should I take the University of Phoenix off my resume?

A reader writes:

I’ve got an MBA from University of Phoenix and at first I was really proud of it. I’d worked really hard to get through the corporate finance classes. Marketing, management, human resources…it all seemed pretty standard stuff for an MBA, only with no PowerPoint presentations since everything was online. I thought I should get some credit for being able to stick with a program independently. Now University of Phoenix has a lot of bad press and it’s not going away. (I should never have to argue with a hiring manager that my school really is accredited, should I?) Does having this degree on my resume make me look like I’m trying to scam the company?

I’ve had interviews, but I’ve basically been unemployed for two years. I’ve actually gone back to school – University of Maryland this time – for an MS in Accounting. I’m sick of school. My education has never helped me to get a job. I don’t know what to do.

This might be controversial, but honestly, I’d seriously consider taking it off your resume.

University of Phoenix has such a terrible reputation with most people that its presence on your resume can do more harm than good. Whether or not it’s true in your specific situation and with the specific education you received there, it signals to an awful lot of people “this person doesn’t have a sufficiently high bar for academics and/or doesn’t realize that this isn’t equivalent to a degree from a nonprofit, properly accredited, more rigorous school.”

So many hiring managers cringe when they see it on people’s resumes, and it’s so likely to raise questions about critical thinking skills and intellectual rigor, whether or not that’s justified, that in most cases it’s not going to worth having it on there. It’s intended to signal a plus (a degree!) but in many cases will end up signaling a minus.

I’m sorry!

{ 871 comments… read them below }

  1. Mike C.*

    I have to agree here. For good or bad, the reputation of your alma mater heavily colors the value of your degree.

    It’s totally not your fault though. Best of luck!

    1. sally*

      Also, sometimes hiring managers think you’re overqualified if you have a masters degree… Depending on the job of course.

      1. Red*

        This happened to me. Eventually I started thinking about dropping it from my resume. Fortunately I managed to get fully employed before I had to go there.

    2. CA Admin*

      Reputation is hugely important. It’s built on years of good results in measurable categories, not just “people seem to be smart here” feelings.

      Some things that matter toward reputation/rankings:
      -SAT/ACT/GPA scores for admitted students
      -percent who complete the degree in 5 years
      -percent of graduates who’re employed in their field after 90 days/3 months/6 months/1 year
      -percent of former students who default on their loans
      -salaries of former graduates
      -percent of students who pass their licensing exams (for applicable programs)
      -percent of students who go on to get higher level degrees
      -percent of graduates who support their institution, monetarily or with volunteering

      These things matter. OP, claiming that you got a great education while disregarding why the reputation is terrible makes you seem naive and combative.

  2. Cat*

    Good advice, but depressing – it makes me angry that schools have been allowed to take advantage of students this way.

      1. Noelle*

        And non-profit schools too, honestly. I recently learned a friend of mine finished undergrad with over $120,000 in student loan debt from a non-profit school. I really question whether that amount of money is worth what you get these days.

        1. JB*

          Agreed–just ask anyone graduating from a law school that isn’t one of the very small number of schools that are in the top national rankings. But for-profit schools (except maybe the ones like what Sam is describing) are worse for a variety of reasons.

          1. Noelle*

            I agree with that – if nothing else, the fact that the reputation for non-profit schools is so much better.

        2. Samantha*

          Have you seen the CNN film Ivory Tower? It asks the same question. Really, really interesting.

          1. Noelle*

            I haven’t, but I’ll check it out! I graduated in 2007 so I was lucky it was before the recession. But it wasn’t really luck, it was because they’d capped my financial aid and I really could not afford another semester there. In retrospect I’m glad I stuck it out, but it does make you question why you’re paying not only thousands of dollars a semester, but at a rate of inflation that is triple the rate of the economy overall. I definitely felt (and still feel) that my college cared more about money than me. I still see that now, when they ask me for money for a brand new dorm or to grow their endowment. Uh, how about you help students pay for their education and find jobs?

            1. Gandalf the Nude*

              Oh, man, did you graduate from my alma mater? No joke, they distributed alumni donation envelopes with our move out paperwork the day of graduation.

            2. Traveler*

              It’s seriously infuriating. How about I’ll start donating to you, when I get to stop those mandatory donation checks I already write every month?

              1. Noelle*

                I sometimes think the government should change the requirements for colleges. Maybe something like, students aren’t allowed to defer or reduce the amount they pay on student loans, but if they can’t afford the payment, the college has to pay the difference. Schools should have a lot more skin in the game than they currently have.

                1. Traveler*

                  They really should. Though, I’ve read articles that Sweet Briar is the canary in the mine. That if schools/loan companies continue as they are, so many people will default that the system is doomed to collapse on itself much the way the housing market did. The way the student loan bubble is mimicking the housing bubble is terrifying.

                2. Agent*

                  That is a fantastic idea. My college’s career services was a joke. I went to a small liberal arts school in the middle of nowhere, and if I had to do it again, I’d meet with their career services ahead of time. See what sort of jobs are on the job board, if they only offer undesirable local jobs, if the career services staff seems truly engaged in helping you find work. If they had skin in the game, as you describe, something tells me that career services would have been a whole lot more robust.

        3. John*

          What if that person used the $120K to start a business? Ie. go in partnership with one or two young plumbers or electricians to start a company? I think too much emphasis is placed on attending college when it is not the solution to lifelong employment for many people. Public high schools should have two tracks: college preparatory and vocational. Imagine if when you graduated from high school you were a licensed plumber, HVAC licensed, auto mechanic, etc. These professions make as much or more than nurses, teachers, etc.

          1. Traveler*

            But no one would have loaned an 18-22 year old with little credit history and even less understanding of the world at large 120K.

          2. JB*

            I totally agree, as long as the division isn’t mandatory. Other countries have or had those divisions, and I don’t think it’s right to force someone into one group or the other, particularly since they can be based on measurements that aren’t accurate or fair. But I do think that kids should have the option for that.

            1. Snargulfuss*

              Part of the problem, though, is that we expect teenagers/young adults to be making decisions about career paths when they have relatively little experience with the world or even knowledge of themselves. Sure, many people end up working in fields unrelated to their undergraduate major and do just fine, but think about how much better we’d all be if we felt that our major or vocational path had been a truly educated decision. I’m not sure what the answer should be, but I really like the idea of a gap year – not just for backpacking around the world and partying – but for getting some good life/work experience.

            2. Traveler*

              We already sort of do it with SAT and ACT tests though. What school you went to for high school will determine how prepared you are, in addition to how much money you can throw at test prep. How good your high school is depends on if you can afford a private school or if your parents live in a wealthy school district, etc.

          3. bkanon*

            My high school does have this. You can choose regular high schhol or ‘vocay’. They do business admin, mechanical, masonry, cosmetology, etc. A lot of the trades. It wasn’t considered a good option, then (kids who go to vocay aren’t smart/are troublemakers, was the attitude), but looking back on it now, I’d encourage people to try it. I’d certainly reconsider the admin track for myself.

            1. nona*

              The school system I grew up in now has separate vocational schools for students who are interested in them. You graduate in five years with a high school diploma, an associate degree, and some work experience, ready to either work or begin college. I would definitely encourage parents or teenagers to check it out.

            2. Agent*

              We had a similar path at mine. It could have been great if it had been paired with really strong advising. But as it was, socio-economic class basically determined which track the 16 year olds picked, and that was their path forever. The vocational school was in a different small town, and students on each track basically never mixed, during high school or after.

        4. RJ*

          I had a cousin who incurred over $150k in debt for a baccalaureate-level graphic art degree. Unfortunately she can barely support herself, despite working jobs at 3 different bars/nightclubs, can’t find work in her field, and will most likely default on her loans. She could have gotten a law degree for that sum.

          1. kozinskey*

            To be fair, law degrees aren’t all that helpful in finding a job these days either. But I see your point.

            1. JB*

              Word. Too many law graduates have at least that amount of debt, and they can’t get jobs, either, or jobs that will allow them to pay back their loans.

            2. Noelle*

              Yeah, I feel like unless you have a really good reason for getting an advanced degree it’s not worth the money. I personally ended up getting one because I work in a field where it’s common, and I didn’t have an undergrad degree in it. But I’m still glad I chose grad school ($50K for a degree) instead of law school ($100K+ for a degree).

      2. sam*

        Yeah – there are a few for-profit schools that are not terrible, but they tend to be smaller, niche program schools.

        My stepmom works part-time for one that basically runs like a not-for-profit, and they’ve even investigated converting, but the conversion process is so onerous that they haven’t done it. They’re privately held, and the “owners” are a very philanthropically-minded family, so that’s part of what allows them to keep things relatively beneficial towards their students. But the school focuses on a very small area of study and is an in-person school, not online.

          1. Kerry (Like The County In Ireland)*

            Grand Canyon University here in Phoenix is thinking of converting back to non-profit; it’s a publically held, for-profit, Christian university. Its history is somewhat fascinating.

        1. CA Admin*

          The only for-profit schools that I’ve heard about with “good” reputations are the programming boot camps. They’re filling niches that aren’t there with the 2 year and 4 year non-profit programs, but I don’t think that can last for all that long. Once community colleges get on that bandwagon, I’m pretty sure that nobody who went to Dev Bootcamp or Code Academy will want to advertise the fact on their resumes.

          1. Stone Satellite*

            I’m curious what niche they are filling that isn’t covered by a BS in computer science or a related degree? Is it just that students want a degree in less than 4 years or are they teaching something that isn’t taught elsewhere?

            1. sam*

              the school my stepmom works at specializes in fashion merchandising – basically everything to do with the fashion industry that isn’t designing clothes (most schools with an emphasis on fashion will teach both, and often the design side crowds out the business side in terms of interest; on the flip side, traditional business schools will see people interested in the fashion business as not serious (compared to say, finance or tech, possibly because it’s traditionally been seen as a more feminine field), despite the fact that it’s a major economic sector).

            2. CA Admin*

              Computer Science covers way more than these bootcamps. It’s like the difference between a building contractor and an architect or engineer. These bootcamps teach you different languages and how to program with them–at least enough to get a job as a junior developer. A CS decree will teach you how to create those tools that others use–it requires a lot of higher level math and other skills that just programming in those languages don’t.

              Right now, there aren’t really any non-profit schools for people who just want to learn to program. There are lots that teach CS and other higher-order skills, but none that teach just the basics of what you need to know to do 90% of the junior roles.

  3. DrPepper Addict*

    I wonder if OP could find a school that would let him transfer his credits from Univ. of Phoenix, and take a class or two at the new school and get his degree from there? I’m not sure how transfer credits and such work, but maybe that would work?

    1. Alicia*

      At least in my experience, half the degree had to be completed at the new university for it to be issued from the non-University of Phoenix school. It could vary, but that’s what I’ve experienced in Canada.

    2. GOG11*

      I work at a University and, at least at the undergraduate level, a certain number of courses must be taken at the institution (a certain number in the total and/or a certain number of credits before graduation; i.e., must take 54 out of 120 credits at Granting Institution and final 24 credits must be taken at Granting Institution).

      However, graduate degrees often require far fewer classes and may have different requirements. This is still probably worth looking into.

      1. Ellie H*

        Although a coursework-based graduate program might only require 8-12 courses, the graduate school I worked at only allowed students to transfer 2 courses from a different institution into their current programs, the courses could not have been used toward the completion of any other degree, the courses had to be from an accredited institution, and the faculty committee on such matters had to discuss and vote the transfers of credit (in addition they had to be approved by the student’s department). Of course the policies will be different everywhere but I doubt that it would work well or be easy.

        1. BananaPants*

          Most 10-class/30-credit master’s programs will only allow transferring 1-2 classes (3-6 credits) from another school, and that’s if the other college decides to transfer the credits – which may be a very big “if” with UoP.

      2. fposte*

        I think it tends to be even tighter for grad schools–from what I can see in a quick check of MBA programs, they only accept three or four courses in transfer. They also tend to require the MBA program to be accredited by the AACSB, which UofP’s isn’t.

        1. College Career Counselor*

          Agreed with what others have posted re: limits on # of transferrable credits. Also, the U of Phoenix degree is already completed and awarded, which makes transfer a lot less likely, in my experience/opinion.

      3. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees*

        It will depend a lot on the schools requirements, though almost all of them have an “X number of credits must be taken through this university” rule. What number X represents depends on the school and how many credits the program is in general. It’s something LW could look into to perhaps shorten the amount of time they would need to get a second master’s.

        1. iseeshiny*

          Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees, if this is your idea of a joke then you belong in a Woody Allen movie because I am NOT LAUGHING.

          *ahem” sorry, couldn’t resist!

          1. afiendishthingy*

            kudos to this username. sorry for being off topic! will it help if I echo that my masters also only allowed two (I think) courses to be taken at other schools? So sorry you’re in this spot, OP.

    3. AnonyMiss*

      This is the biggest problem with UoPHX. Since their curricula are so hit and miss – some of their degrees are OK, some of them are entirely useless – most colleges just don’t want to take the risk, and don’t accept their coursework at all.

    4. Artemesia*

      The graduate programs at good universities that I am familiar with only allow 6 hours or so of external transfer work for a masters degree that takes 36 or so hours. Undergraduate schools will sometimes take as many as half the credits on transfer, but graduate programs generally do not — they want the degree to actually mean they educated the student. One exception is PhD programs which may accept a masters as part of the overall program as one usually completes a masters on the way to their PhD. But in that case the masters would show on the transcript so there would be no confusion about where the person got their advanced work.

      1. Christian Troy*

        Yes, this. I looked into transferring grad programs and only would be allowed to transfer six credits (one school previously allowed nine but that was changed).

    5. Fabulously Anonymous*

      Also, there are different types of accreditation: national and regional. Most non-profit universities such as Northwestern, Ohio State, Harvard, etc. are regionally accredited. U of P is (I believe) nationally accredited. Those with regional accreditation may not accept credits from those that are nationally accredited.

      1. KB*

        UoPx is regionally accredited, renewed through 2023 but with some kind of “notice” tied to parent company relationships.

    6. Ruth*

      First, what made you think I was a male? (I’m the OP.) Second…you usually can’t use credits from a degree program after you have already graduated. That said, I’m worried that my U of Phoenix classes won’t count toward credits I need to take the CPA exam. Nobody cares about my degrees. Literally, nobody cares. Theoretically, if I can pass the CPA exam, people will be willing to look at my wretched resume again.

      I know people who graduated from Strayer and from U. of Maryland which lets everyone in and…it’s like I’m behind a glass wall. I can see other people with worthless degrees getting paying jobs but I can’t get a paying job. Well, except as a cashier. The temp jobs, the retail jobs, the call center jobs, the heavy lifting dead-end jobs I can’t tell my mother about…it feels like everything’s dried up. I’m one of those worthless people – except that I’m not! I’ve got a long work history, most of which I got while going to school at the same time!

