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Bad Bad Vibes from WGU (and an Intro of sorts)
#1
I am sure people here are not strangers to the subtle (and in other cases not-so-subtle) cheap sales parlor tricks that the over-priced higher education industry has become. Take this semi-brief tangent-prone rant for what you will coming from a jaded Ivy League dropout. I can shatter your illusions about the quality of an Ivy League education (that ultimately led to my flunking and dropping out) but that's another story for another day. After years of cursing the value of higher education, I began doing business internationally where certain visa types I required needed some check-the-box Bachelors degree. So I need a degree. Alas, here I am. Though I think we need to start calling this industry for what it is: a scam, a predatory human rights violation.

Fast forward to WGU, an online university easy to seduce vulnerable working adults. Now, I think it's fair to say that many of us have arrived at WGU and the "Big Three" later. By later I mean, tens of thousands of dollars later when you transfer in your overpriced existing college credits from elsewhere. At this point, we're tired, slightly cynical, and vigilant. We're not interested in being cajoled into paying into a semester-semester system any longer than we have to. The luckiest of us all arrived here sooner rather than later. You don't exactly see websites such as these on billboards or digital ad networks. 

I had just around 90 college credits evaluated for WGU in a very compatible program. They approved just under 60 credits of this amount for transfer. Then I got thinking of pivoting my degree program entirely to a tech degree if this was the best I could do. So I did that, now WGU has accepted just under 30 credits out of the original 90. I dug and found about ACE, TESU, and finally this website. Unplugging from this Matrix is complete as it were.

When I was on the phone at WGU with an Enrollment Counselor, the first thing you note is the very subtle condescending shepherd-to-sheep like tone. "I know what's best for you, do this, etc etc." They're playing a numbers game. They don't have to focus on quality education so long as they have this turn-key DIY education system that provides the only commodity that matters to their customer base: the degree and employability (hence the generous tech certs some degrees come with, generous, but in the end still outsourcing the education elsewhere). 

The biggest tell was when my Enrollment Counselor flat out asked me when I said I wanted to delay my enrollment and take Saylor Academy courses first: "And why do you want to do that?" (they do have a Transfer Pathways page detailing what they accept and don't accept). Why do we want to do that? This was incredulous at the time. Why? Did he mean: "Why do you want to save money and not cut me a few dollars more in commission?" Add to this, the very asinine and inflexible policy of not allowing you to transfer ANY outside credits after enrollment. And why should they? How many other colleges will accept their "credit units" if you wanted to transfer out? You don't have these options. And they are really hoping you do not find this out before you enroll, but I did. This is entrapment. If they had it their way, they'd keep you on a 12 credit semester-semester hamster wheel doling out the $3000 something tuition every 6 months. I honestly would not be surprised if they limit how many credits you can amass in a single semester going forward. 

Everything I've said is reinforced after reviewing BBB complaints and commentary from role model WGU alumni such as Codebueno on YouTube (just finished his WGU CS degree in 6 months and 79 credit units) and Beau Carnes who finished in 6 months and 76 credit units: http://carnes.cc/wgu.html

Beau remarked: "Students have weekly calls with their mentors to help keep them on track. Whenever I shared my goals with my mentor she tried to encourage me to be a little more reasonable. Well, instead of being more reasonable I decided to set more ridiculous goals."

Summary: I didn't enroll at WGU and am not enrolling. I'm going with the big three which I also understand is becoming stricter. I can't honestly say I wouldn't give WGU a go if I didn't have 90 credits or more time. If I only had say 30 college credits or less and more time and went with all the ACE credits people amass here I'd probably still go with WGU but understanding I'd have very little prospects for a good graduate school as I slightly want that door left open. I just frankly have no patience left for institutions that will not recognize what I already spent thousands of dollars for. Rant end.
#2
WGU isn't the most flexible when it comes to transfer credits. If you apply to Excelsior, expect them to call and email you about enrollment for God knows how long. It's becoming the norm among schools that depend on online students. TESU and COSC don't care if you enroll or not. LOL
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#3
The big 3 are better for undergraduate due to many of the reasons you outlined. I only recommend WGU from grad school.
#4
I disagree with many of your points, but just generally, WGU is not a scam. Their tactics may not be great, but try calling 5 other schools and asking about transferring in 90cr, and see how that goes. I mean, just look at 10 different school websites and try to figure out some of their policies. As someone who's doing this on an almost daily basis, it's ridiculous.

WGU is great if you already have proven (to yourself) that you can finish in 1-2 terms by completing 90cr in a short period of time. If it takes you a while to get to that 90cr mark, then it's probably not a great option for you.

