The College Degree for Working Adults

Have you heard or seen the advertisements for these accelerated college degree programs? They are everywhere. I kept hearing them and getting all these emails. They looked too good to be true, but I thought I would look into it.

After fighting to find a job in my field, I decided it was time that I went back to school and got my degree. I went to the local community college at nights for awhile, but it was too much like high school, and there wasn’t a degree program that really fit my needs. So, after all the commercials and emails, I looked into the University of Phoenix.

At first glance, the University of Phoenix promises you the world. In fact, I was told that I could graduate in 12 to 18 months. However, classes were starting in a week, so I had to sign up by the very next day. It sounded like such a great offer that I just couldn’t refuse. So, I hopped on the bandwagon with several thousand other working adults and went back to school.

I signed up for the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree program. It seemed right up my alley. It had everything I was looking for. And, with my busy schedule, the opportunity to take my classes online was extremely appealing. I’m in a class structure that the University of Phoenix calls FlexNET. I get a new class every 5 weeks. We meet in person for 4 hours on a Saturday during the first and fifth weeks of class. Weeks 2 through 4 are all held online through discussion groups.

There’s only one problem. UOP doesn’t tell you that your professors aren’t really professors. They are “facilitators.” What does this mean? They have no formal teaching experience. Most of mine have been self-employed consultants who don’t have enough clients, so they need extra money. They don’t know how to teach. So, this means that you basically have to teach yourself the material. At $1,500 a class, the last thing you want to do is have to teach yourself.

To top it off, 30% of your grade is based on a team assignment. Each week you have an individual assignment and a team assignment. At the end of the class, you give a team presentation on the project. Basically, you can only control up to a C average on your own, which is completely unfair since many of these students really shouldn’t even be in college.

There is a positive to note. There are no tests in your classes, so if you don’t do well taking tests, this might be right up your alley. However, if you have trouble performing under pressure, this isn’t the program for you. I can’t count how many all-nighters I have had to pull the night before the last class trying to put an entire team project together when all your teammates are scattered across Northeast Ohio.

And, to add insult to injury, it’s been a year, and I still have another 18 months to go before I graduate. But, I’m so much in debt right now, I’m just going to suffer through the rest of it to finally get my degree. At least I have a 3.8 GPA this time around.

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