Western Governors University Reviews
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Normally, colleges will tell you that you have to select a Science course, a Math course, an Arts course, etc. and then provide you a list from each category. You can then choose the specific course that either most closely aligns with what you want to do or is just more your speed. For example, I do better at Chemistry than Biology simply because my chosen course of study has nothing to do with the human body or plants or anything like that. If I were going into medicine I might prefer Biology over Geology, and so on. WGU doesn't allow you this type of choice. The program is given assumptive courses from the categories, often not making any sense. I had two Biology courses in an IT program. Why? What's more, I had 6 total Science courses, 4 Math courses, three English courses - unlike other schools where you only have one of each. There weren't enough courses around my desired course of study (IT!) The pacing of it all and the competency-based model are fine. But the handling of the GE courses is just poor all around.
WGU is definitely geared towards those who have already had some college classes and/or have working in the real world for awhile. I would not recommend it to anyone who does not have any real world experience. The lack of having a GPA will quickly get you cut in the mix of job applicants if you do not have relevant experience. It should add the necessary "piece of paper" for those looking to advance in their career or with the current employer. It is self-paced so you can do a lot in one semester, save money and graduate in a reasonable amount of time. The things I have learned so far are definitely applicable to my career and hopefully my future. There are some hiccups though. As others have stated, the weekly calls with the so-called :mentor" are futile and annoying. They are definitely not a mentor in the true sense of the word. The competency-based grading system is confusing and annoying, and some tests can easily be passed without knowing much of anything. It is ironic because in one of the first classes I took, I learned that people will always work harder when a letter grade is at stake versus just passing or failing. So if I were a recruiter and knew this and saw someone from a reputable, competing university that had a good GPA, it would factor into my decision of who to hire. Additionally, it is almost impossible to transfer to another school or into an MBA program without letter grades which is a negative. The tests that are proctored via webcam are frustrating and annoying. I researched quite a few completely online schools and some brick and mortar schools that offer online degrees. None of them were perfect, including WGU, but it seems to be the best fit for me.
This program started out promising, but in the end......it is a diploma mill. The mentor process is annoying. You have to talk to this "cheerleader" every week. If you really need help, they can't help and refer you back to course mentors. Mine called on the wrong day, at the wrong time, and generally became one of the most annoying parts of my week. There is no option to not participate in these calls. The final project is a big joke.........it has nothing to do with skills at all. Students would be better served by doing a thesis type project. People defin. cheat at this school.......but staff do not want to hear about it, especially in the capstone part of the degree. I think this program had good intentions, grew too fast, and needs someone in charge who knows what they are doing. The mentor process should be optional once a student has shown they can do the work.
This college is not for students who are not self motivated. At times it can be very frustrating especially with Taskstream, the 3rd party grading system. Sometimes, especially at the end of the month, papers can take days to be graded and I have heard horror stories from other students about not receiving a grade before the end of the term; causing an incomplete or did not pass on their transcripts. The other thing that really bothers me is the fact that proctored online exams are not yet able to be taken on the newer operating systems (Windows 8). I had to go to a friends house to take my last proctored online exam, as I live in a rural area and the nearest assessment testing site was several miles away. All in all, I feel as though I am receiving a good education and have learned a ton, but as I said this school is not for everyone. If you have good study and time management skills, this is a good school and the price is excellent.
I feel it is important to give a review about your school. I have been attending WGU for about a year now. It is a love/hate situation. The staff at WGU as far as your designated mentor and admin staff are amazing. The instructors or course mentors are hit and miss. Some of them are awesome and some of them sucks. Proctored exams online were at first a nightmare. I have updated systems all with current OS's. I went and purchased an outdated Mac with an old OS just to take the OLP's through Kryterion.
They also offer on site through approved proctors if you prefer to drive. However its a pretty awesome way to take your exams once you have the right equipment. WGU even supplies you with a camera. The real nightmare will come when you deal with their (THIRD PARTY) paper grading system. TASKSTREAM. Just like snowflakes no two evaluators are the same. If you get a paper returned you may not get the same person that graded it the first time. It may be someone new. They may find new things wrong with your paper. Or they may even not read it at all and let it pass through. "Taskstream is like a box of chocolates. you never know what your gonna get."