BTW - try dealing with the Big 3, and ask about taking ACE coursework. They are all terrible, none will give you straight/correct/good answers/info. There are complaints on here daily.
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#5
(10-04-2019, 06:55 AM)sanantone Wrote: WGU isn't the most flexible when it comes to transfer credits. If you apply to Excelsior, expect them to call and email you about enrollment for God knows how long. It's becoming the norm among schools that depend on online students. TESU and COSC don't care if you enroll or not. LOL

Not flexible. Boldly asks you why you would want to wait and transfer PLA's in before starting your degree. That killed it for me.

(10-04-2019, 10:39 AM)dfrecore Wrote: I disagree with many of your points, but just generally, WGU is not a scam. Their tactics may not be great, but try calling 5 other schools and asking about transferring in 90cr, and see how that goes. I mean, just look at 10 different school websites and try to figure out some of their policies. As someone who's doing this on an almost daily basis, it's ridiculous.

WGU is great if you already have proven (to yourself) that you can finish in 1-2 terms by completing 90cr in a short period of time. If it takes you a while to get to that 90cr mark, then it's probably not a great option for you.

BTW - try dealing with the Big 3, and ask about taking ACE coursework. They are all terrible, none will give you straight/correct/good answers/info. There are complaints on here daily.
As I concluded, WGU is not a scam. But it reeks of impropriety. Under different life circumstances I probably would have ignored this, bit the bullet, and tried it. Let's face it though, WGU isn't anymore eager to dole out ACE credit (or perhaps little credit for that matter) than many others.

You're probably right about TESU. I'm actually dealing with the very issues you're describing now with them. Their website is a dated Web 2.0 design with outdated and inconsistent policies that have basically changed internally. My suspended disbelief phase is almost through. I'm almost as cynical as everyone else. Almost. This page is very very particularly deceiving: https://www.tesu.edu/degree-completion/o...rse-option

As for 90 credit schools, I actually did do some research. One I'm still strongly considering Fort Hays State University that has cheap enough online tuition that would come in very comparably to the out-of-state TESU tuition.

Altogether, I looked at UMPI, Fort Hays State University, Franklin University, SNHU, and Champlain College as well.

(10-04-2019, 08:51 AM)TryHardDieHard Wrote: The big 3 are better for undergraduate due to many of the reasons you outlined. I only recommend WGU from grad school.
Sure, I'm nearly convinced now though that the longer one is in a WGU program on a term-to-term basis. The dollar average spent compared to other schools starts making their value propositions better than WGU's. This is especially true of grad schools where many are bending over and offering more and more online programs and cheaper tuition to draw students in. Example: Why would anyone pick WGU for an IT-related grad degree if they could get into Georgia Tech's online CS graduate program?
#6
(10-04-2019, 03:07 PM)ivythrowaway Wrote: Why would anyone pick WGU for an IT-related grad degree if they could get into Georgia Tech's online CS graduate program?

I understand the overall point you're making, but IT is not CS. If you specifically want a CS degree and can get into GT's program, yeah it'd be pretty hard to beat what GT is offering. But if you're an IT professional specifically looking for IT programs, a CS degree probably isn't the way to go. You might be able to find a better path than WGU, but just picking CS because they're both "tech" related wouldn't be a good move unless you already have a CS background and not just IT.
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#7
Part of it's the age-old problem of having a subscription based pricing model. Even Straighterline and Study.com can get costly if you don't work quickly enough. TESU's old comprehensive tuition plan had the same issue with only being a good value if you managed your time very well and could work fast. That was why the GI benefits folks wouldn't pay for it, too many people would sign up for a year, then drop out.

Adding on high-pressure tactics just makes it worse. You have to treat ALL schools like they don't have your best interest at heart...at least to extent that you MUST do your own research ahead of time and know what courses you need and what your options are. Otherwise, the school will happily let you plod along and waste time and money. Sometimes it's intentional, sometimes it's ignorance, but the result is the same.
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#8
The best thing to do is apply to all three of the Big 3.  Only then will YOU really know what is your shortest route to a BS degree. Big Grin   They all have plus/minus issues.  I did also do this and my first choice was TESU, but it did not happen as EC was the better deal for my background.  Keep an open mind about the three and see who comes through best for you.
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#9
"Fast forward to WGU, an online university easy to seduce vulnerable working adults. ... Though I think we need to start calling this industry for what it is: a scam, a predatory human rights violation."

wow .. just wow

exaggerate much ?

"If they had it their way, they'd keep you on a 12 credit semester-semester hamster wheel doling out the $3000 something tuition every 6 months. "

and yet wgu's reddit is full of posts from people who accelerate and complete their term in a few days and sometimes their entire degree in one term

https://www.reddit.com/r/WGU/comments/dd...it_to_see/

WGU isn't stopping people from accelerating so when you say "If they had it their way" you're really just making stuff up aren't you ?

"Why would anyone pick WGU for an IT-related grad degree if they could get into Georgia Tech's online CS graduate program?"

because they could complete it in 6 months (or even fewer) ?

"We're not interested in being cajoled into paying into a semester-semester system any longer than we have to."

kinda answered your own question there about WGU vs Georgia Tech , didn't ya ?