      Sure, I’ll take U of Phoenix off of my resume and try to pretend that I graduated from Georgetown like some millionaire who could afford to join sororities (and NOT work). Why not? I’ve lied about worse things.

      If I had it all to do over again I’d work on the corner. I hate this life.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        No no, don’t lie. That will make it even worse.

        Believe me, I know where you’re coming from. My degrees are from a legit school and STILL nobody cares. I tried to get another one and it just made the whole situation even worse. I’m going to be paying those people until I die. And working until I die. And yes–take it off; you might find something lesser without an MBA on your resume anyway, something that will at least pay the bills for now.

        I know it’s frustrating, but keep trying. Keep looking. I found something decent and you will too. It might not be a CPA thing, but it will be something, and then maybe you can find a way to take that exam. Hang in there–don’t let U of Pee win!!!

      2. anon again*

        You said you’ve gotten interviews, so maybe it’s not necessarily where you went to school. Have you downloaded Alison’s free guide on how to prepare for an interview?

        Competition is tough, so getting in the door is good. Preparation is important. I can see you are very, very frustrated and that is understandable. We’re all just giving our opinions, but just one that’s not about UoP.

      3. NJ Anon*

        I have an MSA from UoP. It is designed to get you the credits you need to take the CPA exam. For what its worth, I worked my butt off getting my degree from there. It’s on my resume and I got a job. However, I did toy with the idea of taking it off.

      4. nonegiven*

        My niece needed so many extra classes to take the exam that she went ahead and got her masters and graduated with both degrees.

        Oklahoma CPA Exam Requirements
        Education Requirements
        150 Semester Hours Required to Sit for the Exam? Yes
        Minimum Degree Required: Baccalaureate
        Additional Educational Requirements
        30 semester hours in accounting above introductory level (minimum of one auditing course) and
        9 upper division hours in business courses
        At least 76 credit hours must be upper division
        Baccalaureate with 150 semester hours.

      5. OHCFO*

        Wow, Ruth.

        I get that you’re having a rough time and hearing honest feedback is making it rougher right now. But, wow.

        Has it occurred to you that perhaps there are reasons other than your academic institution that might be holding you back? Like your attitude?

        1. Sophia in the DMV*

          I agree. Ruth, I know this must be such a frustrating time for you (and also, Maryland at College Park is VERY difficult to get into, despite being a state university), but often our attitude bleeds into our writings and our interactions. Perhaps have a friend do a mock interview with you and/or read your writing – but only if you’re open to constructive feedback.

        2. Laurel Gray*

          I love when I see this nugget of advice in the comments sometimes. I don’t believe that everyone seeking help or advice should be treated with kid gloves, especially where career is concerned. It is definitely something the OP should consider and decide if it applies.

        3. Katie the Fed*

          Yeah, at the risk of dogpiling here, Ruth mentioned below that HR people overly focus on soft skills. I think this is a good example of why soft skills matter.

          I think a lot of us feel truly awful for Ruth in this situation – these schools are predatory and hurt their students more than they help. And that’s a terrible situation to be in. But it’s also reality. And sometimes reality is really, really awful.

      6. Ezri*

        Is the implication of your post that everyone who didn’t go to UoP is a millionaire? I’m sympathetic to your situation, but you’ve crossed the line from frustration into wild accusations, and I agree with OHCFO that it’s possible your mindset is bleeding into your interactions with hiring managers.

        Try to keep perspective – it sucks that your degree is seen the way it is when you really worked for it. But there are a lot of people out there in rough situations who didn’t go to UoP – some people got expensive four year degrees and are still having trouble finding jobs (see the lawyer discussion below). It doesn’t mean you or anyone else here is inferior, it means that life sucks in a lot of ways. People here are trying to give advice, and you are reacting with a lot of hostility.

          1. phillist*

            This is what I was thinking. My state university degree is costing me a THIRD of what my coworkers are paying for Phoenix; my school is non-traditional, too, but better regarded and cheaper.

            The whole system needs a serious overhaul, beginning with predatory schools. They absolutely target low-income students, and squeeze every cent out of them. It’s appalling.

        1. Green*

          I went to a fancy private school and had basically nothing in my bank account. It was fully financed by student loans (that are easily available and for which I did not have a cosigner), like the vast majority of the people in my class. So I’m always confused when I see people pretend that everybody there is rich or something. Yes, rich kids often go to fancy private schools. So do people with nothing.

          1. Cactus*

            Yeah, I went to a (semi-fancy?) private school for my bachelors and a public state university for my masters. The masters cost way less, but I met people from various walks of life in both places.

            1. sam*

              I did the reverse – I always like to say that my extremely inexepensive (I graduated almost 20 years ago) public state university education is what got me into my ivy-league law school (Which I then had to self-finance with student loans). My parents helped me with undergrad, but didn’t pay* for law school.

              *a few small exceptions – they paid for my parking – they refused to let me leave my car on the street in West Philadelphia for some reason, and I told them that if they wanted me to put my car in a lot/garage, they were going to have to fund it, because it wasn’t in my planned-down-to-the-penny budget. They also paid the incidental expenses of certain things – they had originally bought me that car when I was a teenager, and it remained on their insurance. In addition, I remained on their health insurance until I turned 25 (this was pre-Obamacare, but their insurance allowed kids to stay on through 25 if we were in school – that got me through 2.5 years of school thanks to my February birthday). Stuff like that.

      7. Katie the Fed*

        So…it sounds like your short term priority is to pass the CPA exam? Do you have what you need to do that? It’s a foreign thing to me so I don’t know what the requirements are but it sounds like once you have your CPA then the UofPx thing becomes a non-issue, right?

      8. Anon Accountant*

        Let’s work on a solution for you. I’m unsure about graduate school but I successfully transferred credits from a bachelor’s degree in marketing to a bachelor’s degree in accounting a different university. “That said, I’m worried that my U of Phoenix classes won’t count toward credits I need to take the CPA exam.”

        Please check you state guidelines for this. U of Phoenix is accredited so they should count. In PA I needed 150 credit hours and took 3 credits at U of Phoenix online in Auditing II and my credits counted w/o any problems back in 2008 when first registering for exam.

        CPA prep courses can be very expensive added to about $1,000 in exam fees and the last few folks I know who passed studied 20-30 hours a week and several of us worked full-time. It can be done but is a rigorous process so be prepared if that is a route you choose.

      9. Anon Accountant*

        If you are interested in becoming a CPA keep in mind firms usually have job openings in May and June when some decide taxes weren’t their cup of tea. Then there’s typically a hiring rush in October-December.

      10. afiendishthingy*

        “I’m one of those worthless people – except that I’m not!”

        wow… so cashiers without masters degrees really are worthless? You’re in a bad situation, yes, and everyone here is showing you a lot of compassion, but you’re also being incredibly disrespectful to, well, everyone. You need to find an appropriate outlet for your anger. I hope you find some peace.

      11. Jean*

        Can you stand one more piler-on-er–who really wants to see you get to a happier place in life? I’ve been in your situation–or at least, in a reasonable facsimile of it! (Before landing my current position some 9 months ago, I spent 2 1/2 years being unemployed, applying for jobs, and hearing Radio Silence. It didn’t help that I was in many ways an octagonal peg in a market of round or square holes: over fifty, professional skills that at first glance seemed restricted to a very narrow niche area, and self-imposed restrictions (hoping for part-time and a short commute) due to other family responsibilities.) Many times I fell into self-doubt, grumpiness, or a sour outlook on the world & most of its inhabitants but … I also never completely gave up and I never completely surrendered to gloom. This is not an easy road and the solution is probably quite personal, but I urge you to do the same. If you are a cashier, be the best, fastest, most pleasant and proactive-thinking cashier you can possibly be. Draw upon whatever nourishes your soul (take a walk in public gardens? or walk down a street where the homeowners have great gardens? [and ignore that internal voice saying “when will it be MY turn to own a home with a small patch of land?”]….go to religious services, do a small craft, even if it’s making collages with newspaper advertisements on a grocery bag because that’s all the art supplies you can afford…

        okay, it’s late and I need to go to bed and you’re probably sick of reading this.
        TL;DR: Don’t give up. Nourish your soul. Find some way to cultivate optimism so that you present more cheer and less despair–to the outside world, yes, but more importantly, to yourself.

        Us folks here may be talking tough, but we’re also on your side and rooting for you to find your way out of this particular labyrinth. As Katie the Fed wrote, sometimes life is very, very, very hard… that’s when we just have to be very, very, very stubborn in response.

  4. Katie the Fed*

    Can I add one addendum?

    If you completed your degree while you were active duty in the military, I’d leave it on. A lot of military folks do distance learning and it shows an incredible level of commitment.

    1. fposte*

      I don’t think that’s enough to outweigh the negatives, though, unless you’re applying someplace military-inclined that has this same viewpoint. Most people are holding down jobs and family obligations while doing distance learning; it’s not enough to make UoP into a plus on the resume.

      1. Adam*

        Unfortunately I’d agree. Military service is a great booster in many an employer’s eyes, but with as bad a rep as these for-profit schools can have it may just serve to overlook said school being on your resume.

      2. INTP*

        Agreed, and there are distance MBAs from many brick and mortar schools now so it still brings up the question of why the candidate did not choose a more well-reputed school. Not saying that’s fair or that there were no valid reasons for choosing U. of Phoenix – employers will just look at it and wonder if you could not get into a school with a selective admissions process, wanted an easier degree, etc.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          true, but they’ve recruited heavily from the military, so not everyone might have realized what they were getting into.

          Just a thought.

          1. INTP*

            I totally agree that they recruit heavily from certain populations and not everyone knew the connotations of the school when they signed up. I’m just saying that for an MBA in particular, the employer perception will be the same, unless the employer knows about the connection between UOP and the military. There are many other options for distance MBAs, so being in the military won’t be seen as an “excuse” the way it might for, say, a BA program, which are harder to find offered online from more reputable schools.

            1. Katie the Fed*

              Oh good point. Most of the people I know who have done this have done it for the BA

          2. ZenCat*

            I feel like here is a social place in hell for me because I worked for one of these institutions in federal compliance many many moons ago.

            So many military being in this school and others I’ve helped oversee recruit militay because of VA benefits. The school gets paid and many times without as much risk to their (federal student loan) default rate. it’s so sad.

        2. AnotherAlison*

          Which kind of brings up an interesting point. . .
          I started my MBA program, which was a nontrad evening program, in 2001. There weren’t many online options from brick and mortar schools then. Presumably, someone who got their degree that long ago would have enough experience that they are not relying on their educational background to get interviews, but at the same time, some job postings do say “MBA preferred.” I wonder if the advice to leave it (UoP) off still applies. I guess my point is that it doesn’t *quite* bring up the same questions about the candidate because the options back then did not include Big State U online.

          1. Katie the Fed*

            Exactly. UofP was one of the first, so for military in the post-9/11 timeframe it was one of the earlier distance learning options available.

          2. MsM*

            I think an organization that cares about the credential is generally also going to care about the (perceived) quality of the credential.

        3. ThursdaysGeek*

          There are NOW, but what about nearly 10 years ago? I had a boss who got a MS from UofP, but I just checked, and it was in 2006. She was working the entire time, so that probably seemed like a better choice than quitting her job or not getting the degree. I wonder if when you got the degree makes a difference. (For what it’s worth, I never found her lacking in technical expertise. But then she also had an undergraduate degree from a brick and mortar and tons of experience.)

          1. fposte*

            Online stuff generally began in the mid-’90s; Indiana University, which has a top-ranked business school, started their online program in 1999. So I do think there were others, but University of Phoenix always had more advertising than anybody else.

            1. Jamie*

              Loyola started offering fully online programs in 2002 – so a little later, but has still been around for a while.

              I did a couple of online classes at (through?) a brick and mortar (Columbia) but not for a degree. I needed a couple of higher level accounting classes so for me it was all about the the contents of the class and not the credits and I absolutely got as much out of it as I would have had I dragged myself to class.

              I know someone who I respect professionally a great deal who did UoP and they feel they got a lot out of the classes themselves. Someone mentioned upthread that their programs are hit or miss, but I don’t know anything about that.

              It seems to me that in the 90’s and early 2000’s the for profit schools were still seen as a viable alternative by many. I know people who went to DeVry and got decent jobs without it being an issue back in the day…but now it seems like there’s a negative ROI to attending one.

              I know some people look into them because their predatory (as it seems to me) financing practices make it easier for people who have trouble financing their education with conventional loans. I have three kids in college now (what is disposable income, again?) and the deal from the start was not a dime from us for a for-profit.

              I know learning for knowledge’s own sake is awesome and in theory it’s a lovely sentiment, but we’re not wealthy and I’m investing in their education to give them a leg up in the workforce. If they want to learn about stuff that won’t help them support themselves eventually …they have library cards and the internet for that.

              This question makes me sad, because I’m sure the OP put a lot of time, effort, and money into something that has far less value than they were led to believe.

              1. afiendishthingy*

                JAMIE! YOU’RE BACK! YAY! (sorry, you may have been back for a bit, I haven’t looked at AaM much the last week or so)

              2. Connie-Lynne*

                Which Loyola offers fully online programs? Do they offer them for both bachelor’s and masters programs?

                1. Jamie*

                  Chicago does, although when I googled them today to see when they started (knew it was ealy 2000’s but wanted to check) they don’t authorize online learning for every state.

                  From their website: “State Authorization Status :
                  The U.S. Department of Education requires that any institution offering distance education programs to students outside of its home state must acquire authorization from the states in which students reside. Regulations vary from state to state. The list below summarizes Loyola’s authorization status in all states plus the District of Columbia, indicating which online courses and programs are available to students from each state.

                  And they have a list of states and the authorization status. They’ve chosen not to pursue authorization in Alabama, Arkansas, and Nebraska. Some programs are excluded from authorization afor Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mass, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, NY, N. Carolina, Oregon, Washington (but others are authorized – it seems the medical majors are the ones usually restricted, probably due to practicum requirements), it’s pending in Nevada and Ohio.

                  And yes – bachelor’s and masters programs.

                2. Connie-Lynne*

                  Cool! My godfather teaches physics at Loyola Chicago, and my sister went to Loyola NOLA, so I was curious what the deal was.

            2. Today's anon*

              Online stuff began mid-’90s but not all of them were accredited by the main accrediting discipline body. I really wanted to go online for my second master’s and it really was hit and miss when I was looking in 1996/97. Finally I found a program that was fully-accredited, highly ranked and hybrid (summer intensives on campus) and that worked for me.

