way through this (like I saw many do at a traditional school as well), but that only hurts yourself.
I got my MSN from Walden and loved it...but...not the same experience for the DNP. The first year was almost just like the MSN in level of information. The 2nd yr is when you start preparing for the "Project"...that preparation takes FOREVER!! There is one change...one revision after another. The Manual indicates a student will be finished in 4 courses...NOT...one way they can get additional money is to delay, delay, delay...and, of course, it is YOUR fault because you are not doing quality work...well, I completed the MSN with a 3.75 and the DNP with a 3.89...so, either the faculty did not really review my work as I was doing all those writing assignments...or, the faculty for the chapter writing/project are over zealous...or..there is a scheme to keep you there as long as possible by telling you your work is not good enough...I have discovered there are several students seeking to file a class-action suit because of such delays and poor service. You may do ok with the MSN program...but DO NOT use Walden for the DNP!!
I really did enjoy and benefit from my time at Walden. I found the courses to be challenging and the instructors to be of the highest quality. There was an initial class (required) about online learning; which I believe should be offered in the second semester and only if it is obvious that a student is having difficulty managing the curriculum of an online learning scenario. You really have to be self-motivated . Nobody is going to hold your hand and tell you when to do your readings, when to participate in the class discussions, and when to do your homework. I had a few years between undergrad and grad school - during which I worked - and I think that experience helped prepare me for managing my own graduate studies. I was working full-time, taking classes full-time, and raising a family (including giving birth during my final term at Walden). It is possible. Sometimes I wish that there was more instructor guidance for the online classroom discussion component. Much like many other aspects of the internet, people can be more (inappropriately) vocal regarding their viewpoints as they can hide behind their laptops and never have to show their face to their classmates. While I am very much for intelligent and fact-based conversation regarding the subject matter - I felt that it would have been appropriate for the professor(s) - as the moderators - to jump in and steer the conversation back to its intended path on a few occasions. The experience was wonderful and I have and will continue to recommend Walden. I would also recommend jumping on your required reading list ASAP once you enroll in a class. Try Amazon and other retailers first before using the recommending online bookstore - it'll definitely save you some money.
I enrolled at Walden because, as a teacher, there were very few brick & mortar schools with doctoral programs that could accommodate to the schedule of a teacher, and none in my major. At the time (2008), I was ambivalent given that it was "online" as people might think that it was an easy program. Since then, many large schools in this country now have developed online programs, though doctoral programs, as far as I can tell, are still only offered by online schools (e.g., Walden). The courses were certainly not easy (one exception was the very first course, which was an introduction to online learning - I found that to be a terrible waste of time and money). Some were very good and taught me quite a bit, others were simply fair. There was certainly a large range when it came to the quality of the instructor: some were great, some were good, some were bad, and some were REALLY bad. Not surprisingly, the most dedicated ones were those who were employed full-time and/or held more important positions in the school (whether they were more dedicated because they held higher status or held higher status because they were dedicated is anyone’s guess). Walden employs many part timers (but then, that's a growing trend among many colleges, online or otherwise), and some treat it as a part-time gig, but then there were part timers who served performed their instructional duties magnificently. As I mentioned before, the courses were not relaxed, and the workload was more than I expected (taking two courses while working full-time was one of the most difficult and stressful things I have ever done, and that was before I had children). However, given the online format, there was a great deal of flexibility, and I could complete my work at my own pace so long as it met the assigned deadlines (which were often weekly). Doing well in these course was not a Herculean task so long as one was dedicated to studying and completing coursework in a timely fashion. I will say that there were some classmates who probably should not have enrolled in the program as they were not likely ready for doctoral level work, as I would see a number of them eventually drop out for a variety of reasons. Did I have difficulties with certain faculty and processes? Yes. One hangup came from the IRB (the group that reviews a study for its ethical qualities before a study can commence). I reckon that a number of people who have posted complaints about this process probably had a proposal that was beset with potential ethical problems. For example, there are some students who work in prisons or other settings that have what are called vulnerable populations (e.g. children, members of the military, etc.). To conduct a study using these for a dissertation is possible, but many safeguards need to be put in place so that ethical codes are not violated. Based on my experiences, many get slowed down (and even halted) by the IRB in these cases. Other studies involve procedures that might pose risks that are greater than the risks experienced by everyday life. My dissertation involved the use of hypnosis, which made for a much more challenging IRB review (at least two to three months, whereas other projects that involve secondary data analysis might take a week or two). In the end, I was approved (and the study went without a hitch), and the wait resulted in a dissertation of which I am quite proud. Nevertheless, that process was a pain in the neck. Like others who have posted comments, I did have issues with finding a chair. Students are left almost completely on their own to find their chair and and build their committee. This can be quite challenging, as many of the best faculty members have reached their permitted maximum (which is understandable, as having too many students to attend to results in less than stellar supervision). When I did finally find a chair, he sat on my draft for two quarters and provided no feedback (but plenty of excuses). To make a long story short, I was advised to change chairs and, by a stroke of dumb luck, found the one wanted to have initially but was previously unavailable, and I never had an issue again. I think it’s important that students know their rights, no matter where they go to school. In my situation, I faced a problem that many other students have experienced (lack of feedback), as some others have posted about. One thing that many do not realize is that if a faculty member does not