"Why do we want to do that? This was incredulous at the time. Why? Did he mean: 'Why do you want to save money and not cut me a few dollars more in commission?' "

he possibly meant that -- or he possibly meant stop procrastinating -- stop looking for reasons not to do a degree or 6 months from now you'll be in the same place you are now -- so just enroll and get started

go to reddit's "learn programming" forum and you see people asking "what language is best to start with?"
the answer is always "just pick one and get started .. you're spending more time and energy trying to decide which language to learn than actually learning one"

its the same with getting a degree
so the enrollment counselor could possibly be trying to get your money or he could possibly just be trying to get you started

"I can shatter your illusions about the quality of an Ivy League education (that ultimately led to my flunking and dropping out) but that's another story for another day.
... the first thing you note is the very subtle condescending shepherd-to-sheep like tone. "

with that kind of attitude and view of the world it doesn't sound like the problem is the quality of an Ivy League education or any school's enrollment counselors
#10
(10-04-2019, 03:28 PM)jsd Wrote:
(10-04-2019, 03:07 PM)ivythrowaway Wrote: Why would anyone pick WGU for an IT-related grad degree if they could get into Georgia Tech's online CS graduate program?

I understand the overall point you're making, but IT is not CS. If you specifically want a CS degree and can get into GT's program, yeah it'd be pretty hard to beat what GT is offering. But if you're an IT professional specifically looking for IT programs, a CS degree probably isn't the way to go. You might be able to find a better path than WGU, but just picking CS because they're both "tech" related wouldn't be a good move unless you already have a CS background and not just IT.

Agreed, IT is not CS. The Online CS program is an outstanding value that trumps anything WGU could offer comparably. I'd put good money that listing "Master's Candidate at Georgia Tech" for 2 years would carry substantial more weight than accelerating for 6 months at WGU to save, what, 4000 bucks?

(10-04-2019, 09:17 PM)bluebooger Wrote: "Fast forward to WGU, an online university easy to seduce vulnerable working adults. ... Though I think we need to start calling this industry for what it is: a scam, a predatory human rights violation."

wow .. just wow

exaggerate much ?

"If they had it their way, they'd keep you on a 12 credit semester-semester hamster wheel doling out the $3000 something tuition every 6 months. "

and yet wgu's reddit is full of posts from people who accelerate and complete their term in a few days and sometimes their entire degree in one term

https://www.reddit.com/r/WGU/comments/dd...it_to_see/

WGU isn't stopping people from accelerating so when you say "If they had it their way" you're really just making stuff up aren't you ?

"Why would anyone pick WGU for an IT-related grad degree if they could get into Georgia Tech's online CS graduate program?"

because they could complete it in 6 months (or even fewer) ?

"We're not interested in being cajoled into paying into a semester-semester system any longer than we have to."

kinda answered your own question there about WGU vs Georgia Tech , didn't ya ?

"Why do we want to do that? This was incredulous at the time. Why? Did he mean: 'Why do you want to save money and not cut me a few dollars more in commission?' "

he possibly meant that -- or he possibly meant stop procrastinating -- stop looking for reasons not to do a degree or 6 months from now you'll be in the same place you are now -- so just enroll and get started

go to reddit's "learn programming" forum and you see people asking "what language is best to start with?"
the answer is always "just pick one and get started .. you're spending more time and energy trying to decide which language to learn than actually learning one"

its the same with getting a degree
so the enrollment counselor could possibly be trying to get your money or he could possibly just be trying to get you started

"I can shatter your illusions about the quality of an Ivy League education (that ultimately led to my flunking and dropping out) but that's another story for another day.
... the first thing you note is the very subtle condescending shepherd-to-sheep like tone. "

with that kind of attitude and view of the world it doesn't sound like the problem is the quality of an Ivy League education or any school's enrollment counselors

Not exaggerating at all. The writing is on the wall. People still graduate sheepishly with degrees that they're paying off a decade and change or much more later. After adjusting for Inflation you could graduate Yale in the 1940s for about 30K in today's dollars: https://www.studentdebtrelief.us/news/ri...ent-loans/

It is a human rights violation. You should look into Alan Collinge and see what Student Loan Justice is all about. In what world is this sensible to you?

So far as my encounter with the WGU rep, that was part of the dialogue extrapolated. The full context of it would reveal that he was in fact booing my interest in maxing out Saylor credits. Note: this degree program would have required 90 credits after my eval. As a case study, Codebueno slaved away for a full 6 months sleep deprived on the Computer Science degree finishing 79 credit units and still had to extend the term to finish the Capstone.

Lastly, sorry Sir. I don't know what world you live in, but any employer anywhere would immediately recognize the value of a Georgia Tech grad degree vs. a WGU grad degree. Acceleration is really not as important here in most cases vs. the value and doors Georgia Tech would open comparably with very comparable price points.


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