          2. MaryMary*

            My alma mater, Ohio University, was offering an online MBA in 1998-ish. I had undergrad classes with one of the profs who was launching the program (he was very excited about it). It, like most other programs, still required some on-campus time (a long weekend here and there) and I believe it was pretty structured. 10, 15 years ago, I think U of P and other for-profits were the only ones offering a 100% virtual, flexible program.

            1. Barbara Gordon*

              Go Bobcats! I think that the Ohio University online MBA is pretty well regarded. If I were looking for a program, I would definitely consider that one. Also, since I learn best in the classroom setting, I like the idea of having some on-campus time.

          3. INTP*

            I know of people with 30+ year careers being rejected for jobs because a BA was required for “company culture” reasons and theirs was from UOP (anytime within the last 10-15 years – it wasn’t acceptable just because it was before you could take online classes at a regular university). So the age of the degree doesn’t completely negate the stigma ime.

            For MBAs specifically, regardless of the period of time, it’s not going to be as impressive as one from a school with a better reputation. I’ve never worked with an employer that required an MBA, it was always just a plus, so no one was ruled out over it, but the prestige of the school correlated with how big a plus it was and the year attained didn’t matter. It’s going to be less prestigious than a low-tier not-for-profit school just like that low-tier not-for-profit MBA is less impressive than a Wharton MBA. On the other hand, I think it raises fewer questions and red flags if it was attained 10+ years ago. Frankly, if someone has graduated very recently with a degree that could easily have been obtained online from a reputable school, I am going to wonder why – if they weren’t resourceful enough to find those programs, if they weren’t patient enough to go through the involved admissions process (UP seems to require only a form and a transcript while others require test scores, essays, letters of rec, if they weren’t competitive for admissions, or if they just came from a background where they had no idea that these schools carry this stigma (and I know for-profit schools actively market to those populations).

        4. Ruth*

          Yeah, now. There weren’t as many back in 2004 when I graduated from U of Phoenix. AND IT WASN’T AN EASY DEGREE!!! CHRIST. DID I NOT SAY SO IN THE ORIGINAL POST?!!!!

          I hope you work really hard at something in your life only to have some one tell you that it’s worthless someday. I will take it off and I will work for 5 years somewhere and then it will go right back on when I want a promotion. Because taking it off in the first place isn’t lying, is it? But there are still places that will fire you for not having a Masters of some sort. Of course, if the money doesn’t run out and I can graduate with a worthless MS in Accounting and Finance from U of Maryland then I’ll have two Masters degrees. Two. And then people will write off the gargantuan U of Maryland as worthless and I supppose I’ll just watch the world burn. Oh, and I’ll have my worthless CPA exam behind me by then.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Hey. Please don’t scream at people here.

            People here are giving you the benefit of their candid opinions. They’re not doing it to be mean. They’re giving you information so that you can make the best decision for yourself, with a broader understanding of how the degree is perceived. Isn’t that what you want? If people sugarcoat their real opinions, that’s the opposite of helpful to you.

            It’s not lying to remove a degree from your resume. A resume isn’t required to be a comprehensive listing of everything you’ve ever done. It’s a marketing document. If something doesn’t strengthen your candidacy, you can choose not to include it.

            I understand that you’re frustrated. I understand that this sucks. But people here are trying to help you figure it out.

            1. JuniorMinion*

              Hey OP –

              Just wanted to chime in as I have scrolled through a bunch of the other comments and wanted to echo what Allison is saying as well as add my own take. I feel you so hard on the frustration at trying to better yourself and your options and not knowing why the things you are doing aren’t having the desired effects.

              Based on the discussion around the CPA exam it seems like you want to work in finance / accounting of some kind. Finance, and not just my slice I work with quite a few ex-accountants / Big 4 valuation advisory types, is quite snooty. They want people who have x experiences and y degrees from z institutions. I can see how this might be frustrating, but the best way to combat it (I’ve done this to move from finance field x to more prestigious finance field y) is to look for positions that will allow you to gain experience without passing the snooty test, and then you can leverage that experience in order to get around not having x, y, and z. I have seen people get a lot more traction with smaller firms / startups / boutiques and then once you have the experience you can leverage that. Look into career services resources where you are currently taking classes and have coffee with everyone you know (sure you’re already doing this – but those helped me greatly).

              Finally while I think its understandable you are frustrated, maybe try to focus on the skills you have learned and can bring to bear in a role. I have interviewed quite a few more junior peeps and you want to come across like an enthusiastic self starter. I have seen people from harvard dinged who come across as having a less than great attitude or are not excited enough about the prospect of working at company x.

              Best of luck with both the coursework as well as the job search. I know people say when one door closes another one opens but i don’t think thats how it happens. In my life its been when one door closes, you break a window, disable the alarm, and climb in.

            2. UofPGrad*

              What if you received your undergraduate degree from UofP? And by you I mean me. I can’t take it off because I need it. I haven’t completed a graduate degree yet. I began my degree at one school and finished at UofP.

              1. LUCYVP*

                I would suggest leaving it on when you think it helps your candidacy and remove it when it doesn’t. You wont always know for sure but there are usually hints in the job description about what they are looking for. If the job posting says “Bachelor’s Degree Required,” you are better off including it.

                My education history is spotty and generally non-impressive (think several colleges, one particularly prestigious one, but no degree). When I turned thirty I made the decision to remove the education section from my resume. I have plenty of interesting work experience with increasing levels of leadership & responsibility. Truthfully, most people dont even notice the education section is missing. My current boss didn’t know I don’t have a degree for several years until it came up in casual conversation.

          2. Joey*

            You’re not very good at receiving critical feedback. Don’t ask if you don’t want to know. Everyone is pretty good here at giving you their opinions. I hope you can appreciate the honesty even if it stings.

          3. Katie the Fed*

            I am sorry you’re dealing with this. You sound very frustrated and overwhelmed – I would be too. It’s not your fault that the institution became what it did – you didn’t know better and I think it’s terrible and predatory of these schools to behave this way.

          4. INTP*

            I’m not saying it was an easy or worthless degree. I’m just saying what the perception of it is.

            FWIW I have worked hard at a degree that was seen as worthless. I went to a liberal arts school that regionally had a very strong reputation – and it provided a better education and more challenging classes than the highly ranked UC school I transferred in from – only to find outside of a 500 mile radius of that school, most people had never heard of it and assumed it was a diploma mill. I’ve been flat-out asked in interviews “Is that an online school?” It sucks but there’s nothing I can do about it.

            Why do you think your accounting degree will be worthless? If you aren’t seeing career prospects I recommend that you look into internships or other hands-on opportunities that your school might provide or refer you to. I’ve looked at a lot of resumes and I can absolutely say that masters degrees have a stronger impact on a person’s career trajectory if they ideally do full-time on-campus classes, but if not, at least take advantage of the internship office or hands on projects done at the school. I know it’s not an option for everyone but if it is, it will make your job prospects much more favorable after graduation.

          5. Labyrinthine*

            I worked very hard and completed 3 years of a degree that is now “worthless” because the college was closed (and lost accredidation) in the midst of the spring semester of my junior year. When I started, it was a great school – now, I am only thankful that some people have never heard of their name.

            So I know how frustrating it is. I had to start over. None of my credits transferred. But I still owed the $45,000 in federal loans.

            But getting angry at people here is not going to help.

              1. Labyrinthine*

                You would think so, but sadly no. Because I was (eventually) able to complete a degree with my original major I do not qualify for the discharge. I tried, it was denied, I appealed and it was denied again.

                Ridiculous, right? It gets better: over 1/4 of those loans were supposed to be grants according to the finance officer of the school. Sadly, no documentation survived his termination and so all of us students got screwed.

          6. afiendishthingy*

            It sounds like you’re pretty angry and frustrated with your situation, which is totally understandable. I would be too Just remember nobody here is responsible for it! I spent some time sifting through the comments above yours trying to figure out who could have been so rude about your degree to make you lash out, and couldn’t find anything that warranted it. We don’t think you took the easy way out, but the fact is UoP is not well regarded. My expensive bachelors degree in anthropology from a good private liberal arts college didn’t get me jobs either, and I worked low-paying jobs for 8 years before additional education and experience got me a decent-paying job that I like (and I have a LOT of debt). Everyone has low points in their careers, and it BLOWS and it’s hard to imagine when you’re in them that you will ever have high points. Keep trying and keep reading this blog! Don’t give up because of some setbacks.

          7. Coach Devie*

            This would turn me off to helping, if I was being yelled at by someone who was crying about being a victim and how everything is worthless.

            Things are what you make them. Also, the “rich” kids who went to state or private schools, probably actually paid less for their “fancy” degree than you did for yours from UofP (and this is totally unfair to you) but the fact of the matter remains that schools like UofP and ITT technical institute have a bad rep (through no fault of yours) and are predatory.

            Leaving it off your resume doesn’t make you a liar. And… uh… your CPA certification won’t ever become “worthless” its definitely not the same thing as naively choosing the wrong school. Go for it if you have the minimum requirements.

            But you wrote a letter asking for advice…and then are mad that people are giving it. Odd.

            Might not be your education or resume that is keeping you out of the job market. It might very well be your off-putting personality.

    2. Carrie in Scotland*

      I do see what you mean about being in the military because of the nature of the job but I’d argue that anyone holding down a full time job and full time study at a distance shows an incredible level of commitment.

    3. Jennifer M.*

      My company has worked with a lot of former military personnel and we’ve had to have them take their degrees off of their CVs when we include them on proposals for government contracts. The degrees tend to be from diploma mills and even though the act of getting the degree does represent a lot of commitment from someone who did it will on active military duty; the school reputation is way too problematic for us to feel comfortable leaving them on.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Yeah that makes sense and I agree about the reputation. I just feel a little bad because some of these school were so predatory about it. Frankly the military should have said early on that GI Bill money couldn’t be used for for-profit schools.

        1. Oryx*

          Eh, the original GI Bill was created post-WWII. I don’t know if predatory for-profit schools were an issue back then. Now, when Congress expanded it after 9/11 then, yes, they probably should have taken that into consideration.

        2. Anonna Miss*

          If I had my druthers, there would be no federal financial aid money going to any for-profit schools. No Pell Grants, etc., and no guaranteed student loans. Taxpayer dollars should not be going into shareholder pockets quite so easily, even if (especially if) it flows through a student’s debt burden.

          1. Three Thousand*

            Good lord, thank you. I would burn all these places to the ground if I could, but the least I’ll take is not having my tax dollars used to scam people.

          2. AnonYmous*

            You don’t know the landscape, then. There are many,many for profit schools that are on the up and up and outperform their competitors. Sva and fit in NYC are both for profit. Let’s not broad brush things.

            1. Natalie*

              If by FIT you mean Fashion Institute of Technology, that’s not a for-profit school. It’s part of the SUNY system.

              1. Zillah*

                Huh – I always assumed FIT was a CUNY! Shows what I know. But yeah, it’s a public college – definitely not for-profit.

                I’m not super familiar with SVA, but my understanding is that it’s the exception, not the rule, and that they’re still pretty stingy with financial aid.

          3. Robinet*

            I too have a MSA from UoP and when I was living in Japan it was the only option on base.

        3. Kelly O*

          I really hate the way U of P seems to prey on people who are in a bad situation. It seems so much easier for a person to get the degree that could push them forward to a better job, and they’ll present it in terms of not having to pay while you’re getting the degree, but fail to fully explain the repayment terms.

          I worked with a woman who lived in a very rural area, and for whom online education was a huge plus. She went with U of P, got a Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration, and got virtually no support from the school in finding a position using her degree. She works as an administrative assistant in a very blue-collar, non-healthcare environment, and has a massive student loan debt she may never repay.

          She’s not necessarily the brightest bulb, but truly had no clue what she was in for once her “grace period” was up. It’s wound up being more of a hardship than a benefit for her, and that’s just one example.

          It’s bad enough the cost of a “traditional” school keeps going up and up with no end in sight – I have an 18 year old stepdaughter who is giving me a refresher in that – but organizations that prey on those who want so badly for something better, and are willing to take a risk… there is just something very wrong with that to me.

      2. Connie-Lynne*

        That is such a bummer! I feel bad for the people who worked hard to get their degrees only to discover that the school reputation is such that they can’t really advertise that they have them.

    4. Meg*

      I think I have to agree with fposte’s reply, unfortunately. That doesn’t negate the terrible press University of Phoenix has received and considering the way college trends are going, more and more students are balancing school with a full-time job, or a family, or any number of obligations. Completing a degree while on active duty doesn’t turn the negative reputation into a positive one.

    5. Jeff*

      I got my MBA from Phoenix while active duty and have been asked by a lot of people to go from enlisted to officer because of completing the graduate level degree. All of my class mates got government contracts or GS spots with the ability to promote. I was also in class with Naval officers & Marine officers. People complain but its their own fault if they can’t find work

  5. Adam*

    I’d considered attending a school like this for additional education (I already have my BS degree from a state university), but voices like Allison’s and others made me decide otherwise. I really feel badly for people like the OP as investment in education is serious business on all fronts: financially, time, emotionally, etc. I don’t know the actual quality of education people get when they attend these schools, but I’m sure many people invest serious hard work into their programs like they would at any other institution. I would be so demoralized to find that all my effort and money went towards a degree that gets the automatic side-eye from a large percentage of the working world. I’m sorry OP!

    1. Big10Professor*

      It’s okay to do a distance learning program if that’s what’s best for you. If you are pursuing an MBA, look for one that is AACSB accredited, and bonus points if it’s affiliated with a bricks-and-mortar university.

      1. Adam*

        It’s an idea I still kick around once in a while. I enjoy the classroom setting but online learning has it’s obvious benefits as well, and TONS of regular schools offer online programs now.

        Thing is I just finally paid off my student loans from my undergrad degree a few months ago and I want to bask in the glow of that for a while.

      2. Natalie*

        Yep, there are plenty of online-only/distance learning options with reputable schools. My state’s land-grant university has one, and as a bonus it is run through one of the rural campuses that might otherwise close. (Big state, one central city, so having state schools in the rural area is important.)

        1. Chinook*

          “Yep, there are plenty of online-only/distance learning options with reputable schools”

          I want to echo this. Online/distance learning is not the same as for-profit. There is an accredited university in my province which never had a campus because it was always distance learning and was doing it before the internet (University of Athabasca). I think the most important thing when figuring out where to earn a degree is to see what external accreditation it has, not just how they deliver their classes.

          1. Natalie*

            The for-profits definitely prey on that misconception in their advertising. I’m always floored when I see them advertise online or night and weekend classes as though those are special. It’s like plugging a car because it has an AM/FM radio – that’s standard, so what are you trying to hide by pretending it’s not?

            1. Juli G.*

              My alma mater doesn’t even offer weekday classes for MBA – it’s either take classes M-Th evenings or weekend program.

