Today I felt the brunt of DL’s and Adult Education’s negative reputation

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by heimer, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. heimer

    heimer New Member

    So, today, I’m talking to one of my very good friends about his hiring practices. He works in computer/network repair (think Geek Squad/Firedog) and he is constantly looking for techs. We were chatting about the percentage of applicants who possess bachelor’s degrees (about half do). We were also talking about how everyone looks good on paper and then just stinks up the place at the interview, etc.

    So, we’re chatting and he drops this bomb, “you know, whenever I see Strayer or UMUC on a resume, I just chuckle.” Now, mind you, he’s saying this and he knows full well that I got my degree from UMUC last year.

    I was floored. :eek:

    Then, I was pissed, but I kept my cool on the outside. :mad:

    He tried to back pedal his ass out of it after I said, “so, I guess you think my degree is second rate.” (This cat is 40 and doesn’t have a degree BTW.) He goes on to say, “well, um... I guess I should respect those who went back to school as an adult, regardless of where they got their degree. I mean… It’s a degree and that’s important…” Yada, yada… :rolleyes:


    I busted my butt to finish my BS, especially with EXCEL (for those of you who have earned life credits from UMUC, you know the rigor). But, here’s the reality: this cat is a hiring manager – he is the resume filter. And his mindset is probably the norm. :eek:

    So, today, I’m facing a dilemma. I am about the start the MSSL program at Mountain State and I’m thinking to myself, “by going to MSU, I’m just going to earn another second rate crap degree that won’t increase my potential in the job marketplace.”

    I haven’t paid MSU a dime (except for ordering books). I’m three quarters tempted to withdraw and try my luck at a B&M school here in the DC area. I want to enroll in the MSSL program – the format is right, the cost is right, the subject matter is right. My intent with getting a Master’s, though, was always two-fold: Personal achievement AND marketability. So, I fear with today’s episode that my endeavors at MSU will fail to deliver the latter.

    Thoughts? (I know you’ve got ‘em.) :cool:
  2. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    Don't let the ignorance of one person (who doesn't even have a degree, "crap" or otherwise) negatively impact your goals.

    On law enforcement boards, I regularly see other police officers criticize Criminal Justice degrees as "worthless". Invariably, those same people have no degree at all themselves.

    Green (jealousy) doesn't suit many people well. :D
  3. heimer

    heimer New Member

    Thanks, Bruce

    Thanks for the words, Bruce...

    I know I'm over-reacting, but I guess this "con" has been nagging away at me little by little. MSU is a forth-tier Master's University (per US News). I've been worried that people might go, "Mountain what? Never heard of it..." But I counter that in my head by saying, "an RA master's is a master's and it's commendable."

    Just not feeling too sure today about graduate school choice.

    Having said that, I know that MSU will not be my only Master's - I'll be doing an MA in communications or PR or something down the road, maybe an MBA. And I may even go the terminal route (DBA, DLS, PhD)...
  4. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    What field(s) of study interests you for your graduate degree? There may be other options with more name recognition than MSU if that's important to you (and it's a perfectly valid concern, IMO).
  5. heimer

    heimer New Member

    Bruce, I'm feeling the leadership angle for now - I've looked at Bellevue and SJCME and others. I've been pouring over the internet and this forum looking for the right program. Like I said before, I really like the format and cost of the MSU program... And after ordering books for the first semester, I'm jazzed about the content... Just the comments today really irked me.
  6. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    It's been my experience that those who don't have Bachelors degrees -- and who never will -- criticize them the most. ;)
  7. Neoplato

    Neoplato New Member

    Of course, the criticisms against graduate school are almost timeless. In the black-and-white movie A Thousand Clowns (which I saw on TV yesterday), the boss of a social worker was saying something like "You came back from graduate school with all these idealistic notions. You need more time in the field."

    However, regarding employability, your concerns seem valid. At, it does seem like 3rd and 4th tier schools do have a greater share of non-challenging, easy A courses, which is implied even in the positive reviews, e.g.:

    Of course, there are exceptions, e.g. people in this forum saying the Information Systems program at DSU is challenging.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2008
  8. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator

    People can say that about a lot of solid schools.

    There will always be naysayers.
  9. DBA_Curious

    DBA_Curious New Member

    Too true. On LinkedIn a few months ago, there was a thread about whether people should list qualifications behind their name (as in Joe XXX, MBA, CPA) and quite a few people chimed in to say "Oh no, that's so tacky!"

    But here's the rub.

    Most of the people saying that weren't credentialled. To them, it was tacky.

    So it's not tacky to wear a $1,000 watch to work, in a world in which people are starving no less, but it is tacky to 'advertise' your educational accomplishments. Drive an Escalade? Hey, no problem. Write MBA on a card, oh my, you're a braggart!

