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September 21, 2006

University of Phoenix

Well, it's been forever since I blogged. I doubt there's too many people out there that care, but I personally feel guilty because it was something that I really want to maintain. So, after my long hiatus, I'm now going to get back to work on this rascal.

On a completely personal note, I've registered with the University of Phoenix to start taking classes. It's actually Axia College which is UoP's attempt to attract younger students with fewer credits to transfer in. I'm pretty excited to finally get going. I got out of the Air Force over 6 years ago and have been wanting to go to school, but a lack of time and money (and an abundance of laziness) conspired to keep me uneducated.

My GI Bill benefits expire in a little over 3 years, so if I'm going to use them, I've got to get going. I almost registered with UoP about a year ago, but I was scared that even with the GI Bill, I'd end up paying too much. You pay a premium at UoP for the luxury of being able to attend school from your computer. Axia is actually a little cheaper than UoP, but still much more than comparable classes at most community colleges.

Another reason I stopped myself from registering last year were all the horror stories some current and former UoP students have posted online. The main complaints seem to be hard sales tactics (UoP is a for-profit school), unresponsive employees, high prices, easy As, monkeying with financial aid and money, no admission standards worth mentioning, and employers' poor view of UoP degrees...pretty much everything any school does not want to get a reputation for.

For a summary of UoP's infamy, check out UniversityofPhoenixSucks.com. There are a lot of pissed people over there. They have a lot of information and links to (mostly) negative information about UoP. I discount a big chunk of them because during the course of a bitch-thread it turns out they failed to file some paperwork, didn't follow up like they should have, flunked out, or other misdeeds that cast little or no fault on UoP. Now, there are plenty others that seem to have legitimate complaints, but once you exclude the complainers, you are left with what appears to be a level of animosity that is to be expected to be directed at what is said to be the largest private school in the US.

Despite the negativity, I'm going to give it a try because there are some advantages like their experience administering online classes and speed with which I can finish my Associates Degree. My plan is to try and finish my Associates at Axia, then evaluate if I want to stick with UoP, or move on to a more traditional school that offers online degrees. Schools like the University of Kansas and University of Houston offer online degrees; I'm thinking I'd feel more confidant telling potential employers that my Bachelor's Degree is from one of those places rather than the University of Phoenix. This shockingly unbiased-seeming website maintains a list of schools that offer online degrees. I'm not ruling out the possibility of finishing at UoP, I'll just have to see how the Associates goes.

It's hard to find quality, unbiased information about online schools because so many of them have affiliate programs where webmasters get paid for referring potential students. It's too bad because I'm guessing there must be people out there who've had favorable experiences (there are some at UoPSucks.com; often labeled UoP "plants"), but it's hard to find them because the search engines are packed with sites trying to get $$ by referring you to the UoP.

So I'm going into a situation with my eyes open, and willing to take a chance that UoP isn't as bad as some say. So far my experience has been really good (of course they want my tuition). The few people I've talked to have been able to usher me right through the process of getting my GI Bill going and applying for financial aid and grants.

I start classes on Monday. I'll post further impressions as I get deeper into it.

Posted 11 years, 9 months ago on September 21, 2006
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