              1. MaryMary*

                I’ve actually seen some negative reactions to full time brick and mortar MBA programs. In this day and age, it can signal a person who has little to no real world work experience, someone who either put themselves in massive debt or has been living off mom and dad. Most experienced professionals can’t stop their careers to go back to school full time. It’s different for the top tier programs, but I don’t much if a a full time MBA from Local U has an advantage over a part time or online program.

                1. Natalie*

                  That sounds more like a reaction to people getting degree after degree without ever working, not an issue with the MBA degree in general. I’ve worked with a few people like that (I guess the MBA was the new degree to get for no reason after the law market busted?) and we would have found their “I have a masters, why do I need to do entry level work?” attitude frustrating no matter where their degree was from or what it was in.

                2. Editor*

                  Natalie — I think a lot of the MBA criticisms about graduates without work experience only apply to people who don’t work after the bachelor’s degree. There were incentives to do that in the 1970s — the college I went to had a business school and offered a program where students could get the bachelor’s degree and an MBA in 5 years instead of 6; they had some kind of deal with the law school, I think, and also for a brief time, an accelerated Ph.D. program that got dropped because it was just horribly grueling. I don’t know if any of those combined programs are still offered.

          2. Jake*

            Me too.

            My buddy is getting an online only mba from a brick and mortar university. It isn’t a top university, but his degree will be identical to those that went to the physical location. The only way anybody could know is if they pulled his transcripts and happened to notice his class codes start with an ON (followed by an 8 digit number) as opposed to IS or OS.

            I’d be shocked if a non alum would even be able to decipher that.

      3. Sabrina*

        Well but University of Phoenix IS accredited and IS a B&M University. But it’s for-profit, that’s where the problem lies.

        1. Ruth*

          I’m the OP. Thanks Sabrina!

          I could have gone to Phoenix, Arizona to graduate in a ceremony with all of the other University of Phoenix graduates who were there. They were not easy classes. I was not paying for a degree, I was paying for an education.

          People swallow the MEDIA hype hook line and sinker when a lot of the debate is really about money that is going out of state instead of going to in-state schools. This is the real reason why nobody complains about party schools like Frostburg, Morgantown, Coral Gables…I could go on. But let somebody try to get a degree from a school that is guaranteed to HAVE the classes that I need each semester, online, taught by experts in their fields (admittedly a lot of retirees – not like that is a bad thing) and make the payments out of state and everyone in Congress has a heart attack!

          1. NJ Anon*

            UoP actually does have brick and mortar locations. I did not go to graduation but I did work hard to get my degree and am proud of what I accomplished.

          2. Fabulously Anonymous*

            No, it has nothing to do with money going out of state. I’ve worked at one of the for-profit schools and I can actually back up what some others have said: the focus is making money. Specifically, recruiting students that qualify for financial aid or the GI bill. Many students that would fail a non-profit “party” school are usually given easier coursework and pass through at for-profits.

            Obviously you were the exception – you did a great job, worked hard and truly learned from your experience.

            Have you looked into the education requirements for taking the CPA exam? Do they specify the type of accreditation? Or is your issue not being able to gain the required work experience?

          3. Sophia in the DMV*

            It’s not about money going out of state, university prestige, among other things, also correlates with quality of faculty, the content and size of their classes, as well as the number of courses full time faculty teach per semester.

          4. Traveler*

            To be fair, employers also usually know what schools are “party schools” or non-profit diploma mills, too.

          5. More Info*

            I strongly disagree. There have been numerous reports about the for-profit schools targeting military learners for funding reasons (read up about military exception to the 90/10 rule) and the absolutely blatant lies recruiters provide to potential students on post-graduate employment. Obtaining a degree from a for-profit university demonstrates what I believe is poor decision making and reflects on job candidates.

            1. Katie the Fed*

              So, here’s the thing. You’re right, that there is poor decisionmaking involved sometimes. But, a lot of junior enlisted come from rural areas and have limited education and life experiences. There’s a reason payday loan places and car dealerships with ridiculous interest rates spring up around military bases. They take advantage of naive young enlisted who may have just turned 18 and really don’t know how to manage money or what to look for in an online education program. It can be a very paternalistic organization for that very reason.

              That’s why I think it’s unconscionable that they even allow GI Bill money to go to these schools. I am all for my tax dollars helping veterans better themselves. I’m not all for my tax dollars going to these horrible institutions.

          6. phillist*

            Okay, I have to ask: are you otherwise affiliated with UoP in some way? Because frankly, you’re taking criticisms of the University and it’s practices really, really personally. I am actually surprised that you’re more upset at the people who are saying, “I am sorry UoP is poorly regarded. They fleece people, and that sucks!” than you are at UoP. The anger here seems wildly misplaced.

            You asked a question, and got nothing but thoughtful responses–even if they weren’t what you wanted to hear. Perhaps it is not your degree that is losing you opportunities.

          7. Coach Devie*

            My best friend works at a B&M location for UofP in a large city, and has for 8 years. I am not speaking out of my neck. Although UofP has recently become accredited regionally, it was not in the beginning and because it is still a “for-profit” institution with predatory practices and no rigorous involved admissions process (THIS IS NOT A SLIGHT TO YOU – but anyone can get in as long as the school can secure their financial “aid”) it is not regarded as providing a quality education to their students, NO MATTER how hard you worked or how difficult your courses were for you.

            Saying UofP isn’t a good choice, or that it is looked upon negatively by employers has NOTHING to do with you! It is just the fact of the matter.

            And again, from your replies… I’m really convinced it might not be your resume or schooling that is the problem, tbh.

        2. Labyrinthine*

          No, the problem lies in their approach towards education.

          I have nothing against online schools or for profit schools. Both can be good. UoP is not. They are accredited, sure, but I would wager that they are just barely. I have seen the level of knowledge they graduate and it is appalling. Does that mean you can’t get a good education there? No. But it means it is less likely than at a more rigourous institution.

    2. Kate*

      You mean you feel bad for people like the OP – feeling badly would mean that you weren’t doing a good job of feeling, like your faculty to feel things isn’t working well and you don’t feel much of anything.

      I totally agree with your overall sentiment, which is very compassionate and kind! I just love good grammar and I’ll go away now.

      1. fposte*

        Much as I love a good hypercorrection correction, Alison has asked that we not correct people’s spelling and grammar.

  6. Christy*

    Out of curiosity, OP, did you go to UMUC (the online program UMD has) or to one of the on-campus programs, like at the Smith School of Business in College Park? Because I wonder how the different programs are seen by those reviewing credentials. Both are the “University of Maryland” but I imagine the programs are quite different. (I say this as someone with a masters from UMCP in an unrelated field.)

    1. Helka*

      Actually, slight correction: UMUC is not part of UMD. It was originally part of UMD, but it has been a separate institution since the 70s.

      1. Christy*

        You’re right, I misspoke. It’s not a part of UMD, but it is a part of the University System of Maryland, which is the larger organization that links the various Universities of Maryland (College Park, Baltimore County, Eastern Shore) and the other state universities (Towson, Bowie State, etc.).

        1. Ruth*

          OP here. I applied to Smith. Smith would have been great. Smith didn’t want me. I considered Towson but I had a job then, and UMUC was much closer for the classes that are not online.

          Do you want to start making a list of all of the terrible schools in the United States? You’ll be sued, you know. UMUC may not be the greatest school in the world, but it’s certainly accredited and the classes are not easy. Do you want to say that it has a lot of military and non-american people who go there? That would be a valid statement. Do you really want to say that my future would have been bright and rosy if only I’d gotten into Robert Smith instead of settling for UMUC instead of being unemployed AND doing nothing?

          1. Ann*

            Do you want to start making a list of all of the terrible schools in the United States? You’ll be sued, you know.


          2. Kelly O*


            No one is attacking you. I’m so sorry you are dealing with unemployment and a difficult situation. I have been there, and can relate to what you’re going through. My husband is unemployed right now too. It’s a bad job market, and finding a way to stand out is challenging. I empathize with you.

            It’s hard to not take things personally, but it’s a vital step to working through your emotions and presenting your best possible self. That’s not just in interviews, but in talking with other people and all the informal networking we do in person and online. It’s okay to get angry. It’s okay to vent. But it’s not okay to take out those feelings of frustration and anger on people who are choosing to open up and share with you, and try to find ways to help you.

            Again, I am so sorry you’re dealing with this, and I know how rejection can hurt. But no one here is attacking you. Please remember that we are all providing our own answers to your issue, and we may not all present those in the way you’d like to see them.

          3. T Banks in TX*


            I’m sure everyone here have a valid point that is representative of their geography and field. However I have to disagree with almost every post I’ve read! I have a degree from U of P and it has only helped me. Until one year ago I only had that degree & vocational school on my resume and I’ve continuously been employed in my field (healthcare revenue cycle management ). In 2014 I went to community college and took some continuing education classes that allowed me to getcertified in project management and process improvement (CSSMBB). That alone has made my phone ring off the hook. I recently enrolled in a online dual masters program from a brick and mortar school solely because that level of degree is the norm for that level of certification. I say all that to say this, while u of p has a bad rep I’ve found it to be far more beneficial than nothing. It may help you to bookend or augment it with community college or field relevant certifications. Don’t be discouraged. Research how to play up your education In a different way and how to market yourself better.

          4. Coach Devie*

            This will be my last comment on a 2 month old post but it’s obvious the problem is you. Being that my cousin has a business masters from UofP (I just called her to confirm this was where she got it from) and has been gainfully employed in the field of her choosing since she graduated in 2010. (so thats two people in my life.. one who works for the institution and can attest to it being a horribly run/horrible recruiting practices, horribly expensive institution that lets anyone in [I shant elaborate on how many times she has feared for her life/safety because of the students who take on-campus courses, or how her belongings have been stolen, or about the needles and spoons she’s found in the bathroom] and one who chose to obtain her masters there although she does regret it (for the amount of debt accrued compared to her cohorts who went to traditional or state schools) but has made the best of it)

            Your attitude stinks. You are immediately defensive, you aren’t listening to constructive criticism or taking any advice. Seems like you submitted your letter so that you could argue in defense of your naive decision and say woe is me, instead of considering people who might (obviously) know better than you do.

            I wouldn’t want to hire you. This personality flaw is probably readily apparent in an interview. Good luck.

      1. nona*

        In the second paragraph, LW mentions that they’re either a current student or graduate of the University of Maryland.

    2. Nikki T*

      I presume OP is attending UMUC, but people who are not from the area don’t know any difference (not that it matters to start with). I’ve heard good things about some of their programs.

      I’ve tried to correct people who put U of MD (vs. UMUC) on their resumes, it’s not the same school, and UMd-College Park is not going to be able to verify your attendance!

      1. Meg Murry*

        However, it looks like UMUC is not AACSB accredited either – UMD is, but UMUC is not – so OP, UMUC will help a little bit more than UoP, but at this point I wouldn’t bother with a program that isn’t fully AACSB accredited, otherwise that’s just another degree that won’t help.
        But UMD’s online program through the Robert H. Smith School of Business is accredited, so that is a better choice than UMUC.

        1. Ruth*

          OP here. Considering that it’s not a business degree, and that no one cares about my degrees anyway, I don’t think that it matters. It’s not like I’m using this degree to get into another school.

          1. Sophia in the DMV*

            It does matter. That’s what we’re trying to tell you. There is a big difference not only in perception but also rigor in accredited versus non accredited schools. That’s not to say the classes at Phoenix or UMUC aren’t difficult, but they are not held to the same standards.

            1. ZenCat*

              You are so right about this! It is up to each school to decide which coursework substantially meets that of a class they are exempting you from. They do not care how hard the class was, or if the teacher was good or bad, or if you wrote the greatest essay of your life. There is an option to take exams for some classes using the knowledge you already have – the cost is 200 per class.

          2. Danielle*

            I think it matters. UMUC is not a good school. I’m doing a master’s there now (because it’s almost fully reimbursed by my work). The majority of students here should not be in an undergraduate program, let alone a graduate one (they let anyone in for most programs). It’s true that many classes do require a fair amount of work, but that is entirely separate from the quality of the education you receive.

            If your goal is to get the CPA, it may be okay, but personally I would be concerned about UMUC’s ability to prep me for that test.

      2. Green*

        There has been drama with public officials in my state claiming they went to “Maryland” for their degrees from UMUC.

        1. Elysian*

          I have a Maryland degree and explaining the Univ System of Maryland system to people is sometimes exhausting. It is confusing, that’s for sure.

        2. Nashira*

          My brother went to UMUC and is being driven nuts by his coworkers just saying he went to “Maryland”. They’re all from not-DC-area and don’t quite get the difference. It’s sorta funny.

          1. Elysian*

            I think its been amplified by the Sweet Sixteen this year (for me at least – I don’t know what this didn’t happen before!). I went to the law school, which is in Baltimore (not College Park) and shares the “University of Maryland” name with College Park, but does not have the same mascot or governance or anything. It is a mes. But people still think I’m a Terp; though I will root for them in solidarity with my College Park brethern, the schools aren’t the same!

      3. Stephanie*

        Yeah, I think only people in the DC-Baltimore area know the difference. Another key difference is that UMUC doesn’t have the horrible reputation the UofP has.

        1. Ruth*

          OP here. The only reason it doesn’t have a “horrible reputation” is that it’s a state school. Taxes and resources stay in the state. Honestly, the more a person pays for a school the less “scandalous” that school is likely to be in the media. Not that it matters to anyone. I may never work again. Maybe I should claim to be a high school dropout. I could never afford a school that was respectable. A-and now you can all cheerfully tell me about how I should go to community college and relegate myself to permanent lower class status by deleting all of my college experience from my resume. Yay community college! I can learn Quickbooks accounting and how to fix an HVAC system. Doesn’t count if you want to take the CPA exam though, so that would be a wash.

          1. Anna*

            Hey Ruth,

            Your frustration is understandable and if anyone was in your position they’d be, too. But right now you’re attacking people who are trying to help you. Everyone on here is trying to give you a 360 degree diagnostic. You are currently blowing this WAY out of proportion, and making very rude comments. You have a problem, now we’ll give you advice on how to fix it to the best of our abilities.

            Obviously you have a bachelors degree, why would you claim to be a high school dropout? Study hard, pass your CPA and continue to work hard. Yes, this is a set back, but you’re not going to relegate yourself permanently to lower class by taking this off your resume.

            1. A Bug!*

              Agreed. It’s breaking my heart to read the letter and followups in comments.

              Nobody’s said you didn’t work hard for your degree or that you’re not competent or that you don’t deserve a job suited to your abilities. It sounds like you got your UoP degree before there was any reason for you to suspect that it would be anything but helpful for you.

              It’s clear there are plenty of people here who feel terrible about your circumstances, but the fact remains: your circumstances are such that your UoP degree will hurt you more likely than it will help you if left on your resume. You wrote in to ask precisely that question; the way you’re responding to the answer, I can’t help but wonder what answer you expected to hear.

