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Golden Gate University - San Francisco

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityB- Faculty AccessibilityA
Useful SchoolworkC+ Excess CompetitionC
Academic SuccessA- Creativity/ InnovationC
Individual ValueA University Resource UseB
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyC+ FriendlinessA-
Campus MaintenanceB+ Social LifeF
Surrounding CityA Extra CurricularsD
Describes the student body as:
Friendly, Broken Spirit

Describes the faculty as:
Friendly, Helpful

Quite Bright
Lowest Rating
Social Life
Highest Rating
Faculty Accessibility
He cares more about Social Life than the average student.
Date: Jul 27 2005
Major: Business - Management and Administration (This Major's Salary over time)
Relevance Note: My major is International Business and I work full-time and go to school full-time (12 units/semester, increasing now to 15). I have plans to transfer to another school in Washington, DC. I should say I also have friends who are in or have graduated from GGU's Law School and MBA, EMBA and DBA programs; I know my comments here tend to reflect a lot of the conversations we have all had together.

What GGU does, they do extremely well. They are an EXCELLENT school for "working adults"—quite possibly one of the best. GGU also has an excellent reputation in the business community; employers like this school and its graduates.

I fit the working adults category myself—I had a phenomenal career over the last 12 years before deciding to return and finish my undergraduate. The flexibility of their programs (in terms of schedule, unit load, etc.) is unmatched. Night, evening, weekend, online, even a few day classes. Most full-time workers who attend GGU go part-time to school. But I haven't had any resistance (though certainly the appropriate warning advice) from the school about doing both full-time. GGU is located in a highly central, very convenient location. And its degree programs are very well designed. At both the undergrad and graduate level you can be assured your degree will be focused specifically in areas that will be of direct, measurable benefit to your profession. However, at the undergraduate level, this can come at the expense of "skimping" on some of the lower level courses of history, literature and the arts—courses that make someone a more rounded, knowledgeable and valuable individual. (To be fair, however, this may also be why GGU is primarily a graduate school with a much smaller undergrad division).

If you are looking for a more traditional education—at the either the undergrad or grad level—consider ALL of your options very hard before deciding on GGU. This school is not for everyone. It is not as challenging as most seem to expect, at least in my program (I have the heard the opposite about the school's top-rated accounting program as well as the law school). The student body is filled with a lot of highly driven, motivated and certainly SMART people—MANY of whom say they are there because they get it largely if not fully reimbursed by their employers. (At $12-13k per year it is probably one of the cheapest private schools around.) However, many of the students seem broken hearted and disconnected. With an average student age in the mid-30s, I would think that may be largely because many of the students have been through great trials in life, and are struggling to get ahead in their lives—wishing they went to (or could have gone to) college earlier in life. But that said, the quality of students is high too—they are definitely bright and motivated.

This is a VERY international school. I would estimate at least half of the student body across all degree and certificate programs is from another country. Personally, I think this is one of the school's strongest advantages.

The quality of instructors is generally VERY high. There are a LOT of professors at GGU with degrees from (and for many, teaching experiences at) top-rated universities all over the country: MIT, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, UC Berkeley, Wharton, and so on. Most of the professors know their material VERY well and are quite adept at engaging students into the curriculum. This is one of the reasons I chose this school—the quality of professors, and the fact that most have also had notable working experience in their fields. (I wanted academic theory AND a practical perspective.) In general, however, the "challenge level" of the school has been lower than I expected for professors with as strong backgrounds as they have. Other than mathematics (which has never been an area of particular interest or skill for me), I have really only had a couple courses that were VERY challenging: micro- and macro-economics (and no, it wasn't the math part of econ that was a challenge…the instructor genuinely did challenge us to think, rethink and apply economics at every level).

This is not a school for someone looking for a social life. There is NO social life at GGU (though you may or may not find it elsewhere in the city)! I'm not sure why—perhaps the "working adults" thing means most of them are either in relationships (not the case with those I've met, however) or too busy juggling full-time work and part-time or full-time studying. I don't find the students in any of the schools here to be particularly approachable. They are very friendly—definitely not rude or arrogant, nor even shy. Just not that engaged with others around them.

Related to that, there are only a few clubs or organizations at GGU. The Chi Pi Alpha accounting club is supposed to be top-notch and VERY active. But I wouldn't know personally as I'm not in accounting. There are a few other clubs for international students (2 Thai clubs, Japanese, Muslim, Indonesian), and there is an American Marketing Association group at the school. That's it. The SGA has flyers all over to encourage new clubs, but that's about the extent of the school's efforts to expand socially. Maybe a couple times a year there's social events (dances, for example) at rented facilities nearby. I heard about them from a flyer I stumbled across—not from any kind of direct communication or even the newsletter, unfortunately. Most people were surprise and hadn't known about it when I discussed it with them. In general there is very limited extracurricular opportunity available through the school itself. If there are other opportunities, I would surmise that almost no one in the student body knows about them. The perspective among people I've spoken with at the school (an awful lot of them) is almost universal in this respect. But this ties back to the whole thing about the school doing well with what it intends to do. This is not a traditional university and anyone looking for one will probably be quite disappointed. This school focuses on working adults who, quite frankly, most likely don't have time for extracurricular engagements on top of work, family, and school. For these people, this is an EXCELLENT school to be at.

If you are moderate or conservative, you will find this to be a rather overtly liberal school. My undergrad English classes, for example, focused more on books about the Vietnam war and extremely liberal social perspectives than it did on traditional literature. HOWEVER, to be fair, ALL of my instructors thus far have been open-minded and accepting of countering points of view. I have never been down-graded for disagreeing or offering a different perspective. I have always felt out of place :), but I have NEVER felt I'm in a harmful or demeaning environment. I praise the school for this and find it one of their greatest attributes: open-mindedness goes a long, long way in my book for that SHOULD be the very essence of academia.

If you plan to go to GGU full-time and either not work at all or only work part-time, start saving up or planning for financial aid as early as possible. There are no residence halls or dorm facilities here. I personally didn't care as I don't enjoy living in dorms. However, GGU is NOT in a cheap city in which to live. For a comfortable, typically VERY small, average San Francisco bedroom your rent will be at least $800-850 in most neighborhoods, not including utilities. You can commute to the school from outside SF proper (such as the East Bay), and pay a little less. I live on Alameda island on the east side of the Bay (next to Oakland) where I pay $1350 for a 2 bedroom / 1 bath apartment that I split with a roomate. Graduate students with Stafford loans may do a little better than most students as the tuition is far more modest than most private schools and the federal govn't offers nearly $19,000 a year in graduate loan money. However, it is very easy to spend $20,000 a year just living in this area.

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