Report: #378254

Complaint Review: Westwood College

  • Submitted: Fri, October 03, 2008
  • Updated: Mon, December 22, 2008
  • Reported By: Chicago Illinois
  • Westwood College
    17 State Street
    Chicago, Illinois

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After only one year of westwood college, I went from an intimidated young adult returning to school, to a confident decision maker by removing myself from such an unorganized institution. I was repeatedly reminded of weakness in the organization by the constant change of authority.

Every week, a new member of staff would be replaced, especially in the financial aid department. I was Already swallowing my pride and kicking myself for the \Sallie Mae loans i have to repay. After healing from a surgery 1 year after leaving Westwood, i was contacted by a collections recovery, telling me i have a 15000 loan and if i don't pay it back now im going to be in a lot of trouble!!

I have my financial aid packet and i have no record of any such loan. i know i was taken advantage of because i made sure i knew everything i signed. how can this happen to so many students? il make sure everyone hears about just how shady this school is. They take advantage of young eager to learn individuals.

Chicago, Illinois
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/03/2008 12:02 PM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Suggestion

Former Westwood Student who got *****

AUTHOR: Specialj1970 - (U.S.A.)

We are starting a class action lawsuit against Westwood please email me at (((ROR REDACTED))) to help stop Westwood and it's fraudulent practices.

CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

What an unethical joke of a college

AUTHOR: J.r. - (U.S.A.)

As an ex employee of Westwood College, I enjoyed reading you post. Your post has even more led me believe that Westood is a joke of a college. I can't believe students are paying Westood $70,000 for uneducated professors, foosball tables, and for their records to be left out in the open. To the poster above, I would not feel sorry for trying to do the right thing about this place. I believe that you are trying to change some of their unethical practices and I applaud you for doing so. I personally had to quit my job at Westwood (admissions rep) because I could stand their practices and what they stood for. It had to be the worst job I ever had. However, at least now I can inform and warn others about his place.
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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Rebuttal to my Rebuttal

AUTHOR: Westwoodanon - (U.S.A.)

OK, so I guess my campus caught wind of what im saying about the school. It seems as though everybody on campus is taking this as a personal blow to them. Now I can see how some of the things I have said can be taken the wrong way and maybe even taken out of context to incriminate employees and their jobs.
This is not what Im trying to do here. Everything that I have been saying is out of my own personal experience and research at westwood. I have made many close friends at westwood, and yes as the employees used to think (i doubt they do anymore) I have considered a handful of them to be like family. I've tried explaining that this isn't about them but moreso my education and it's worth. It seems as though I just don't have the right way of saying things.
I will admit that my report was written on somewhat of a rage but I am not going to take back anything I've said about the education I've recieved and CDS. I just can't because I believe it to be true, regardless of what other students get.
Im not going to say that other students can't be happy at this school, but I am one of the students who got way less than what I was looking for.
AGAIN, I still feel that some of the employees at westwood are like family to me contrary to what they now think of me. Im sorry that I hurt people with my claims, these claims are meant only to be taken as my opinion on why i didn't get as good an education as I believe I should've.
So I've burned my relationships with a good friend and two good employers, this sucks for me, but anything that I have said I feel is not something that can be fixed by a campus. This is more of a corporate problem to me, because Im sure that the budgets set for the campuses are decided by corporate offices, and things promised in commercials and program books are set by the corporate office.
I really don't know what else to say about the subject, but again, I am sorry to anybody that I hurt, dissapointed or ruined.

The bottom line is, our education department was run to the best of its ability. I understand that completely. I worked closely with a lot of good people. What I gather from my own knowledge is that we were not given the budget or just not given it at the right time to take care of some things that could use an overhaul in the offices.
Im not going to name names, but YES everybody in the education department worked harder than I've known other companies to operate. They have helped we as well as many other students with numerous problems that I'm sure other colleges would've not cared about.

I think that maybe I just came off as too nice of a person and people just kinda brushed my complaints to the side. This was my own fault I guess. But it doesn't change the fact that with my degree I would not feel comfortable in any 3d design job. We just weren't taught in a structured way and we weren't taught a diverse pallete of tools and techniques that all companies are asking for.
I went for 3D Animation, but as I've said numerous times to fellow students and friends, our class was never taught 3D animation. Only simple modelling techniques and minimal effects rendering. If I were to get a job at any 3d company, they would ask me to do things that I wouldn't know how to do.