              I encourage you to take some time today for self-care. I’m sure it’s not easy to hear something like this even if you already suspected it might be the case. I’m going to chalk your crapping on community colleges up to the fact that you’re having a bad day, and hope things look up for you soon.

            2. Meg Murry*

              Yes, you didn’t mention studying for your CPA in your original letter. I suspect what is holding you back is not that you have a degree from UofP, but that you are competing against people who do already have their CPA. Once you have your CPA, that will carry a lot more weight than just an MBA – from (almost) any school.

          2. Ezri*

            I’m not sure where your outlook towards community college is coming from – most of my friends are attending / did attend community colleges at least for parts of their degree. It’s increasingly common for students to earn their general ed credits at a community college and transfer to a state school; some places in my home state have started offering four year degrees. My sister in law just got a good IT job after earning her Bachelors from a community college. It probably depends on the college and the program, but to me there’s nothing wrong with them on principle. And judging from Alison and other HR commenter’s posts, if a community college degree has stigma it’s probably less than UoP right now.

              1. Ezri*

                No worries – I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s had that perspective re. community college. :)

            1. Kelly O*

              I’ve been trying to encourage my stepdaughter to attend community college to get some basics out of the way while she sorts out more financial aid, since she waited so late to start applying.

              1. Windchime*

                My son got his AA at a community college. We’re not a wealthy family and he didn’t want four years of debt, so he worked his way through community college for his AA, then transferred to a state school and took loans for the two years to get his BA.

                He is currently underemployed, as it sounds like our OP is. I think it’s just a really, really tough economy right now.

              2. The Strand*

                Kelly, San Jac and Lone Star are incredibly good deals with great academics. I know people teaching at both. She will not be alone in figuring out what’s next while she attends school… An awful lot of local kids come back from TAMU, Texas Tech, UT etc to take less expensive, more supportive math classes that transfer into their bachelors.

            2. Katie the Fed*

              I used to look askance at community colleges too, but I took classes at some and they were excellent. They’re a great way to complete some requirements and get credit transfers, and for some people they’re the right amount of targeted education they need. What’s wrong with being an HVAC repairman?

                1. The Strand*

                  Not only can they get work, but it’s actually difficult to get enough instructors in HVAC. Because it’s such a lucrative field, you have to find people who really really want to spend that time teaching when they can make so much more money doing more calls. As a result there actually aren’t enough techs being graduated.

              1. Pennalynn Lott*

                FWIW, my boyfriend is a window cleaner. Residential, not high-rises. He made $150K last year.

                1. Coach Devie*

                  Way to go boyfriend!!

                  It amuses me that people look so negatively upon trades, vocations and manual labor work. People who own their own businesses, especially with low overhead like residential window cleaning, for instance, often are making MUCH more (without the insane debt) as someone formally educated working in industry.

                  My ex used to be ashamed of his fathers business, and didn’t want to work for him (it was a specialized lawn treatment business. Niche, but high demand) until a few years ago he saw the light. He was embarrassed that is wasn’t some suit and tie office business that seemed respectable and high class. But when he looked back at the life he had been afforded and realized his income potential he changed his outlook. He will inherit the business from his dad soon, and has been studying business in order to grow the company when he is at the head.

                  His income is also in the high 5 figures, low 6 annually now. Compared to people he thought had more respectable careers/degrees making half of what he does.

                  I wish people didn’t let these societal structures define your worth. The stigma would leave if people didn’t think a certain types of jobs make you worthless (like the OP seems to think)

          3. anon again*

            I think some of the com. coll. information is a PSA for others who may be reading through these threads…

          4. Another Salesperson*

            I think your perception of community college is in the minority. Community college isn’t just a place to learn quickbooks and HVAC. It’s a place to earn college credit for core curriculum classes in an inexpensive way that transfers to a larger 4 year university. This is a respectable route to a degree and shouldn’t be disparaged nor is it frowned upon by hiring managers.

            I would look more favorably on an Associates degree from community college than any degree from UofP to be honest.

            1. Traveler*

              Plus if you do it that way (CC then 4 Year), no one will even know you went to CC. Unless they ask for transcripts from every school you’ve attended. I know a lot of people who did this. It’s the cheaper way to have a big name school on your resume.

              1. Natalie*

                Yep, once I got to the point that I didn’t need CC-era work experience on my resume, I took the CC off too and just left my BA. Occasionally it has come up in interviews, and no one has ever suggested I was being misleading or something.

            2. Kelly O*

              I have an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration, and fifteen years of experience working.

              I can testify to the stigma some associate with community colleges, and would love to see that go away, or at least recede. It almost feels like a lifetime of battling the “oh, so could you not get into college? Did you get pregnant?” (among other things I’ve heard.)

              1. Katie the Fed*

                I think the stigma is changing as 1) there’s a glut of PhDs graduating so CCs can get really good instructors and 2) College is so damned expensive that CCs make increasingly good financial sense.

              2. Another Salesperson*

                I do agree there is some stigma with only attending community college. Sorry if I made it sound like it was all peachy and good for those graduates. I hope it’s getting better for them as college tuition rises and it is seen as a smart, economical choice.

                But, I still think UofP looks worse on a resume than CC to the average hiring person if resumes were basically a wash otherwise.

              3. Marcy*

                The stigma is unfortunate. I spent my first 2 years at a CC and found that the quality of education I received surpassed that of the 4-year school I finished my degree in. At CC I had real professors, smaller class sizes and more individual attention. At the 4-year school I had graduate students teaching instead of professors, class sizes that easily filled a large auditorium and no individual attention.

                1. This is She*

                  I also did my first 2 years of an undergrad degree at a community college, and I fully agree that I received a better education there than at my accrediting university. I also had one instructor tell me that the smaller college paid about 60% more to their teachers than both the prestigious universities in my city, and were thus able to attract top teaching talent. The teacher who told me this was teaching one class per semester at the fancy uni (for the resume boost, I presume) and three classes per semester at the small college, for the $ and greater autonomy.

                2. Sara*

                  Ha, this is too true. I graduated from a well-known university and had either TAs or classes of 500 people. I’m not saying I had a poor education, but it’s not like I had a close, guiding relationship with any of my professors.

            3. cuppa*

              Community college is nothing to sneeze at.
              My local community college has a program that is nationally recognized (AS). People move to my area from around the country to attend the program.
              Up until last year, there was a for-profit with a brick and mortar location that offered the same program….it cost about $30,000 a year, and although there were a few good eggs that came out of the program, it generally had a reputation for producing really crappy employees at a much higher cost. Sad.

            4. Coach Devie*

              I would look more favorably on an Associates degree from community college than any degree from UofP to be honest.

              Same, honestly. Hands down more times than not (not to take away from my brilliant cousin who chose (and regrets) the UofP route)

          5. To Avoid The Personal Attack*

            You’re pretty defensive about people criticizing your 4-year degree, yet community college relegates people to permanent lower class status, in your opinion. I know a whole lot of CC grads who have been employed over the past two years, and I know people with “worthless” 4-year degrees who went to CCs after to get some more marketable training. No shame there.

            I don’t think the problem is your worthless degree. I think it’s the giant chip on your shoulder that probably shines through in every career-related interaction you have.

            1. curious person*

              This is EXACTLY what I was thinking. Particularly since the OP states that she has gotten interviews with the degree on her resume.

            2. Katie the Fed*

              Still trying to figure out what’s so bad about being an HVAC repairman. There are far worse things in life than having a skill and making an honest living.

              1. MousyNon*

                Also, holy crap does OP know what they make an hour? If I could hack it, I’d totally go into a trade. Plumbers, electricians, garbage men. Usually union jobs with solid benefits, insane overtime, and a solid middle class wage.

                I just have issues with dirty things and confined spaces. Also being electrocuted. But I’d SO do it if I could.

                1. Natalie*

                  In some states the licensing is a giant PITA (my state, for one). But, all things considered it’s not fundamentally any different than doing a 4 year degree and then working a few years as an office grunt in your chosen field.

                2. Stephanie*

                  Yeah, at UPS/Fedex (where I currently am), a lot of the drivers make more than management, especially during the holidays. Those are unionized jobs with solid benefits as well. My boss chose to go into management from driving since he said he wanted more responsibility, opportunities, and career progression, but he said it ended up being a pay cut for a while (until he got a couple of promotions).

                3. blackcat*

                  Sometimes, when grad school gets me down, I wonder why I didn’t take my love of all things mechanical and good intuition for how machines work and turn it into a trade. Probably because I was raised by lawyers.

                  For what it’s worth, when I bemoaned this to my mom, she pointed out that had she understood that my proclivity for taking small appliances apart and putting them back together meant I would have done well in the trades, she would have pushed me in that direction. But she’s a professional and so were her parents, so the thought of me doing something far afield never occurred to her. She shrugged and said “Plumbers can’t be outsourced.”

                  (I’m also fine with dirt, confined spaces, and mild electrocution. As a child, I learned the hard way why certain things say “do not open for risk of electric shock.” I got some quite bad jolts, and am not significantly worse for wear.)

                4. Juli G.*

                  I’m married to a plumber/carpenter who knows HVAC, electricians, etc. I never sweat home repairs because we can get a discount on the few things he can’t do. It’s awesome.

                5. Anon Accountant*


                  I prepare taxes and do the bookkeeping for a few electricians and HVAC techs with their own businesses and they do very well financially. In our area if you call an electrician or a HVAC tech you have a wait time of several days. No shortage of work there.

              2. DarjeelingAtNoon*

                Here in the deep humid south we worship the ground HVAC repairmen/women walk upon.

                1. Stephanie*

                  Here in the arid low desert of the Southwest, we also worship the ground HVAC repairman walk on.

                  You take the HVAC guy for granted until your AC’s out in July in Phoenix. (I remember just going to a movie that day solely for the air conditioning.)

              3. BananaPants*

                Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” fame has started a foundation that offer scholarships to students studying skilled trades. There’s absolutely no shame in training for a trade/vocational career and doing well in it. I’m a mid-career engineer in an industry where our field technicians routinely earn 2X my salary (or close to it) – I wouldn’t want to do their job (too dirty and dangerous for my taste) but they have great pay and benefits and I don’t begrudge them that.

              4. phillist*

                Oh don’t you know? OP is way too good for any of that “paying bills and eating” stuff. That’s plebeian work.

                I’m sorry for the snark, but my dad is a mechanic, as was my uncle, grandfather and great uncle. My father is now a Regional Director for a major transport company, and he never even graduated high school. My whole family worked their asses off to be looked down on by people like OP, and it just makes me both angry and sad–sad because the work blue collar people like my family do is vital to the maintenance of civilization (I know I sure like indoor plumbing), and yet attitudes like this persist.

                It sounds like OP (“can’t tell my mother”) grew up in a culture that created this attitude. My suggestion would be to work some “low-level” jobs for a while; it might give you some perspective.

                1. Katie the Fed*

                  I’ll be the first to go in a zombie apocalypse, unless powerpoint slides can be linked to survival.

                  I wish I had some actual hard skills.

                2. phillist*

                  That’s actually what compelled me to get certified in Emergency Medical Services. I don’t want to be the first person turned into stew when the Apocalypse arrives. ;)

                3. Cactus*

                  And she also did the whole “I couldn’t go to Georgetown or some party school like all those terrible rich people, I chose UofP because it was affordable, people judge me for not having money” stuff…and then follows it with this. Okay, so…I hate snobs, but I think the worst sort of snob might be the sort who builds themselves up into the prolier-than-thou type before saying extremely classist bullshit.

            3. BananaPants*

              My husband – with a B.S. in marketing from a state university – graduated at the start of the recession and can’t get out of the minimum wage/retail job cycle. So he did some research and found an allied health position that is not highly-paid but is in demand, and he’s taking a vocational course at a community college to prepare for the certification exam. There are 20 students in the class and half have either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree. The program is challenging and fast-paced (he has to study for every single class session) – just because it’s at a community college doesn’t mean it’s easy.

              Once he’s working in this field, he has plans for additional education via a certificate program at another community college in our state – it’s 100% online except for the required externship, and the certificate is explicitly designed for students who already have a college degree.

              Sometimes you have to make lemonade out of the lemons life throws at you. Yes, it sucks that Mr. BananaPants worked his way through college – a long, hard journey – only to have his degree seemingly be worth nothing in the job market. We have a young family and debt to pay off, so even though this isn’t necessarily his dream job this is a step on the road to something better. It’s a crummy job market out there for a LOT of people.

          6. toxicnudibranch*

            Ruth, I know it’s a bummer to hear that your degree you worked so hard on may be doing more harm than good to your resume, but you’re taking it out on your fellow AAM readers for no good reason.

            All of this “no one cares about my business degrees” and “another useless degree” and “I’ll leave it off now but add it back on later because the world is totally out to persecute me for getting an education online” stuff? It’s crap. It’s rude, it’s non-productive, and I sincerely hope you are able to supress it when an interviewer asks about your educational background and your current pursuit of an MS or CPA certification. No one wants to hire anyone that defensively jumps down their throats.

            Take UofP off your resume if it’s causing a negative reaction. Stop raging and trying to deliver a snarky smackdown to everyone who agrees that UofP’s reputation is less than ideal. It’s *not an attack on you*, it’s an accurate representation of public perception. Best of luck.

          7. Labyrinthine*

            Ruth, perhaps you really don’t know (maybe this wasn’t the case when you went there) but UoP is by far one of the most expensive degrees someone can receive short of the Ivy League. It is not a cheap school. Some of their programs are in excess of $600 per credit hour. That is obscene.

            1. MillennialMayhem*

              The important thing to keep in mind about prestigious schools is that they are often much cheaper than their sticker price because several prestigious schools have comprehensive financial aid programs. My alma mater has a sticker price of more than $60k, but I paid less than $2k a year for college with no student loans because my family has a lower middle class income. My sister pays more than $10k a year for in-state tuition at our local state school. UoP is FAR more expensive than the Ivies for poor/middle class students. Elite schools try to give poor students a leg up while UoP takes advantage of them.

              1. qkate*

                Yup, same here. I paid less than half price for a degree whose sticker price should’ve been around $180k, thanks to grant money from my college’s endowment. (Many thanks to the affluent alumni that made my education possible. :) ) The rest of it was a combination of federal student loans and my family helping out how they could.

                Interestingly, I was also accepted to Yale, but couldn’t go because they expected my family to pay more than the FAFSA said we could. I had better financial aid luck with northeast liberal arts colleges, and that’s ultimately the route I went for undergrad.

