I recently graduated from Stevens-Henager Ogden campus with a B.S. in Computer Science. My review and observations will be based on what I witnessed in my program and at my specific campus. I know things can differ amongst the various programs and especially at the different campuses. I am not employed by SHC or any of its affiliates. To give the good up front, I attended for three years and finished with a 4.0 GPA. Some of those were easy As, others of those I had to bust my butt to get. I always did my homework and studied for my tests. They also helped get me into my current job, in the industry. And I am earning nearly double what I was when I started the school. I worked hard to get to where I am, and that leads me to my first observation.
I?ve noticed a lot of negative reviews and that doesn?t surprise me. Why? Because I went to school with these people and not everything is quite like it is pictured here. People don?t typically want to take responsibility for their actions. I?d encourage people reading the reviews to pay attention to what is being said, the way it is written, and the lack of specific examples in many cases. As an unbiased person, I would not be surprised, by reading some of the things typed, that these people had a hard time in school. And that was my experience with many of the students that attend that I encountered in my studies. I can?t tell you how many students came to the school expecting it to be a ?diploma mill?. They thought they would pay their money, get a degree, and have a magical passport to a nice living. It doesn?t work like that. And when they start flunking out because they didn?t pay attention in class(school had to block Facebook because of the number of students spending class time on it) or they didn?t come to class, it is all of a sudden the school?s fault.
Since the classes are hybrid classes(on campus and online) or strictly online, one of the easiest things you had to do for a grade was discussion posts. Standard was to do one weekly reply to the topic and 2 to your fellow students. A large chunk of the students could not be bothered to even do this. They could not be bothered to log in once a week to type 150 words or less combined for all three posts and then they receive bad grades. And many of those that did post, had horribly atrocious grammar and spelling. I could not believe that adults, who supposedly finished high school typed such things.
Also each class uses an internal software program called Angel where teacher post homework and you can see your current grade in the class. Along with your grade is the current class average for homework/quizzes/tests/etc. And I was astounded by how often the class average for those categories were 60% or lower. Not because it was hard, but because the students simply were not doing the work. I would sit in class and watch various students who did show up, play video games on their free laptops, watch movies, IM, etc. And the teachers didn?t say anything. Why? Because we are adults and this is our money and we can choose to get the most out of it or not. And many chose not to. And when they flunked out or failed to get a good job because they failed to learn the material, then it is the school?s fault. I have friends I made at the school who have this exact same attitude. I know for a fact they failed because they were more concerned with other things, yet when you ask them about it, they blame the school. Now SHC is partially to blame for this as they tend to advertise and cater to the lowest common denominator of student. There are no tests to get in. So many people that are not dedicated or lack the skills in school can still get in with the knowledge they will likely fail. I do wish the school was more discriminating in who it let in. There are good students there, I consider myself one, but their success stories seem to get lost among the vocal majority that fails. Now enough about the students, let?s talk about the school.
First and foremost the school is a business. I hated this aspect of it. I felt there were times when the educational value of the school was a far second to turning a profit. A current example is them not hiring much needed TAs because enrollment is down and they don?t want to pay their salaries. This leads to students suffering as they can?t get the additional tutoring they need to pass their classes. Sometimes that support is all a student needs to get through it and continue on to success. I was there when the school had no TAs and then saw when they introduced them. It seemed to lead to more students in the classroom and some that were struggling, started succeeding. However, TAs have since moved on and things are rough again. So where are the teachers in all this then? That leads me to my next complaint.
Teaching at the school is a second job for the teachers and sometimes that comes across. I?ve had teachers that treated us as a second job and things like grading our work and giving us needed material was put off while they dealt with things from their day job. I even had one teacher flat out say once that ?when it comes down to between his day job and the class, his day job will always win?. That angered me to no end. I?m paying a lot of money to get an education and expect teachers that are as dedicated as I am. I?m not paying a first class tuition for a second class education.
My other complaints with the school are they had incentive programs for referring new students, but nothing for getting good grades. That further emphasized the focus on making money and not promoting education. And with all the tuition being paid, they always seemed to get the cheapest items. The free laptop you get(but really pay for) is not up to par for Computer Science students. It lacks the resources that were needed for many of the labs and students ended up having to use their own laptops or purchase upgrades for the one they were provided. The Computer Science program also seemed to be a distant second thought to the powers-that-be as they focused attention and resources on the much larger medical specialties programs. If they put a little effort into it, they could be a serious contender for Computer Science schools in northern Utah.
So what was good about the school? The teachers. I know I already said that some of the teachers were part of the problem. However, some of them were great. I saw a couple that took a vested interest in the success of their students. They were pained when they saw students not reaching their potential. During a hard couple of weeks for myself where I was letting things slip, a teacher e-mailed me and essentially told me to get it together or I wasn?t going to hit my goals. We had many e-mail back and forths and it helped pull me out of the funk I was in. Try getting that sort of one-on-one attention at a large university. The deans were great as well. You could go talk to them anytime and they would do what they could to get you support you needed due to personal problems(I had a family death that took me out of class the week of finals) and to provide advice both professionally and educationally. They would even tutor students that needed it. I haven?t heard of many deans that do that.
The classes are also small for most classes. The GE classes can be larger since they were combined with students from all the programs. However, the Computer Science classes were generally 15 students or less. Class schedules were very flexible. You can take day or evening classes. And you take 1 or 2 classes for 4 weeks, attending twice a week per class and the rest is online. Every 4 weeks, you get another class or two. This type of schedule makes it very convenient to work, have a family, etc and still get an education. I loved being able to log in whenever I wanted to do homework. Even the attendance policy is flexible. You can miss up to 2 classes, any more than that and you aren?t supposed to pass the class. That is 25% of your classes you can miss, though I saw few who enforced the flunking when you missed 3 or more classes. The teachers are very understanding and will work with you if you have emergencies come up that prevent you coming to class. They want to see you succeed.
The school also helps you find career placement after graduation, and even prior to it. I had an issue with the local career services for awhile, as all they were doing was e-mailing out job listings off job boards. They made some changes and things got better. After graduation, I got into some free prep classes taught at the school, got a tour set up with one of the local companies along with their entrance test, and now I am working there. All of that was set up through the school. I know for a fact as well, that many of the top-performing medical students have been placed at hospitals around here through contacts with the school.I know this review is long, but I wanted to adequately share 3 years of experience while being as unbiased as possible. The school is not perfect and there are things I would like to see changed. But the fact is I am in a better place now than I was when I started three years ago. I would not have the knowledge to get the job I have now if not for attending SHC. I have also grown as a person. I?m scared of the big debt I have(though it IS lower than projected when I started school), but it seems a small price to pay to better oneself personally and professionally. The best advice I can give to anyone considering attending Stevens-Henager college is to remember that you get out of it, what you put into it. That holds true for most things in life. I encourage you to tour the school, talk with CURRENT students, meet the deans, etc. Get a feel for what the school is really like, rather than reading anonymous posts online by people who you have no idea what their real school experience was like.