They say they are one of the cheapest colleges. This is true they are one of the cheapest. There are other colleges that compete with their prices very well though. I wont list them here you will have to do your research. Google is your friend.
However you can test out of a lot of classes within your first week of receiving them. Either by studying real hard or by pure luck. There is a blog that talks about a guy who finished his whole degree in one term. I'm sure he had some transfer credits but it was still pretty unreal.
There are advantages and disadvantages to WGU. For me I'm transferring in a future term. I would like a little more interaction with my instructors and peers.
Re: your student mentor. You are going to like or less than like your student mentor. I have a good relationship with my sm in that we have similar network backgrounds an converse in a friendly manner. If the relationship doesn't seem to be working I believe you can request another sm.
When it comes to rubrics and tasks, I have found that trying to slide by with mediocre work generally wastes your time in revisions. When turning in a task, be sure to schedule in the reading for the next as soon as you have turned in the task. Dont wait for a "meets", which is 3-4 days away. Yur milleage may vary, but I haven't had good luck with reading all the coursework at once.
In my senior year at Thomas Edison State College, the major defining difference between TESC and WGU was the posting of weekly papers and required commentary. At TESC if your comments were poor there was no chance for an "A" for you. I know WGU is pass/fail but so far,in my WGU Masters program there has no effective collaboration. I have posted questions to the community boards that were answered, but the questions did not relate directly to the tasks.
While I have worked years in networking, imagine how much fun I will have on my first day back at work with my freshly minted Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance.
Like many online schools WGU gets a mix of excellent and poor reviews. I picked thier IT master's program for two reasons. First, it was the only one I found where obtaining IT certs were part of the course. Second, they claimed it was respected for NSA security standards. I had a good experience my first term, but a string word of caution. Do not expect them to assist you if you are in the military and get deployed. As a part-time guard guy I got called up to active duty status and was unable to complete my second term. Below is a description of how WGU screwd me over.
You only need VA money to cover the term, anything extra, such as grants and loans obtained from FAFSA will be refunded to you. I elected to use the excess for additional books and materials not required, but useful, for my course. When I notified the student services center about being called up on active duty for 8 months I was informed they only honor 2 month deferment for deployments. Who only gets deployed for only two months? Anyway, WGU told me they would "help me out" and refunded the student loan money for the term and then immediately turned around and asked me for the money they gave back to the lender. It's a shady practice expecting someone to have thousands of dollars to give you. They refused to defer payments until I am able to start again and are profiting for their "support" to military personnel.
I highly discourage any military person from attending if you have not separated yet.
**typed on mobile device, please ignore typo and grammar errors**
I have been a student of WGU for a while now and due to some unforeseen personal circumstances that caused me to have not just 1 but 3 surgeries I was put into a "suspended student status" meaning that I was no longer able to get financial aid. So I had to withdraw until I had the funds for one more term in which I was told that if I completed that term 100% accomplished then I would be returned to "student in good standing" and would then be able to return to obtaining financial aid to complete my degree.
I withdrew and saved up enough money to return for that one more term, but sometime during that term "the rules changed" but I, nor my mentor was advised of this change and I would have to take and additional 5 credits to be able to be eligible for financial aid. That equals to at least 2 more classes. Had I been apprised of this "change" then I would have done everything in my power to add those two more classes but even my mentor advised me not to, that I would be just fine. At the end of term I was notified that I was still in "suspended status" and I wouldn't be getting any financial aid to continue.
I then tried to appeal the decision and was denied without so much as an explanation. So here I am without a degree $20,000 in debt no chance of continuing on with WGU (I do like the classes and the school curriculum and the format. I was very successful and would like to stay with this school) but due to lack of communication on the administration side of it. I am S.O.L., as it were.
I am currently doing the MBA from Afghanistan. The key to WGU is to you have to answer the tasks how the instructor wants you to answer or they will kick it back over and over again. It's pretty much a joke. I wouldn't recommend anyone going to this school since it appears some instructors just want to prolong your educationl. Probably to secure their own jobs.