              2. Coach Devie*

                A bachelors from a place like UofP or ITT tech is easily between 85k-100K (OUTRAGEOUS) I don’t even want to think about what tacking on the Masters costs in the long run.
                They prey on people who don’t understand this, because they’re not paying anything while in school. (ITT tech doesn’t even “let” their students handle their own financial aid paperwork. They do everything and just have students come in to sign papers they don’t understand)

          8. Three Thousand*

            Community college courses absolutely do count towards the CPA exam requirements. You couldn’t take every course you needed for the CPA at a community college, but you could get a lot of them out of the way there.

          9. The Strand*

            Those comments about community college grads are uncalled for. You want people to appreciate how hard you worked, yet are denigrating the work of other students, and the faculty and staff who bust their butts to give these students transferable associates degrees. You aren’t the only veteran or person from limited means to have a hard time translating your experience into something solid.

            Also, you clearly have absolutely no idea how valuable an HVAC degree is in Texas or colder climes. Plumbing and HVAC are lucrative fields for many people, rather than leaving them in the permanent underclass.

            1. Pennalynn Lott*

              I am currently going to school to get a Bachelor’s/Master’s combo degree in Accounting, so I can then get my CPA. My plan is do the books for small businesses, not work at a Big Six (is it still six?) firm. I hope to charge, when I’m fully up and running, $75/hour for my services. My HVAC guy charges me $150/hour. So does my plumber. And my electrician. Most of my degreed friends and ex-coworkers would kill to make that kind of money.

              1. Three Thousand*

                I don’t know what area you’re in, but my CPA charges about 4 times what you’re planning to. He has his own independent practice as well.

                1. Pennalynn Lott*

                  I’m in Dallas. Maybe I need to raise my potential, two-to-three-years-in-the-future rate. :-)

              2. blackcat*

                I agree with Three Thousand–you can charge more than that almost anywhere.

                Another option that a lot of CPAs do in my area is flat fee service.

              3. Coach Devie*

                Its 4. LOL.

                My friend is working for EY right now in auditing but as soon as he finishes his CPA he is hoping to get into a private business too. He is already making really decent money at EY, but could easily double his salary going this route.

                He got his bachelors and his masters at state schools.

            2. Blurgle*

              Wait – didn’t she call shipping and cleaning staff “worthless” higher up? As in worthless human beings?

              1. Coach Devie*

                Kind of hope she doesn’t find anything. People like her deserve the fates they’ve created for themselves. What an ugly attitude. It’s not her degree that is keeping her out of the working world.

                Its her personality and her attitude and she refuses to see that, so oh welp

          10. shep*

            Community colleges are not institutions demarcating “lower-class” status. I completely understand your frustration; it took me several years to find a well-paying job with my master’s degree. The belligerence toward bystanding institutions and vocations is saddening, though.

          11. Green*

            I’m also not sure where the “can’t afford” and “more expensive” comments come from either. It’s not like I had $200,000 sitting around to pay my graduate school. I had, like, $500 sitting around and spent that on application fees. I took out student loans like the vast, vast majority of my colleagues. That’s not to say anyone should just attend an expensive school regardless of *value* (expected income and ability to repay, which is a huge issue in law right now), but access to educational loans is pretty free-flowing unless you have a drug charge or are from a foreign country/don’t have legal status.

  7. Allison*

    I have to agree as well. You won’t look like you’re trying to scam the company, but it won’t be impressive or taken seriously. They’ll wonder why you went there instead of a business school at a more traditional university. There may also be a lot of employers who did give University of Phoenix grads a shot, only to have them bomb the interview or get hired but end up disappointing the person who hired them, so their experience may be colored by actual experience as well as the bad press.

  8. AndersonDarling*

    OP, I feel so sorry for you! Since you are going to another university, you can your “In Progress” degree on your resume. Hopefully the education you obtained will help you breeze through your current program.

    But I wonder if you should mention the Phoenix education at all? At first I was thinking that you could bring it up during an interview, “I am currently enrolled in the University of Maryland MBA program. I received a degree from University of Phoenix, and I learned so much in the program, but unfortunately we all know what that degree counts for. I learned my lesson, and I’m learning my lessons again.”
    I would think mentioning that you went through the program would be a plus, and indicating that you kept it off your resume shows that you understand the situation. So many people are in the same situation as you. If I was conducting the interview, I would still feel that the Phoenix education has value.

    1. AndersonDarling*

      Typo day! I meant that you could put your current program on your resume as “in progress.”

      1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

        Even better, you could put something like,

        “MBA UMUC (in progress; expected completion December 2015)”

    2. Hirer*

      I second this angle. Phoenix isn’t going to get one’s foot in the door many places, but having the focus to finish a business school curriculum should still be a point of pride. You can’t say “I know, I know” on a resume, but you can in an interview, complete with a mix of pride and self-deprecation.

      We can also assume that OP learned a fair amount by doing the coursework, which has value. So while the university has its problems, completing any MBA program requires effort and creates new ways of thinking about business. Tuck it away but don’t sell it short.

    3. OhNo*

      That seems like a good solution, assuming they don’t require a completed masters degree for the position.

      The only downside I can see to not including the UoP degree might be in the payscale when you get hired. I know some companies put you in a higher pay category if you have completed a masters degree, so by leaving it off the OP might be losing out on some pay at the start.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Not really; if they don’t take the degree seriously, it will be like it never happened. If she mentioned it in the interview, however, the way suggested above, that might count if they’re inclined to consider it. FWIW, I totally would if it were presented in this way, even if I couldn’t use it to justify a higher salary. But I don’t know that they would if they just saw it on the resume before speaking to her.

  9. kacey*

    I used to work at an online school. Not U of P, but a close competitor. I managed our social media and saw questions from students and grads every day. I have to say most grads struggled. I left because I couldn’t deal with working at a place that was scamming people. It was unfortunate because I think people really did work hard and I am sure there were some great teachers and tough classes.

    But the majority of grads ended up working for the school if they found a job at all. Those who were successful were people who likely would have been (ex: already working, just got the MBA on a lark, etc.) and the loans were crippling for many.

    I am sorry you are having a hard time. You sound like you really took the most from the program. I hope you find something soon. I would leave it off. It’s unfortunate but it might hurt more than it helps.

    Sidenote: There was an online doctorate and someone defended their thesis in Second Life. They get to be called Dr. :/

    1. Adam*

      “But the majority of grads ended up working for the school if they found a job at all.”

      Well that’s really depressing. And for me kind of funny in a morbid way as I graduated from the biggest university in my state and I would love to work there given the chance, but getting a job there is probably harder than graduating. :P

      1. Jennifer*

        It’s a lot harder to get in than it used to be. If you don’t fit every single requirement (i.e. you’ve already done the job before), forget it.

        1. Adam*

          The university in question makes you use their online application system for jobs. No problem. I’ve applied there off and on over the years when in job search mode, and I recently found out their system keeps track of EVERY application you submit regardless of the result. So when I logged back in recently I checked my history and found 95 failed applications staring back at me. No joke. I was having a good self-esteem day so I was able to just laugh it off, but geez!

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Oh God, yes. I applied a bazillion times to my school, for jobs I was perfectly qualified for and I never got in. Even when I was a student I never got in!

    2. Help me see your infinity and my finite-ness*

      … someone defended their thesis in Second Life. They get to be called Dr. :/

      This has been done several times that I am aware of. It isn’t really very different from using a speakerphone or teleconferencing[1] to allow people to participate from a distance[2].

      [1] except that it’s more work to set it up and make it work properly, and there’s a greater chance of glitches.
      [2] many institutions want all or most of the participants to be at the same physical location.

    3. Kethryvis*

      So… not to be difficult, but i got my MA from a state school and wrote my master’s thesis on online communities, focusing on a blogging website. That thesis went on to win awards at my school.

      i’ve also read several really amazing books with research conducted on Second Life, World of Warcraft, and open source.

      It’s not the subject of the research, it’s the rigor into which that research was conducted that counts. So don’t discount that dissertation on Second Life just on what they wrote it on! :)

      1. Valar M.*

        Yep! In fact disease researchers used World of Warcraft as a prediction model for the spread of disease by tracing the way people interacted with a bug in the system (some choosing to help others, some quarantining themselves, some passing it on purposefully). It was interesting research.

        1. CA Admin*

          I was there for that event! I remember it vividly–major cities turned into absolute ghost towns and everyone kept dying, trying to get away and play in unaffected parts.

    4. Connie-Lynne*

      Hey now. I and another commenter on AAM worked for Second Life. What exactly is wrong with doing your thesis defense using a great conferencing tool?

  10. C Average*

    Oh, this sucks. OP, I’m sorry.

    I used to work as an academic adviser, and one of the hardest advising sessions I had to do was with a woman who’d attended an unaccredited Christian college at the direction of her parents. She’d done an entire undergrad there and wanted to add on a teaching certification, and I basically had to tell her our institution (and likely many other institutions) wouldn’t recognize a single credit of her college education.

    What a sock in the gut.

    I really hate that Alison is so right about this, and I’m mad on your behalf at a system that sells degrees that hurt rather than help.

    1. AnonyMiss*

      “Sells degrees” – too real.

      I do think that nobody should be able to profit on another’s education – for-profit schools, textbook publishers, etc. They’re such a racket.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        I have a friend who works at UofP and another who works for a different online college. The first is in business development and the second is in financial aid. I often wonder how these ladies sleep at night, selling what they’re selling!

        1. Chloe Silverado*

          I’ve actually always wondered about this. I almost took a job at a for-profit college when I was a new grad. The role paid better than any of the other entry level positions I was applying for, and as a new grad that was a plus. I ended up doing some research on the school and knew I would feel guilty working there, so I declined. I wonder if your friends no longer feel guilt after working there for awhile or if they actually buy into what the school is selling?

          1. kacey*

            From my own experience – working there caused massive depression over where I worked (and I wasn’t even actively selling anything, just doing social media things) and I hated it and myself. It’s taken me a long time to recover and I quit without having anything lined up.

            A lot of people there appeared to have bought into the Kool Aid though. The thing was, there were exceptional students. But as I mentioned, they’d have been exceptional regardless because they were exceptional people. The school didn’t really help them.

    2. Nikki T*

      I talked to a prospect that went to a christian school of some sort for her MBA. The school was in candidacy for accreditation when she started, but they didn’t make full accreditation and now she has to start over :(

    3. Michele*

      I think that people are more vulnerable if they don’t come from a background where everyone went to college. I was the first person in my family, and I had an awful time figuring what to look for in a college. I don’t think my parents knew anything about accredidation, and my high school guidance counselor was no help at all.
      I ended up going to a state school that offered me a good scholarship, but I can see how someone could make the wrong decision about attending a school, especially if their parents told them to or if they were an adult trying to get a degree while working and taking care of a family. It sucks that those schools are legal, because their practices border on fraud.

      1. Traveler*

        This is so true. I think this is also the reason behind why so many are up to their eyeballs in student loan debt. They didn’t have proper guidance from an adult who had been through the experience, and all the parents knew at the time was that college degree = job (theoretically) so they encouraged them to go regardless of loans and cost.

      2. INTP*

        I can see this. Not only for the knowledge of the educational system that comes from parents having been to college, but their parents are also more likely to work in degree-requiring positions where they can see the reaction to for-profit degrees firsthand. To a lot of us it seems like common sense that they wouldn’t open many doors but I try to remember that not everyone is in a position to have just absorbed that knowledge from the people around them.

    4. Journalist Wife*

      I once left a job where I scheduled all the board exams in the state for a very specific position heavily relied upon by almost all medical institutions and nursing homes because it was too depressing turning away all the people who called trying to apply with U of P or Stratford or similar degree-mill programs completed because they weren’t accredited by our state’s board of health. The sad thing is, they bill themselves as being accredited, prey on the lowest rung of the food chain, and then charge huge fees (way more than going to a normal 10-week program to learn this skill at an accredited community college) only to leave people up a creek later. I mean, I could start my own “college” today and invent accreditations for low-paying training programs and have a stamper made with the insignia of my made-up accreditations, and start issuing expensive degrees that were accredited by the National Board of JournalistWife, and someone somewhere would inquire about signing up. These poor people never knew what hit them. I hated giving them that news — I could literally hear them going through all five stages of grief as our phone conversations progressed.

  11. puddin*

    I have had two different experiences with UOP candidacy. While I did attend, I know a few folks that have. What I have seen from admittedly vicarious experience is the perceived legitimacy of UOP seems to be effected by local access to affordable education, the demographic’s acceptance of for profit schooling, and the job market. I have seen people get the UOP MBA boost in CA during normal job growth and others in the Midwest during the recession get no love. If you are getting your MBA at your boss’ request in order to move up in the same company, I have seen that work as well. Katie the Fed’s example is another pocket of UOP acceptance.

    Congrats on getting your MBA, you did put in the work and the time. And I think you are right, it should mean something; perhaps it is just not universal.

    I do not think that the MBA makes it look like you are trying to scam anyone at all. Along AAM’s comments though, you may look like you were taken for a ride, which is the general thought about UOP.

    1. the_scientist*

      I just wanted to +1 the point that the OP isn’t trying to scam anyone, and I don’t think potential employers view it that way. OP was taken for a ride by a predatory for-profit degree mill; UOP are the scammers in this situation, I think.

      Unfortunately, like Andy said below, a lot of people WILL outright laugh at a degree from University of Phoenix, though.

  12. Andy*

    I know a guy in sales, very successful, very well regarded, and he literally laughed out loud when someone put UoPhoenix on their resume and sent it to him.
    He L’d out L, man. I don’t like it, but I felt like I should tell you.
    That’s not your fault, but it is your burden. I am so sorry.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I wouldn’t laugh; I would cringe. On the resume person’s behalf. I get mad every time I work from home and see those damn commercials (they’re not the only one).

        1. JS*

          Confession? I used to do some part-time modeling/acting (nothing major or even that I sought out — I just knew people in my semi-remote area who were in production and needed people for advertisements) and I actually did some of those TV commercials for a few for-profit universities. It felt wrong, but they paid very, very well.

          I used the money to go toward my tuition for my master’s degree from a state university…

  13. AnonyMiss*

    Personally, I’d leave UoPHX off entirely, especially if you have another master’s in progress. If they ask in the interview about it, however, I would *totally* bring it up, in a way that shows both that you learned something there (ie. your coursework), but which also shows you acknowledge their shortcomings. I’d think something like this:

    Interviewer: “I see you have a master’s in progress with UMD. What made you return to school?”
    OP: “That is correct. I have actually completed an MBA through a well-known distance university (or just say UoPHX – up to you), and even though I believe that I learned quite a bit in my courses, especially in ____________, I realized that I would benefit from a more universally accredited degree, and also improve my skills in _____________.”

    This way, it’s a subtle hint that 1) you actually have more education and knowledge, 2) you realize this is not necessarily favorable to employers, and 3) you are in touch with that expectation. Bonus points for the personal improvement angle.

    What does everyone else think?

