National University - Graduate (MS/PhD) Ratings|
|Total Grad Surveys||22|
|Avg years at University||2.0|
|Research Quality||C+ (5.8)|
|Research Availability||B- (6.2)|
|Research Funding||B- (6.2)|
|Graduate Politics||B (6.7)|
|Not Errand Runners||B+ (7.9)|
|Degree Completion||B (6.9)|
|Alternative pay [ta/gsi]||C+ (5.1)|
|Sufficient Pay||B- (5.8)|
|Education Quality||B- (5.8)|
|Faculty Accessibility||B (6.7)|
|Useful Research||B (6.6)|
|"Individual" treatment||B- (6.2)|
|Campus Beauty||B+ (7.8)|
|Campus Maintenance||A- (8.6)|
|University Spending||B+ (7.5)|
|Scholastic Success||B (7.2)|
|Surrounding City||A- (8.4)|
|Social Life/ Environment||C (4.9)|
I started attending National University in the summer of 2010. The reason why I chose National University in the first place is because I wanted an online teacher education program that is certified by the California Teaching Credentialing Department. Being both a full-time employee and a caretaker of two ill family members, I do not have the time to attend a traditional university. Upfront I knew that the cost of education at National will be quite expensive because it is a private educational institution. However, I did not know several other aspects about the University's financial aid practices, quality of on-site services, and quality of education.
I relied on the information provided by the National University's website, which introduces the school's mission statement. Also, I relied on the information about the school provided by the admissions officer at the Costa Mesa, California campus. After a year and a half of attending National University, I realized that things were not getting better. The things that I am talking about are the quality of education, the services being provided to students, the attention given by the faculty, and the cost of education.
First, I notice that every three to four months, National University sends an increase in tuition letter to all of its students. The students who are already attending the school have to pay the difference in the increase in tuition. I feel it is unfair for the students because they were told that the program will cost a certain amount at the time of entrance. For instance, I was told by my Admission advisor that the total cost of the teacher education program will be $22,000; instead, the amount became up to $30,000, because of National's financial practices. I learned recently, National just opened a new mini campus somewhere in California, which probably came out of students' pockets. It is quit bazaar that the school claims to be a non-for-profit organization.
Second, in the process of my student teaching, I learned that National University is not the best school to get the best student teaching placement. Several school districts do not accept National University students, and there are multiple school districts that place the University's students last on the list. For instance, the director of student teaching placement Mr. Don Wise, had a difficult time finding a placement for me. Also, I was told by another National University student that Garden Grove Unified School District places National University's students last on the list. This student that told me the information said that she had spoken to one of the board of directors at the District.
Third, the faculty, the department heads, the financial aid officers, the administration, and the credential advisors are all emotionally, and mentally distant from the students. I will try to explain a little bit better in the following sentences. The university?s staff are not involved or connected to the students' concerns and problems. The faculty members do not invest time helping the students grow both professionally and mentally such as educational wise. They have no empathy and sympathy for the students. More importantly, they do not care about the students' welfares and overall educational experiences. Instead, the faculty are more concerned about their own welfare such as getting a paycheck, and the university's welfare in terms of its connection with other institutions, and its financial goals. For example, the teacher education program directors and faculty members were not concerned on helping me improve and grow as a future educator. The education department directors and student teaching coordinators were too invested in listening to the words of the assigned Master Teachers. They are blind sighted in certain aspects when observing the student teacher, and they tend to misinterpret certain information. To me, the misinterpretation comes from the inability for the faculty members and directors to effectively communicate on an interpersonal basis. I describe an effective interpersonal communication process as one in which both the receiver and the sender listen, understand, and reach an agreement with each other. This did not happen with me when I was working with the professors, directors, and my master teachers. I did not receive an adequate amount of support, and advice for professional growth from all of the following: master teachers, professors, and directors. At the end I had to pay a huge price that is up to $30,000, which includes interest on an education that was not worthwhile.
I tried to get some type of compensation back from the University's officials at the main campus. No one has contacted me back, which shows that they do not care.
I can't really comment on the students or faculty because it was online but they weren't very helpful in financial aid.
The problem is that the classes are only six weeks long and go at an extremely fast pace. I tried to make appointments with the writing center for my essays but because of the time change zones I was unable to get help. For instance, if the appointment is at 2pm, you have to be logged in at 2pm California time.
I took an African-American film class that was taught by a white guy, which is fine but I had to order the films, we watched one weekly and by the time it arrived, the class had moved onto the next film. Also, the white guy didn't agree with my viewpoints, even though I'm African-American and he's white. I just can't help but wonder if I had been the teacher, and the student was white... (They don't have a lot of minority faculty and even less AA graduates).
I got a C in the class and was put on academic probation. I then took another class on Hemingway, and got a D on my paper. I emailed the professor and no response. This is typical of this school. Everyone wants to do minimal work and just enough to get your off the phone or frustrated.
After this, I was kicked out of National. I was told, by letter that if I wanted to come back, I would have to explain why I didn't do well in my classes and prove that this would not happen again. Also, I had to wait six months.
I waited, even though I was not happy, I reapplied and was rejected. I feel like this school basically took my money and then shitted on me. I wouldn't recommend this school to my worst enemy's grandmother.