I guess there's nothing more to say other than I'm truly sorry that some of my words were taken out of context or that I just said things the wrong way. This isn't about my job I had at Westwood, but my education, pure and simple.
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#4 UPDATE Employee

Im hoping to do something about this

AUTHOR: Westwoodanon - (U.S.A.)

I've been reading these rip off reports on Westwood for quite some time now. All that time I've also been a student at the school. Im glad to see that there are so many people who feel the same way I do.

Im writing a serious paper for all the surrounding news channels to see if we can get our voices heard about this.

I have included pictures in my report, however, they won't show up on here, but there are still explanations. Read on if you are interested:

Dear News Channel XXX,
I am writing to you in hopes of a sort of answer to a lot of prayers out there. As of right now I am going to remain anonymous throughout the letter but I will give you a story that I think, along with a lot of other people, would be worth investigating.
I am a student at Westwood College as well as an Employee. I recently graduated and am not so sure that the degree I obtained was worth it. Just to clarify, I am not writing this letter out of hatred or vengeance. I am simply expressing what I could imagine about 80 90% of Westwood students would agree with. If you could hear me out, it would be much appreciated, as I am putting a lot of my time into this so that maybe one day justice will come out of this. What I aim to do is to inform you that Westwood College is only here to take our money and give very little back. I am not saying that Westwood is a monster that has come to destroy us or anything, but simply that for an education costing students roughly $70,000, they do not get what they are paying for.
Now, Im not an amazing investigator or anything like that, but I am doing my research on this. I am trying to use my status as an employee to try and get my story, and many others stories across to some kind of outlet. Im not very wealthy and can't afford to go around talking with lawyers about this, although I would like to one day find out from their point of view what can be done to justify the situation. Instead I come to you, on behalf of a large group of people who feel the same way I do about this college. So, let me tell you a bit about my history and experience with the college.
I started back in 2005. I was given a tour of the school and a rundown of how the school operates from an Admissions Representative. They told me about the great hands on experience, and job placement that the school has to offer which made me feel it was a good choice to attend this school. During my first few terms there, everything was going fine. This was my first college experience and I was generally enjoying the atmosphere. My class started out with classes such as Computer Applications which taught us Word, Excel, etc.simple but structured. We also had our first Graphic Design classes (I am in the Graphic Design program). Our first two teachers seemed like exact opposites of each other. For our computer design class, we had a woman in her late 20s or mid 30s that taught a VERY structured class. Everything we did had a deadline and had to be done in a professional manner. It was a great class that taught me a lot. I think this was because the teacher had a job outside of the school doing the same thing. The other teacher who taught traditional drawing, was very laid back and when I say laid back I mean laid back. You would come to class and he would tell you the general layout for what he wanted done. That was it, you would continue your work until the class was over, meanwhile hearing stories about the teacher's friends, girlfriends, bears games, whatever. This is how the rest of that term would be spent. There was no real structure to this class.
As we progressed on through more terms, we kept getting this teacher for other classes, including computer design classes. I believe during one of these classes that the teacher told us flat out that he didn't know how to use the program and that the school gave him a book to teach out of. Needless to say, we didn't learn very much in that class. After reporting this to numerous employees of the college, it seems as though it was just brushed off and nothing changed until about a year and a half later when he was let go. It took way too long to make any difference to my class. To summarize what would take me pages and pages to explain, most of the teachers in the graphic design program are placed in classes that they don't have any experience with, handed a book and syllabus and are expected to teach the class. This has happened with numerous teachers over the years. There have been many classes that I've sat in where I haven't learned much more than a professional could teach me in 20 minutes (Westwood classes are generally 4 hours long).
The teachers, however, are not the biggest problem at Westwood. There are numerous other flaws in this system. The pictures I have attached will be explained more in these next few paragraphs.
These two pictures were taken in the office that we work in. All those files you see are student files that need to be filed away into their personal records. We're looking at about 5 months worth of files all mixed up with each other because there are some files that somehow we can't find anywhere even though we never move files without having somebody sign a slip that replaces the file temporarily.
This is our Lost Souls box. All the files we've tried locating that we just can't find. (We will search everywhere to find these even downstairs through the archives yet nothing will turn up) Some of these students may be attending school and these papers may explain any action they are taking with their program from withdrawing to financial aid money but without the file, nothing can be explained if the student encounters any problems. Im sure there are some important papers in there with my name on them as well. They probably won't get filed for another couple months or even years. It's just a disaster. I have been encouraging the school for almost two years to go electronic. The student files should be kept in a database on a master computer and any important papers like this could be looked up, printed, sent, faxed etc. But instead of doing anything about it, we are still filing single slips of papers for hours on end. It doesn't seem to be getting us anywhere because for every 100 papers you get another stack within the next couple minutes.