    1. Adam*

      If you’re going to mention UoPHX at all in an interview context, I think your outline is about the best you could leverage it. You don’t need to mention you graduated, learned that your degree might be a bit of an albatross, and had to go back. Just saying you started the journey at one school and completed it at the other one will help waive off any reservations the employer might have.

  14. Mallorie, the recruiter*

    You still have an MBA, and regardless of our thoughts on UofP, they are accredited. What I might recommend is taking the NAME of the school off your resume. Especially if you are applying to jobs that require an MBA. If jobs do not require an MBA, I would consider leaving the MBA off all the time.

    1. Natalie*

      I don’t generally do hiring, but isn’t it fairly abnormal to leave the name of the school off one’s resume? I think it would stand out, and not in a good way.

      1. Ezri*

        There are a lot of places that do degree verification when said degree is a requirement, too. Even if they don’t think it’s weird you left the name off, most jobs are going to ask where the degree came from eventually.

      2. Erin*

        Agreed. If someone had their degree but not their university listed, it’d be a major red flag for me. It’d probably be the first question I asked them in an interview.

      3. INTP*

        The only times I have seen that are when the person was on an H1B visa requiring sponsorship and trying to conceal their nationality (so that recruiters would call them even if they couldn’t sponsor visas).

    2. fposte*

      In addition to what other people are saying, the MBA program isn’t accredited. I know U of Phoenix as a school has regional accreditation, which presumably is what the OP is referring to, but a professional school needs to be accredited by a specific relevant body, and their MBA program is not. So if that’s what the hiring manager was referring to, she was right.

      1. fposte*

        Aaand as I note below this is incorrect. It is accredited, just not by the main professional accreditation body.

        1. Onymouse*

          To be fair, it’s also arguable whether business is a profession worth accrediting in itself. What I mean is, there isn’t an accreditation agency of medieval english literature either, and business isn’t like law or medicine or engineering – there’s no “businessperson license”. Obviously many people do think business programs are worth accrediting, but I wouldn’t hesitate at a business program that didn’t have programmatic accreditation but was from an otherwise reputable school.

    3. Remy*

      I think the accredited status is a red herring. It’s a for-profit school. That’s what immediately makes it a non-starter .

    4. Green*

      That actually seems more like trying to scam the employer than just saying you got an MBA from X and letting them judge X as they will.

    5. Mallorie, the recruiter*

      I think that the name of UofP would be eye catching at an initial stage in a bad way. Once you are going through the process, if they’ve had a chance to meet you, they may not be as turned off. This is mostly just advice if the OP NEEDS the degree. Seems crappy to me that they wouldn’t be able to use a degree they earned. But if the jobs don’t require the MBA, leaving it off is not a big deal.

      It was just a suggestion. Honestly, with how quickly recruiters and managers look at resumes, I would most likely not notice a school name missing, especially if education info was listed at the bottom of resume VS the top. I would probably do a quick scan, see “MBA” and move on. But if I saw UofP, I might hesitate.

  15. BRR*

    The unfortunate part of this is, a family friend went back to school in her 40s at DeVry to get a degree in something like medical records. As she was describing her course work, it was much more intense than everybody else’s who was in the room at that time and all went to non-profit schools that were fairly well ranked.

    For profit schools though have such a bad reputation it’s going to be pretty tough to overcome. I’m sorry :(

    1. some1*

      This is the other thing that is sad about these programs: you generally don’t even need a degree in medical records to do clerical work in the medical profession!

      And many of the other programs at for-profit institutions for specific trades (nursing, medical assistant, law enforcement, massage therapy) not only cost much more, but many times the program is inferior and the graduates can’t get licensure or employment in that field. the attorney general in my state is actually suing a for-profit college for this.

      1. Nikki T*

        And community colleges have these programs. I always advise people to start there first, at their junior/regional/community college. For trade school or for transferable credits to a four year college. There’s no shame in community college!

        1. OriginalEmma*

          Nowadays it seems community colleges have a better reputation but man, about ten years ago (and probably longer) when I was applying, they were seen as the dumping grounds for people who couldn’t get into “real college” (i.e., a 4 year university). Maybe that was just my guidance counselor’s prejudice but I really wish community college was presented to me as a legitimate way to gain my general education credits, save money, then go on to get a bachelor’s.

          First person in my family to go to college too, FTR.

          1. Stephanie*

            No, it’s true. I think community college might have less stigma now since four-year schools have gotten so expensive. But when I was applying to college (around the same time as you), community college definitely wasn’t viewed favorably as an option for anyone with a modicum of intelligence. I’m sure everyone had their epithet for their local community college (ours was Brookhavard).

          2. blackcat*

            I think that some of this is regional/city specific.

            Where I grew up, the local CC was very well regarded and had agreements with nearly all local high schools to let kids take classes there if they maxed out courses at their high school (for example, taking Calc 2 or 3, or an advanced Stats class was common). Thus, the campus positioned itself as attracting the best and brightest high school kids, who could then rack up credits to transfer to the state university system. Most of those folks were able to get the BA in 3-4 years *total*. Given the rather obscene cost of that “public” education, many middle and upper middle class families pushed their kids to consider the CC for two years. A lot of these folks come from families where one/both parents have professional degrees, and they attended the CC 10-15 years ago.

            1. Jamie*

              We had that option as well – my parent’s discussed it when I was in the local high school for a couple of months before going to boarding school, because I was in a program where I was taking some high school classes (English and math) 6-8th grade when the AP options weren’t suitable, so I started high school having already finished English through senior year and math through pre-calc which was junior year, if I remember correctly.

              And I went to CC when I got home because they opted for boarding school and so I’d already been living away for 3.5 years and I wanted to be home for a while. It was fine – it wasn’t MIT – but it was fine and my credits transferred to my four year. And this was mid-late 80’s in a reasonably affluent area. Most of the people with whom I grew up went to a 4 year straight from high school but a significant number did the cc thing for a year or two for various reasons – but most certainly not due to academic limitations or (to my knowledge) financial.

              Plenty of people are ready to leave at 18 and do well at a 4 year, but an awful lot of people aren’t and that’s okay. Going away before you’re ready to assume responsibility for the day to day life stuff can be an awfully expensive lesson in fees for failed/withdrawn classes, etc.; there isn’t a thing wrong with living at home and going to a CC getting another year or two of maturity under your belt first.

          3. Connie-Lynne*


            I got my degrees from a community college ten years ago — when I was in my 30s. I remember in my teen years community colleges being suggested as a legit alternative due to the expensive costs of a four-year degree, but then, California’s community college system is pretty stellar. They’ve also worked closely with the UC system to make it easy to tell which of courses transfer and which don’t.

            There’s still a lot of people who will get snooty about “just” a community college degree, it’s true, but I don’t mind schooling them if they pull that nonsense around me.

            1. Windchime*

              Yeah, there are tons of people who are snooty about “just” community college. That’s OK. All I have under my belt is a couple of years in a certification program at a community college, but it was enough to get me my first programming job and now I’m making more money that most of my snooty classmates who went to a four-year school and are working as school teachers.

              Money’s not everything, for sure. And I wish I had been able to go to a 4-year school back in the day. But I wasn’t able to, and I’m happy with what I’m doing now so it’s all good.

        2. Jamie*

          Hell no there is not.

          My kids all met with counselors there before starting to plan their education and what transfers where – what they can get at community college to transfer for 1/4 the cost they are.

          Fwiw I’ve seen the syllabuses and work for stuff like the 100-200 level com, core history, humanities, lit classes from various schools due to family members and you’d be hard pressed to pick Northwestern’s COM 101 from the community college.

          As long as you know what transfers (and I am always amazed at how helpful those counselors are) it’s an excellent way to save money. Once you get the BS from the 4 year school it’s the same as someone who went there the whole ride – there isn’t an asterisk next to the degree indicating transfer credits.

          And as Nikki said they have all of those programs and more and community colleges have relationships with the business community in a way a for profit won’t. We go to job fairs whenever they have them and recruit and we’ve gotten great people in entry level jobs before they graduate which is a win-win-win for everyone since we pay tuition*. They get to work and go to school without paying tuition and books for an employer who wants them in school so we accommodate scheduling, we get people we need in positions that are sometimes hard to fill, and the school wins because they get fewer people dropping out of the program due to finances. We’re small, but lots of businesses have the same deal with them including major hospitals (although I couldn’t tell you what other employers have 100% coverage for tuition/books.)

          *for the program/major for which they were hired. If they switch to French literature it’s a different conversation as we don’t have a lot of call for that particular expertise.

        3. AnonyMiss*

          Community college grad here, no shame whatsoever. Graduated with a top-notch education in my field, and enough units to transfer to a 4-year school as a junior. Because of certain other life decisions (being married, living on our own, both of us going to college, but only one of us working part-time during it), we did end up taking out a small amount of student loans – but we’re under 10k at this point, no repayments yet, and I have a job that literally pays over 3x as much as my last one before I went to school (when factoring both hourly rate and part-time vs. full-time).

        4. Today's anon*

          You just have to be careful about the real transference of credits. Many community college grads come to my school expecting that a lot more of their credits will transfer and when they don’t, it is hugely discouraging. There is some work going on to get all advisers on board and we do a lot of work trying to articulate the curriculum for reciprocal credits so that the credits transfer…but it’s not a smooth road and the students are the ones who pay (figuratively and literally).

    2. ggg*

      DeVry is totally legit. I have hired people with degrees from DeVry and they are very well-trained.

      1. Steph*

        I have known several “techie” types who have gotten training/course-work @DeVry, and they are excellent in their fields.

        I could be incorrect, but I believe that DeVry is like a vocational-degree oriented program. Meaning their focus is providing very specific professional certifications in technology.

      2. AnotherAlison*

        People might be well-trained, but isn’t it expensive?

        I can go to the local community college for an associate’s for ~$6,000 total. Just looked on DeVry’s site, and their Associate’s is $40,000. A 4-year degree is double that ($75-$90k), and I could personally get a 4-year degree for $6,000 yr 1-2 +$20,000 yr-3-4=$26,000 (living at home, which means I’m looking at this based on my kid).

        That’s too much money, imho. If anything, it should cost less. My 4-year engineering degree is generally worth more than a 4-year engineering technology degree. (DeVry does have ABET-accreditation for some of their engineering programs, which is huge in that field, but Engineering Technology is different than Engineering.)

      3. fposte*

        I think DeVry had some chops as vocational/technical training once upon a time. The problem is that they’re doing the for-profit thing of trying to be everything to everybody.

      4. Dynamic Beige*

        I was wondering about this: what are some of the other schools to be avoided? You say DeVry is OK, but I’ve seen ads for this place called triOS and wondered if it was shady (I am not considering returning to school full or part time so this means nothing to me beyond curiosity) Or there are these Art Institute of [insert city here] (there seem to be a lot of them).

        1. Natalie*

          Well, if a school is part of a state network that should be fairly obvious. If they’re a private, non-profit school they have to file paperwork to that effect and you should be able to look it up. You can always check Wikipedia.

          FWIW, be careful of “sound alike” names, the Art Institutes International being an excellent example as many cities have a non-profit, private [City] College of Art & Design. The one in my city happens to be quite expensive and doesn’t provide a very good gen ed program, but at least the art education is top notch. I wouldn’t say the Art Institute’s education is any better than you’d get doing self study.

        2. Laura*

          I remember when we were hiring temps, none of them went to a normal school like a community college or university. They all went to DeVry or ITT Tech. I know this means little, but it really stood out to me that the 50+ resumes we were going through, all had these schools listed. It made me wonder if they had to look for temp work because of this.

        3. Susan*

          I had a friend who went to DeVry. He studied networking, which is a very specific in-demand job and has been employed in the field for at least two years now after having working about 5 at a movie theatre. It definitely raised him out of poverty and I don’t think he’s a braggart, but by his accounts he’s better gained than a lot of his colleagues.

          As for the Art Institute system, I went to a fairly well respected art school and I know people do look down on the Art Institutes, but I don’t think it’s anywhere as crippling as the UoP. With an art degree, people care more about your portfolio — to the point where it almost doesn’t matter if you graduated all. The benefit of a degree from one of the more prestigious schools after your education ends is that your networking options are probably superior. But I know people who went to the Art Institute of ____ and are doing just fine, with the REALLY, REALLY big caveat that you need to be in the right region where there are jobs in your field (like, I think paying 35k or whatever to get an animation degree in Idaho is a bad idea. Move to southern California. You could do it after graduation, sure, but your peers in SoCal have been interning every summer with the local studios). Also, some degrees do better than others (you have to be somewhat prolific to work in fashion, but if you have a strong graphic design portfolio, no one cares where you went to school).

          I know Art Institute grads who work at big game companies, but in individual circumstances the Art Institution can be just as predatory. If a young person lives in a state without a creative job market and are going there so they can live at home and take out loans for tuition, but would never be able to afford to relocate after graduation, their degree is probably just as useless as the OP’s.

          1. Natalie*

            I’ve always wondered this about art-land. If all that matters is your portfolio, is self-study an option? (Assuming it was something one could reasonably do at home without expensive equipment, like illustration.) If the only benefit to going to art school is the networking, that almost makes Art Institutes and the like a worse deal than not going to college.

            1. Susan*

              I don’t know how to answer that exactly. The truth is I don’t know. Anecdotally I know successful artists who didn’t go to school or dropped out of school. But they don’t fit into the stereotype of a dropout. They’re the types constantly working and constantly getting involved in shows and collaborating with other people.

              I also thing the better schools do mean something to *some* employers, I just don’t think an inferior school will necessarily going as a strike against you in the way UoP seems to. But I’ve had interviews or after I’ve already gotten a job people say to me, “Oh, wow you went to ____.” Certain programs have a real reputation and recruited heavily from. I think it gives you a leg-up and I think since your peers are so much more likely to be in New York and LA after graduation, the number of jobs you hear about internally, I think makes a big difference. It seems kind of lame that that’s why you would pay so much money — for that network — but I think it’s what makes the biggest difference. I know some people who had really great experiences with certain professors and learned a lot, but I do think a lot of this is capable of being self-taught, I just don’t know if you’d have the “in” without the contacts. It’s hard.

              Another obstacle for non degree holders is that in this economy a lot of the entry level positions like “junior designer” have been cut completely. So how you break in is to take an internship (hopefully paid) and then move up to designer or something like that. I think since the “entry level” positions are only available to recent grads (some even have a stipulation that you have to have graduated within the last year) that might make it hard for someone who has to apply at a higher pay grade with no experience. Because the -school- might not matter as much in this field, but having a resume filled with experience and projects certainly does. If you can work for a nonprofit or something for a certain amount of time and create substantial work samples, you might be able to overcome that.