National University is one of the worst schools that I have attended, and although I cannot say another about their on-campus classes, I cannot recommend taking them online.
One of the best aspects of this school is the faculty and staff. Top to bottom, from admin to instructors, these people are among the most responsive I've ever seen from a sheer customer oriented perspective. Not what one expects from a not-for-profit. Intelligent and experienced faculty answer emails quite thoughtfully, all hours of the night and seven days a week, while even the admin advisors do the same. The only shortfall is I really think they should be more selective with admissions. I see some very clear indications that many of my cohorts just aren't prepared for this level of academic engagement. It's tragic, really, to think about what they seem to be wasting on apparent failure.
They do not give you proper information, change the syllabus and rubrics after class has begun. They are extremely disorganized and judge on bias rather than competency.Beware that once you complete your last course, starting your thesis you will be working on it for at the very least a year - as the class is moved into a 'U' while you do so. You will be required to start repaying loans even thought you are not out of school.
The Good: The MA in English is an online program and thus, convenient for parents, working teachers and other professionals. Students can take their courses from the privacy of their own homes and manage their own schedules within the parameters of the program requirements. There are some good courses and solid professors leading them; I emphasize ?some? and more below. The excellent professors are good at teaching, and, teaching online courses ? which is an entirely different pedagogical approach. When you get a professor who is clearly competent in the technology, combined with an eagerness to engage students ? the combination is well worth it and one can see the benefits of this type of program.
The Bad (and ugly): There are some really awful instructors in the program with absolutely no clue about how to run an online course or engage students in this new technology. I have had professors who do not post to student discussions or engage in the course discussions but merely award discussion points each week with no feedback; it is like having a professor who never comes to class. I have had professors who simply did not understand the technology and several of them did not know how to update course content, so when the course went live, it was outdated and incorrect. Several professors do not post grades in a timely manner and so one does not receive feedback until it is too late to improve on one?s performance. All courses (except the final thesis course) are 4 weeks in length. Unfortunately, one often doesn?t know which courses/themes/instructors will be offered because NU does not post this information very far in advance. The result is, you have little or no control over planning a program that suits your needs, or in some cases, professional or other licensing requirements, you may not be able to get texts ordered in time, etc. This is one of the most frustrating aspects of the program. (For examples, I knew of one teacher who was required by her institution to take a course in Shakespeare, a course rarely offered at NU ? in an MA in English program.) I have heard many students complain about these issues, privately and on course boards. One would think NU could put out a six-month schedule so students could plan their programs accordingly. On the other hand, if you are not as engaged in your program and simply want to take the required courses NU assigns you ? that would work for you. Other issues are administrative support that is inconsistent and minimal. The Financial Aid Office is often late processing student aid and about half the time will simply not respond to your emails. The program director is a wonderful teacher, but a poor manager. He seems aware of the issues and seems interested in student feedback; yet when students have issues (recurring issues) it becomes obvious he has done little to address those issues and in fact comes up with the same excuses over and over. The reality may be he simply has no power in the NU hierarchy to engage and improve the program.
I wanted to share a more balanced view of the issues at NU and not simply blame students as I feel the previous review did. Yes, there are students in the program with unrealistic expectations and yes, some are lazy and have been my classmates! But, the majority are students who are diligent and focused and interact respectfully with their peers. And, as a point of agreement with other reviews ? it is true, online learning is NOT easy. In fact, I find online learning to be much more demanding. If I were asked to give the program a grade, I would offer up a ?C+? with plenty of room for improvement.
Some may think online learning is easy or not nearly the same as being in a classroom environment. That may have been true when the Internet was new and many bogus schools appeared, but regionally accredited schools are meeting the online demand with great programs that are equal or sometimes far better enriched due to the technology. Online programs require a learner to be self-disciplined, prepared, organized, and motivated to succeed. I have had a few online classmates who were told about the demands of the program and accepted the task, but became angry with the school because they did not manage the workload well. How is that the school's fault? The curriculum demands are the same in an online class, if not more demanding, than a traditional class.
I have read several posted reviews and I frankly do not understand the complaints. Every school has its issues and service problems. I found that most problems I had with my prior degree problems was with the public university where I could not get the right person or department to help me properly. I have not found that with National. Is National perfect? No. If I would have a major problem, I would never hesitate to call the administrative office and get the proper help--immediately. I could not say that about the public university I attended--the administration would most likely not even take the call.
Bottom line, you will get what effort you put into it. National has been around for decades and has the test of time behind it. It is a nonprofit university (which I like) and it is a perfect alternative. It is a private school which means it does cost more to attend then public schools, however, this is normal and the tuition is well within the average range of other private universities.
The University administration sets a new low standard in receptivity and care about students. The financial aid office is incompetant at best and deceptive and deliberately obstructive. Information on the online student portal is meaningless and frequently completely incorrect.
Run away fast before you waste time and money on a degree where your thesis will be judged by people that aren't qualified to judge a the most amateurish festival entry, but who will attempt to impose ridiculous requirements.You will be told that the university helps you to organize funding for your thesis film and this is patently false. You will be stuck funding the entire thing with no resources that any other schools offers.