    I wouldn't sweat what anyone thinks of your degree. My guess is quite a few people 'chuckle' at his resume as well.
  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Hi Heimer - You're on the right path. Someday that guy will be working for you (and he knows it). Keep up the effort. It will pay off.
  11. Neoplato

    Neoplato New Member

    That reminds me of Joseph Campbell, the "follow your bliss" guy who Bill Moyers famously interviewed for PBS. (BTW, Campbell was a professor at Sarah Lawrence for decades. He had a MA degree from Columbia and never saw a need to pursue a PhD.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2008
  12. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    I wouldn't sweat this guy. Like Bruce said about the CJ degree, when I earned my BS all I heard for about a month was how worthless my CJ degree was, from guys who had no degree whatsoever.

    Guess what? Now I'm a hiring manager and pretty well informed on the whole online education thing...and for what it's worth I don't find your friend's hiring policy too enlightened.

    I will say one thing though, I interview WAY more stinkers than keepers. That's the way life is I suppose.
  13. Vincey37

    Vincey37 New Member

    A degree from Strayer, while possessing value and utility, IS second rate.

    Some people think when hiring managers gain more exposure to DL they will become more accepting of it. I think the opposite. If they knew just how big the academic gap was between traditional research institutions and the typical for profit was they'd realize a 2.0GPA from Flagship State U is a far better indicator of knowledge than a 4.0GPA from For Profit U.

    I took graduate business courses from Strayer. The amount of effort I put in to get an A would have earned me a C- in some non honors classes I took at my public high school. That's the sad truth.

    Are Mountain State and UMUC rigorous? I don't know. If they are, it's a shame they may get lumped in with the stunningly low baseline of quality for RA institutions.
  14. Vincey37

    Vincey37 New Member

    Well, I don't think it's just the non credentialled being jealous, although that may be part of it.

    I know at least one Big 4 accounting firm, in which everyone at the manager level or above is a CPA or a JD, prohibits the use of credentials on business cards or signatures, presumably because it would be a bit tacky.
  15. macattack

    macattack New Member

    I would choose a well-known university in your area or a national brand. Otherwise you will go through life getting pissed at the public or worse yet, becoming ashamed of your degree. There are just too many DL and part-time B&M options these days.

    Outside of this friendly board of DL buddies, there is the real-world and the first thing people are going to ask regarding your degree is "where did you earn it?" Although, I think your friend was being foolish, don't blame people for questioning a degree (particularly online) from an unknown school.

    As I have said before I am concerned about the "second rate" education being peddled currently, especially online. I attended a portion of a B&M AACSB in-residence MBA and many of you would be extremely SHOCKED at the rigor.

    Edit: OP, I'm not saying your UMUC degree or the Mountain State degree are sub-standard, however, there clearly are sub-standard programs out there.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2008
  16. heimer

    heimer New Member

    I wouldn't say that the entire UMUC degree was rigorous... The EXCEL portfolio (the portfolio by which they determine life experience credit) was a complete bear... In the end, I birthed a 120 page paper - unlike anything I had ever done before in my academic career.
  17. macattack

    macattack New Member


    How did you like UMUC? I think their MSAF is unique by combining an accounting cert and finance cert into one masters. If I could just get past the funny name and high price.

  18. heimer

    heimer New Member

    That's what gave me pause today - for every member of my family and possible employers, I'm probably going to have to explain my MSU degree and, to some degree, my UMUC degree (though in DC, UMUC is a household name). So, I can imagine this will be my obligatory line for awhile, "yeah, I'm in a master's program... At a small private university in West Virginia, Mountain State..."

    You know what makes me feel better about a B&M school - ATHLETICS. When I discovered that MSU had a decent basketball team, my legit meter bumped a few notches... Odd...
  19. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    I'd have to disagree with you based upon my own experience. Southwestern College was a non-profit and pretty rigorous even to the point of requiring a capstone research paper (like a mini-thesis) for a BS which isn’t terribly common from what I’ve been told.

    Ashford thus far (a for profit) has been equally rigorous requiring a major project for each course. Overall the schools are equal on rigor and I have been pleased with both. Of course both are traditional B&M schools who happen to have online programs; they are not virtual schools or “online” colleges in the strictest sense.

    My brother attended an AACSB accredited school for his MBA where in his first course the professor was completely uninvolved in his course and the entire summation of work for the class was exactly 2 tests. A midterm and final. No research, no papers, just reading and 2 tests. Not exactly what he expected and to be sure I was surprised as well.

    So I think the whole non-profit vs. for profit is a bunch of nonsense. It depends on the school just like the amount of learning and performance thereafter depends on the student. Granted some schools have better reputations than others but I wouldn’t call a school 2nd rate simply because the program was online or because the school wasn’t AACSB.

    But like you, I’m entitled to an opinion.
  20. heimer

    heimer New Member

    I'm in state, so the price for undergrad was very palatable... The name is funky, but it's an industry standard in DC...

    IF I HAD TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, I'm not sure I would go UMUC... In the past year I have discovered great undergrad programs for adult learners at better-known universities at a distance.


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