advice on which graduate program I should pursue

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by dlbb, May 14, 2012.

  1. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    I'm a new member of this forum, but I have been reading it for a few months now. I have already carefully examined about 50 graduate programs, using this site and others as a guide, before deciding which schools to apply to. I have been accepted to some, and others I have yet to hear back from.

    I have been accepted to Tartleton State University for their MSIS program, Davenport University* for their MSIA program, University of Dallas for their MS Cybersecurity program, and Colorado State University for their CIS MS program.

    I have a very high gpa and pretty high GRE scores. My first choice is DSU's MS program in IA because of the cost, and my searches on this forum have indicated that their doctoral program in CIS is very rigorous as far as admissions, given that they seemingly rejected some highly qualified candidates. I have not heard back from them yet. If I were to do the IA MS at DSU, I would probably try for an MS in CIS from there or somewhere else later on.

    My background is an AAAS in Networking and an unrelated BA from a state university with a minor in MIS. I have little IT work experience and am employed in an unrelated, non-professional field. My long term goal would be to do some kind of IT, be a network administrator, or perhaps get into security/IA (although I understand it is very competitive and I would probably need more real work experience first). I'm in my late 20's.

    One thing I want to have is a degree - above the AA level - that is in some IT field - whether CIS or Information Assurance. I really am just looking for an entry level IT job that can grow into something and lead to other progressively better paying IT opportunities. I am not interested in studying CS. I don't have a background in physics or advanced mathematics.

    I also want to note that Davenport University has made me extremely suspicious that they could perhaps have less than rigorous standards for admissions. I received emails and phone calls almost immediately after applying, telling me things along the lines of the school being "awesome." It did not appear very professional or academic. This was before they received my GRE results, any of my letters of recommendation, or even my transcripts. I also received a letter offering me financial aid before they received any of the above mentioned items. Finally, I also received an unsolicited email telling me that if I wanted to get started on their summer program, I would need to get in touch with them by May 14th. (I have no desire to attend during the summer, and I believe I indicated this.) When I picked out places to apply to, I was only interested in reputable, brick and mortar institutions that have at least someone rigorous admission standards. I am disappointed I had to waste my time and energy applying to them when they apparently have such loose admission standards. I should also note that although I had been offered financial aid and asked to enroll for a summer program, I have never received any message that indicated I was accepted into the program. Perhaps everyone who applies is accepted, and so indicating such is an unnecessary formality?

    I also applied to the University of Memphis for their MS in Applied Computer Science. I received an email indicated they did not receive my transcripts from my previous three undergraduate schools, and I wrote them back indicating how I found it rather odd that every other school I applied to received my transcripts weeks ago, yet they somehow did not receive my transcripts from not one, but three separate institutions. I asked them to clarify their mailing address, and I provided the address that I had them sent to (which was identical to the one on their web site). Although this was more than a week ago, I have yet to hear back. I am not too concerned though. I certainly will not pay to have my transcripts resent from three different undergrad colleges.

    I was somewhat excited about CSU when I applied, but now I have learned that it is a "global" campus that is exclusively online. I don't really want that label as I understand not every employer is as accepting of online studies.

    My second choice probably would be Tarleton State University if I can't get into DSU. Tarleton is part of the Texas A & M system. My question for the esteemed members of this board is whether or not they agree with my decision? University of Dallas also seems nice, but I am not sure the extra cost would be justified. I have avoided applying to very expensive schools, some of which may have higher reputations than the places I applied to, because I likely will pursue additional studies later on, and I cannot justify the cost.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!


    Welcome to the family as well as the late twenty era, I am in the same boat. First of all, where do you live? Most of the time that employers do not raise their eyebrows for distance learning degree. As long as the degree is regional accredited, or well known school such as the Colorado State University degree. Almost everybody knows about Colorado State University, which I do not think Colorado State University would label Global nor Online in your degree or degree diploma itself. Not many people know where is Tarleton State University, I know it is in Stephenville, TX; however, don't assume people know the school exist. Here is my recommendation for the college degree and school.

    If you plan to stay in the IT - Networking:
    - MS in Telecommunications
    - MS in Information Technology

    Certification: CompTIA Network+, Cisco: CCNA, CCNP, CCIE, CCA

    IT - Information Security/Assurance
    - MS in Cyber Security
    - MS in Information Security
    - MS in Information Assurance
    Certification: CompTIA Security+, Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP),

    All the schools you have list, I would recommend to choose as the following:
    1) Colorado State University
    2) University of Dallas
    3) Davenport University
    4) Tarleton State University

    As far as your experience with Davenport University, I understand how you feel. I had the same experience at Capella University for Ph.D in Information Technology and Colorado Technical University for Doctorate in Computer Science - Information Assurance. I dropped out the program at Capella University because the program was not really technical. I am accepted to Colorado Technical University, but I am fear about school reputation and professional Doctorate over academia Doctorate. Since you choose University of Dallas and Tarlton State University, I assume you live around that area? I had great experience with Southern Methodist University's Master of Science in Telecommunications. Yes, the price is beyond imagination...maybe it worth if you choose Master degree as your terminal degree.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2012
  3. novadar

    novadar Member

    As an IT pro for 15 plus years, get the best name you can. Based on your list go with Colorado State University. Only the HR folks sweat the small stuff. The best "name" is all most folks will remember.
  4. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    Thank you for your response. I have read a number of your posts on this site and appreciate the time and effort in responding.

    My response is, I wonder if CSU really is such a well known college? I concede that it is more known than some of the other ones, but it doesn't strike me as a highly well known or ultra prestigious university. Would it be known to people outside of distance learning circles or the surrounding region? I had never heard of it. I am in the Pacific Northwest area.

    From what I read online on the degreeinfo forums, it sounds like the CSU program is not very demanding, except apparently for the last course. It seems like DSU might be more rigorous. I am also concerned that CSU's master's in CIS is a master of science in business administration (MSBA), which I find to be a bit unusual. I have certainly never heard of an MSBA previously. Although I have no plans to pursue doctoral studies now, if I were to ever change my mind, wouldn't that be a hindrance?

    One other element that will be important to me is whether or not I could get work study. I do have a place in town that would hire me if I got work study. I just spoke to CSU's financial aid office, and they said they do not offer work study for distance students, only for campus based courses. That kind of discriminatory policy does not sit well with me. I would prefer a more "separate but equal" approach to distance learning from a college, offering the same benefits and demanding the same in terms of rigor for all students. I do not know whether or not the other schools will offer work study or not, nor whether I would qualify given it being so late in the year and the distinct possibility of available funds already having been allocated.

    I see DSU is ranked 81 in the midwest, CSU 128 nationally, University of Dalls is #14 in the west, Davenport unranked, and Tarleton is rank unpublished. I wonder why you view DSU so poorly as to not make your list of recommended schools, as it has been my top choice.
  5. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    Tarleton said they give work study to both graduate students as well as distance students. They indicated I wouldn't find out until probably July. It's nice to know some places don't discriminate against distance students as CSU apparently does.

    Got an acceptance from University of Memphis.

    Still have not heard back from DSU.

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