These two pictures are Student Files. They are sitting out in the open. They are not in a fireproof filing cabinet with locks because we have run out of room to store them. Our current filing cabinets are packed to the brim, making it hard to even pull files out anymore. We've been requesting more cabinets for the past 6 months or so but have yet to see any. If there were by some chance a fire, these files would be burnt up and there would be no records of these students anymore. There are no back-ups, that's it. Our office is just getting too small to support all of the files coming in. We have also been asking if we could move our office right across the hall into the printing room which can accommodate at least 10 or so filing cabinets and still leave ample room for storage of miscellaneous boxes. There has to be some sort of law about these files not being in a safe environment, it could ruin a student if these were destroyed (my file is in there as well).

This picture is just to show that this file has been in our office since 2006. I blurred out the names for safety reasons. This student is transferring from Jamaica and this paper is to certify that her transcripts from High School have been received and processed; sounds important to me. We'll keep this in a box in case the file shows up down the road. This is something that can't be disregarded but there isn't much we can do about it.
Let's move on to some of the technical aspects around the school and some general causes for concern.

These are two of the computers in one of the design rooms. They seem to be black screened due to a graphics card problem. From reading the screen, it looks like there should be a simple fix to this, but why are they just sitting here on a class day, during class hours. Nobody is working on them. The IT department is comprised of 3 workers. 2 of those are student workers with 1 not having ANY IT experience (he's construction management) and the other guy got the job through the last education director who is not working with us anymore due to some touchy issues; sounds reliable right?
Anyway, the bottom line is, my class has been complaining about the computers in this school since the first couple of terms we have been here. I've seen one or two upgrades in systems, however, keeping the computers running seems to be a very big problem. Sometimes a computer will turn on but the screen will not work, move to another computer and it will just happen again until you finally find the right computer. Programs crash on you left and right, leaving your work ruined or just erased. I speculate that this is due to all of the computers using ONE license for the 100 or so computers with the program installed.

Instead our money is spent on things like this; fooseball, 1 of 3 HD Tvs; some basketball game and the third one being an Xbox 360 Cable. The system is never in here though, it's usually in the IT room being played by the IT; One time walking past the room (which is locked and no windows) I could hear the sounds of Halo being played. Shouldn't they be fixing our computers?
This last picture I just threw in there because I think it's funny. Well let me rephrase that, not funny in a good way. These are the kinds of job opportunities you see all over Westwood. Jewel-Osco, UPS, Hotels, Best Buy. A lot of these places offer nothing of interest in your field. If I wanted to work at Jewel-Osco or UPS I wouldn't be going to college. I want to see REAL job postings. Jobs that I am qualified for. However if you go to Career Development Services you are given lists of jobs that you are either Under-Qualified for or way Over-Qualified for. Sitting with them through some of the job searches all they do is go to their career search webpage and click a field and then there are almost 50 different sub categories. Things I have never heard of, which are all clicked to include in your search. So they let you walk out with 4-5 pages of job listings that require experience with tools or program you have never heard of or never been taught. It makes you feel like a fool and makes you really question, Was I taught the essential skills I need to get a job in my field?. It really scares me to think that I will be in debt $70,000 for next to nothing.
I am very literal when I say I could have learned what I was taught at Westwood by reading a few books for a couple days. I was just too hopeful for something to happen at this school and it ruined what could have been a worthwhile education. I would gladly trade in my degree for my money back, it just was not worth it.
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