ED Magedson – Founder
Westwood College Online10249 Church Ranch Way Westminster , Colorado USA
Westwood College Online Westwood College Online College or University Westminster Colorado
I started attending Westwood College in 2008 after I had went through a gamete of online schools trying to find something that would work with my schedule. I had just gotten out of the military and I had just had my daughter so I felt that it would be a good time for me to go back to school and pursue a degree to get a better paying job in the workforce. This process started in 2006 and I thought I was doing the best for my family attempting to go to school, with a newborn baby the appeal of taking my classes online was very high and I felt I was ready to take the next step.
Unfortunately, a lot of the reports that are now first-hand knowledge were not there in 2006. You'd see something here and there - you'd see one here and there but not in any sort of volume that would raise a red flag or have a buyer beware attached to it. I transferred my credits to Westwood from another online school and they did not accept them all (which I found ironic considering they were the least accredited of the 3 schools I went to (again found out later). I thought okay well I am not completely starting over so I'll hit the ground running and attempt to get this degree knocked out in a few years. I originally enrolled as a Game Art and Design student which was the worst choice I think any person can make. The appeal of this program to gamers is undeniable but as I learned along the way while in the program, it more than most programs is virtually unemployable and I constantly expressed fears to the 'career advisor', I use that term loosely, that the failure rate and what steps are taken exactly to help the student with employment in such a highly competitive field are taken?
Of course there was never an answer for these questions. It became pretty clear to me along the way you had people in there that couldn't even draw (which I would think to be pretty important in a Game ART program). The more courses I took the more anxious I got about the employability - they were teaching programs that most studios weren't using (I did that much research) and a lot of the materials seemed not geared enough toward gaming itself. During the summer over 2010 I had a family emergency and did not confirm my courses. I had been at Westwood now 2 years and about 1/2 through my degree. I emphasized to my counselor that I want to take the Gen Eds right now because I may not stay in the program. Since I wasn't enrolled I was dropped from the school (they don't do leaves of absences unless it was a medical reason for you, which was a change my other school had allowed students to take 2 during their tenure).
At this point I had already spent 4 years in online universities, I attempted to transfer my credits to a local community college which of course did not take any of them so now I was trapped.. I either finish my degree online and show something for the $30,000 in debt I was (at that point) or I start over.. I should have stopped there but I am a resilent person, I thought it couldn't happen to me I will make it work... I called Westwood to re-enroll and they had stopped enrolling people for their GAD program (I assume because of the Federal pressure that was going on and the fact their GAD program unless you planned on being an independent studio you were not going to be employed at the end of it). So to get back in I had to endure a waiver process and I decided well now is as good as any to change my program into what I felt may be a more employable program (again I use that loosely).
I enrolled in their Web and Multimedia Design program, I had previous Web Design experience so I was a self-taught designer to this point. I felt a degree may validate my skill-level. In the transition (and because they had gone through 2 curriculum changes) I had lost some of my credits but it wasn't insurmountable. I started in their program and it became pretty clear early on you had people who couldn't design a basic page to save their life (again I know people are learning how to do this but it just looked like some people didn't take their career investment as seriously as I did). I plugged away through the course, slowed down by a medical leave of absence that I did have to take, but I was on track to finish my program by 2013, yes 7 years of going to school for a Bachelors, I am not proud of that.
I made it to the final classes that had to deal with your portfolios and quite honestly there were people who were in there that again couldn't put together a basic page. This was the LAST class, how can you go through 3 years or whatever and continue to pass courses when it's so obvious you can't design a page. If it wasn't obvious before it was obvious now this was a degree mill and regardless of my efforts (I graduated Summa c*m Laude which I was proud of except I think people with half my effort could have done the same). Throughout my Westwood career the school lost accreditation, attempted to gain accreditation from HLC (and failed), and went through advisors like they were toilet paper. By the end I had had 4 career counselors and 5 enrollment counselors which really speaks to the industry of the for-profit education colleges.
I have essentially wasted 7 years of my life, over $60,000, my military education benefits for a degree that is worthless. I can't get a second look from any employer and most of what I have attempted to apply for are well below what their statistics promise you in pay. My portfolio wound up being unfinished and I was so discouraged at the end of my class I felt like I was being pushed to design something that wasn't in essence who I was. I continued to try to work with the department to shore up my portfolio but most of the time I would never receive a reply to my emails (so much for student support after graduation). I gave up after the 3rd attempt to work with the head of the department (who claimed she knew people in my area that I may have an in with, yeah right - that was never going to happen).
The career services are a joke, one of the guys I spoke with prior to moving said he'd call me (that never happened) and most of the time they drop off the grid so I don't hear from any of them (despite them saying they'll check in with me). I am one of the many statistics of online college degree holders who cannot get employed for what they paid for and you would think that would matter to them but it doesn't. All online schools that are for-profit are degree factories, they promise no placement because they know they are teaching you skills that are dated. My student loans have now come due and I have absolutely nothing to show for my degree, I can't even get an internship with a company at this juncture.
I wish I could go back and have a do-over and I wish that the government would do something with these for-profit degree factories who use Federal Funds (and oftentimes the Fed doesn't get their money back as students default due to the fact they just aren't employable). I should have stopped after my gut-feeling was what it was but I didn't want to be a quitter.. I had tied up a lot of funds in doing this and I was going to finish it. Unfortunately for me and a lot of students who take the online university route I have no job to show for my efforts and a lot of debt.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/24/2014 12:01 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/westwood-college-online/westminster-colorado-co/westwood-college-online-westwood-college-online-college-or-university-westminster-color-1133048. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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