follow the school’s policy (such as meeting deadlines when returning drafts of a dissertation), then the student can file a tuition appeal. I did this twice, one for the situation above and another due to a lack of communication between departments that needlessly delayed me from finishing my degree. Both were successful. Walden values its accreditation, and they need to have and follow these policies and procedures in order to keep it. If they are forced to take action that costs them tuition as a result of students going through the proper channels, then they will be sure to retain good faculty and let go of those who are not up to snuff. I cannot compare Walden’s doctoral program to that of a regular brick & mortar program as I did not attend the latter. Still, based on observation of my peers at other schools, I have noticed some things. Perhaps the biggest difference is the focus of the program. Walden’s goal is getting students to develop and complete their dissertations. Many who attend traditional schools, on the other hand, are often part of a team of other doctoral students who work on a variety of projects, not just the dissertation, which lead to being part of several published works, which in turn bulk up one’s CV. Given that Walden caters to those who are already employed (which is hardly a secret), they are not too concerned about this aspect of professional development (though it appears that they are starting to have a paradigm shift in this realm). On the other hand, you are less likely to have to deal with department politics and other quarrels that have been known to stall students’ progress. In the end though, I think that the hassles one might have at Walden or any online school are going to be found at brick & mortar schools, and vice versa. The doctoral degree, no matter where it is earned, is a process, full of frustrations and challenges, but very rewarding. Bottom line is this: If you are considering Walden, you need to be flexible, dedicated, and informed of your expectations. There is no hand-holding. You are fully responsible for your progress. You need a good chair (and finding that person takes time and patience) and a plan of how you finish your degree (e.g., dissertation topic, time frame, etc.). Ask yourself why you want your PhD (or whatever degree it might be). If it is more than just to get the title or letters to follow your name, then ask what you value most. If it is autonomy and flexibility, then Walden is likely a good fit. If not, consider other options.
I was told the tuition was around $40K; my bill stands at over $100K. The reason for the delay was through the dissertation process. The school has a URR steps process in which you must complete (sequentially) to finish your paper. Each step must be approved in order to move on. My first chair got me nearly to the end of the steps where I needed to schedule my final oral review. That's when he resigned due to a disagreement with the dept. head. A month went by before my second chair even contacted me, and then another month before my oral was scheduled. Their policy is that a committee member has 14 days to respond, but mine wasn't the case. Finally after my oral was accepted, my URR also approved my final work for the fourth time during this process. Each step causes more and more time to elapse, which equals higher tuition costs. My last step was the CAO's signature. He wanted me to make a few changes to the abstract, no biggie, so I got the director in Walden's editing dept. to help. Then my paper was completed. However, instead of sending it back to the CAO, I was notified that my URR was fired and I got a new one. I didn't care because I was finished. But--the paper went back to him, and he DISAPPROVED what had already been approved on 32 steps with 0% matches on the TTI report! So instead of graduating that next week, he had me change 55 pages AND take a writing course!!! Still, very little communication from my chair, so they fired her, too. Here we go again! I had a phone conference with the entire committee and dept. head, and we finally resolved to change just "three things." I did...again, again, and again. More changes. Then four months later, I resubmitted my final AGAIN and my URR wanted me to change pages that he himself had already approved! Ridiculous! Two months later, by the grace of God, I graduated. My advice: Do NOT get your doctorate from Walden! The stress it caused was not worth it. And now I have a $100 bill to deal with for the rest of my life. Total deception.
I am perplexed at the negative comments I saw about Walden. I had a fulfilling experience with the Instructional Design and Technology program (Master of Science). The courses were all formatted in a similar fashion so that I could create a routine to help me juggle school, work, and family life. The similar format of each class also helped me navigate easily. Each class utilized the same rubrics for discussion, essays, projects, etc. so that I always knew what was expected of me. Although I graduated with a 4.0, I did NOT receive a perfect grade on everything. Instructors used the rubrics fairly and when my assignments were not up to par (by rubric's standards), I was not "given" a perfect grade. Does the degree to which each instructor adhere's astringently vary somewhat? Of course! That is only natural. The instructors are available to answer questions and my classmates were helpful as well. The program was designed to foster a community of learning so that my classmates and I also felt comfortable asking each other questions. Did I ever get frustrated? Yes! That is a part of growing and learning, believe it or not. Walden also offers resources outside of the main course to help students, such as an advisor, webinars, and the Writing Center, to name a few. My advisors were helpful and even called me every now and then just to ask me how things were going. I did not have any problems with the financial aid. My loan went through each term just as it should. The process of receiving my books for each class was super easy as well. I can only speak for the Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology program, but if you are seeking the kind of classes where you are presented with some info and then you take an exam, this is not it. Usually, each week you are given a list of resources (articles, websites, textbook, etc.) to read/study. You are also given a video program or programs to watch. Then you are asked to respond to a discussion forum. Your discussion answers are expected to be thorough and evidence. Sometimes the discussion will be asking you about the week's resources that you studied. Other times you might be making comments on a case study, for example. You are expected to respond to at least two classmate's initial posts. Besides this discussion assignment, you are usually presented with another assignment or project. Sometimes an assignment will last only a week, other times it will spread over several weeks. Sometimes you will have to work with other classmates on projects, which can be a challenge when you all have busy schedules, but it is doable. It also taught me much about professionalism and teamwork through difficulties. I hope this review helps someone who is trying to make a decision on colleges.