            2. Artistanon*

              Well, I think it depends on which discipline you are seeking training in. If you are talking studio art, you learn more in art school than just technique. Specifically, the critiques and the environment of working with a group of talented people pushes you to achieve your best. In other words, you get there faster and you learn a lot of the extraneous bs that goes beyond making the object.

              You also make connections that can help you in the long-term if you maintain them. Community art centers are often good places to start for beginner skills and connections, but in some galleries, there is an expectation of college-level training. Believe it or not, the gap in skills can present itself later when you are competing for wall space with people who have had more rigorous training.

            3. Dynamic Beige*

              “If all that matters is your portfolio, is self-study an option?”

              I think that depends on what kind of art you want to do and where you want to go with it. Commercial art (graphic design, illustration, advertising), or fine art? You look at someone like Jean-Michel Basquiat, he was self-taught. Even if you study or are trained in technique at school, eventually you develop your own style, which is always self-taught. You could self study printing techniques by taking some courses and then paying for studio time. I’ve heard of life modelling clubs where your membership fee pays for the model. You don’t need a special licence to buy paints and canvases.

              But, if you want to go into Commercial design, not having a certificate/degree can hold you back in some unexpected ways, beyond the immediate “Oh, you went to ____?” I knew someone who was amazingly talented. This person was tapped to be the Big Creative for an agency in New York. Problem was that when the paperwork was being filled out, this person had dropped out of Art School to go work full-time at a studio and because they lacked that accreditation, they were ineligible to emigrate to the US to take the job, there wasn’t any “comparable years of working experience” loophole, you had to have a degree. That poaching out of school thing can happen, one guy in my class didn’t graduate with the rest of us, because after 3rd year he was offered a job at JWT.

            4. Treena Kravm*

              Anything in the arts doesn’t require a degree, but the degree serves as a way to network with like-minded folks. A person could be like the people Susan knows and they’re really proactive about networking and collaborating on projects etc. But some people need the structure of a program to meet people.

          2. The Strand*

            Susan, great points.

            Art Institute is indeed a bad choice and I know two people whose path has been harmed by attending. Likewise other art schools or creative programs such as film, even the good and excellent ones, if the student is just planning to return to hometown or suburb, are also not good choices. (Unless your suburb is in NYC, LA or maybe Atlanta.)

            You have to go where the creative markets are, or else you’re better off getting a solid community college art degree for a fraction of the cost while you find yourself. I have a dear young friend who graduated from a non AI school, a legitimate one, that cost $50k a year, then returned to the small city she’s from. There aren’t many creative jobs there, so she’s trapped in retail. If she had moved to a city with more creative jobs and fewer college grads, in the sunbelt, she’d be doing better. Likewise, I couldn’t get another young acquaintance with a film degree to even consider leaving her crumbling city in the north for a well paid film job in another city. She told me she will keep waiting for her big break to work at her favorite production company… A break that will go to a guy or girl willing to move wherever for the work.

        4. Ruth*

          OP here. This is a great question! Too bad answering it would get sued. I suppose posters could answer it below except that people can’t even agree on whether U of Phoenix is accredited or not. There’s a website called You can get an idea of how bad some of the really bad schools are from there, but it’s also a lot of people complaining because their professor wouldn’t let them turn in a paper late, or disagreed with them.

          If it’s not the difficulty of the classes that actually makes for bad schools, then it’s pure reputation! So once the so-called for profit schools get out of the news the stigma will die down. Students are not manufactured products that are better from one place than from another. In the long run, we all teach ourselves. Too bad most jobs don’t just test potential applicants to see if they know their stuff! So many HR idiots are obsessed with soft skills, and they think they can tell if an applicant will be good (or not) simply from a two page resume and what school they went to. Ha! Even what jobs a person had before and how long they were there don’t necessarily reveal if they will be good candidates for what they are applying for. After all, you can be fired for anything in the USA.

          1. Macedon*

            I’ve been one of the commenters who stubbornly champions awarding or stretching the benefit of the doubt in favour of a candidate, and even I have to ask: what do you expect HR people to do? A number (in my industry, at least, the majority) of reputable places test their candidates these days, but the pool of test-takers has to be determined somehow. You can’t expect employers to accommodate the expense of testing every single person who applies for a position – candidates come in the hundreds. And the more junior the role, the more popular. HR officers have to filter somehow: your CV, work and academic history are their first stop.

            You’re in an unfortunate position, where you’ve worked very hard and in good faith, only to have your personal and financial resources squandered. You’re more than entitled to your share of bitterness towards the people who put you in this position. But don’t misdirect that anger.

            Sadly, now that you’re stuck in an undesirable place, you have to figure out your next optimal move. Noticeably, it’s not the one you’d enjoy – no one would like to know however-many years of work have to be nominally erased – but it’s currently the most logical step. Give Alison’s advice a shot: see if you receive more interview invites and better feedback if you remove your time at UoP from your CV. If it doesn’t change anything, okay, go back to handling things how you like. At this point, you have nothing to lose by trying.

            1. toxicnudibranch*

              I’m curious now.

              @Ruth, what do you think would be an appropriate first screening process for “HR Idiots” to use?

            2. Not So NewReader*

              Never underestimate the power of soft skills. I worked on a project in one of my classes with a guy that I thought was really going places in life. I was so surprised to find out that he was a C student. His grades did not mesh with what I saw of him. Upon thinking about it, I realized his soft skills were above average, waaay above average. I was wrong, his pool of intelligence lies in people skills, that is his genius. I fully expect that he is successfully climbing the corporate ladder now.

              All the knowledge in the world is useless if no one will listen to you.

              1. Mallorie, the recruiter*

                This is a great example. I am not “smart” smart. I am, however, people smart. And its the smart I would choose any day of the week.

            3. Green*

              I can see why Ruth isn’t big on using “soft skills” either… This is the nastiest I’ve ever seen an OP be on AAM comments. Ruth, you need to work this anger out before you try to get a job. That needs to be priority number one in your life so you can live happier and healthier.

          2. CA Admin*

            There are a lot of ways to rate schools, other than just reputation. Percent of students who complete in 5 years, SAT/ACT scores of new students, percent of graduates who’re employed *in their field* within 90 days of graduation, GPA of incoming students, percent of graduates who go into loan default, etc. etc. etc.

            For-profit schools typically fail at all of these measures, which is why they have terrible reputations. It’s not just “people feel this way” about a school. There are hard numbers to back it up.

          3. ZenCat*

            Sometimes creating a portfolio of work or even YouTube tutorials on some aspect of your job that may fit that can help give an I press ion as well. I have some college experience and a HS diploma, given my skills and portfolio it’s very peculiar that I don’t have a BS but I had great mentors and a great portfolio. They interviews for my type of work are panel, multiple, and is based a lot on fit. My skills and what I can show get me in the door and I believe I make up for my shortcoming with the soft skills.

          4. Collarbone High*

            OP, first off, I feel your pain here, and have utmost sympathy for your predicament. A good friend got her MBA from UofP in the early ’90s — she was a single mom and working full time, and back then, that was the only school that offered MBA courses at a time other than during office hours. She worked her ass off to get that degree — I remember her showing me some of the projects she was working on, and mentally filing that under “way harder than I ever want to work, for anything.” I’m angry on her behalf, and yours, and everyone else who truthfully worked a lot harder than people who were able to devote themselves full time to business school for two or three years. I wish employers took those circumstances into account, and didn’t just dismiss the degree outright because it came from a school that has hurt its reputation in the intervening years.

            However, you’ve got to stop blaming “the media” for UofP’s problems. The media didn’t force for-profit schools to adopt a predatory business model, or to make decisions that undermined their credibility and the quality of education they provide. Shining a light on those decisions is the only way the problems caused by unscrupulous for-profits will get rectified. The problem isn’t that for-profits are in the news, it’s *why* they’re in the news.

        5. AVP*

          This is very specific to the Art Institutes, but the local one in my city asked me to come in for a breakfast with a few other professionals in our field. We met with some of their advisors, professors, and curriculum planners, and I think they were trying to both “sell us” on taking on some of their students as interns and get our feedback on their programs and what we’re looking for in entry-level employees.

          I was really surprised at some of the advice and coursework that they were doing with their graduating students – it was frankly out of touch and likely to get their students’ applications tossed without reading. Nothing worse than any of the other complaints we’ve seen on AAM about bad college advising, but they were very defensive when I pointed some of the problems and told me I didn’t know how to hire and that I should reshape how internships work to make them easier for their students. (They have a non-traditional school calendar, which is fine and totally workable, but the way they were presenting it made it look like their interns wouldn’t be able to commit to an internship the way a regular 4-year student would be able to do a one-semester internship. And they were wasting an entire quarter of the senior year on a “final project” that frankly HM’s would never watch and would be annoyed to see you trying to send them. And that would take six minutes for one of my junior level people to make.)

          I have no idea about the quality of their classes, and I’m sure many of their graduates go on to do well, but the advice I saw them giving these kids made me think “buyer beware.”

          For programs like this, in the future, I would look for professors who are either scholars in the field (for theory classes) or actual working professionals (for practical classes) … to me that seems like a safer way to make a judgment on what the program will be worth.

          1. Not a fan*

            As a former applicant, there were several issues that did not work for me, but the most annoying scenario was: I graduated from semi-famous school abroad in a program run by famous person. I was taught in English, obtained the degree, could provide transcripts, and had been teaching for several years. AI insisted that I used a service owned by a related company to run an American equivalency at my expense. The fee was around $300, if I recall, for a position that paid maybe 3000/semester. Maybe this is standard practice(?), but at any rate, all the red tape prevented me from seeing the art.

    3. Sabrina*

      I went to DeVry for a little while but they are so freaking expensive and they wouldn’t accept most of my associate degree credits but wouldn’t explain why. I transferred to a non-profit private school. Degree is still worthless, wish I’d never bothered.

    4. Chuchundra*

      We used to recruit pretty heavily out of DeVry. I don’t know what it’s like these days, but they used to have a reputation of having extremely rigorous coursework based on real-world, industry requirements.

      I’ve worked with good number of DeVry grads and, with one exception, they were all extremely competent techs.

      1. Jamie*

        Back in the day it was fine for techs, I’ve known several people who went there in the 90’s and have never heard any complaints about the foundation they got. Just the usual IT complaining about how no matter what you learn in school otj is a completely different world. Theory and practice are never the same, but in IT the chasm seems to be wider than many other fields.

        I don’t know if the school itself has changed regarding tech, but the reputation has definitely changed. And per their website they now offer liberal arts degrees, health sciences, MBA (and other non-technical master’s programs)…so it seems to have changed quite a bit since it was considered basically a vocational school. Whether that diluted the tech programs I don’t know.

        The thing about tech is it’s more concrete than some other fields. If you go to DeVry and get a job as a sysadmin or network engineer, you will either sink or swim pretty quickly and very publicly. It’s one of the reasons IT has less of an emphasis on degrees than other positions, because you can know all the theory in the world but if you can’t apply it it’s worthless to an employer. And if you can’t apply it will be very apparent.

        Where if you’re hiring an MBA for long term projects relating to organizational structure, growth, direction etc you can sink a lot of time and money into someone before you realize they don’t have the skills to do the job. Because those types of projects have a long curve and often don’t have empirical tests which you can use as a Go/No Go gauge for vetting effectiveness.

        These are generalities, of course, but it’s the overarching reason why you’ll find many in IT who couldn’t care less where you learned what you learned what you learned as long as you’re competent, professional, and have a fast learning curve as well as some other key traits. Having a degree in IS/CS from Northwestern is great, but if you’re not current (those degrees definitely have a short shelf life if you aren’t keeping your skills current) or can’t apply what you know in a live environment you’re going to be passed over for the candidate who has a proven track record of success irl even if they learned it otj or on their own.

        It’s for positions where it’s harder to show than tell where people need the security of a solid institution backing their degree because there fewer ways to vet them early.

        1. the gold digger*

          Exactly, Jamie.

          I have an MBA from a top-20 school and I needed it to get the kind of work I do (marketing and strategy). But I work with a software product manager who never finished college. He didn’t need to: it’s really easy to prove your competence with programming stuff in a very short time. With my kind of work, employers have to rely on credentials and hope that the schools do a good job with admissions.

          (I met a recruiter who worked for P&G and asked him how important an MBA was. He scoffed, saying that the b-schools don’t teach anything useful – I would disagree – but they did a really good job of narrowing his recruiting funnel.)

  16. HR Shenanigans*

    I fully admit that I have a bias against for-profit schools. For that reason, when I’m screening resumes, if I see one has a for-profit school and I want to put them in the “reject” pile, I make sure there is another reason beyond education beforehand. In this way I hope that I’m recognizing the bias and trying to counteract it.

    1. Ann O'Nemity*

      I have a bias against for-profit schools as well. As a hiring manager, I would see a degree from University of Phoenix as being worse than no degree at all. To me, UoP or similar degrees don’t convey achievement, commitment, or competency. Instead, I worry that the applicant is unwilling to do background research and lacks good judgement.

      1. Joey*

        Isn’t it equally incompetent to make judgements on that bias without having any real evidence to support it?

        1. Andy*

          There IS evidence to support that. If you get an MBA from an unaccredited program it clearly indicates that either you didn’t care if they were accredited or you didn’t look to see. So either you don’t care about certifying expertise, in which case you probably won’t care too much about the creditable professional licenses of your potential future hires, or you are really bad at doing your homework.
          If you use an unlicensed builder to put up your home I cannot be too sympathetic when it falls off the cliff.

            1. the_scientist*

              Evidently the MBA program specifically is not accredited by whatever body governs MBA accreditation in the USA. Even if the school itself holds accreditation (and that word gets thrown around a lot but you have to do your research because some accreditations are virtually meaningless) the fact that the degree program is not recognized by the professional/licencing body means that it’s virtually useless.

            2. Oryx*

              They are, but it’s one of those things where it depends on what org actually accredited them. So, I work in a field with a very specific accreditation body that companies want my degree to come through. I I went to a school accredited by a different governing body, even if I did the coursework and had the degree, it would be considered invalid by 99% of employers.

          1. Ruth*

            OP here. Or you were 25, stuck, and didn’t know to ask? And didn’t know that vicious hiring managers (with HR degrees from Frostberg and Coral Gables, I imagine) would punish you forever for your temerity.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              It’s not about being vicious or punishing you.

              You’re sounding very, very angry in your comments here, which is really unfair to the people who are trying to help you — and even more unfair to yourself, because I have to think that it’s making this so much harder than it needs to be.

              1. Brooke*

                I agree – Ruth/OP is digging a hole here, which makes me think she’s digging holes elsewhere. UofP may be the least of all the concerns!

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Hiring is all about making quick judgments based on limited data. Hiring manager judge things like good school = smart / job hopping = won’t stick around / etc. all the time. I don’t think this is any different.

          I treat UofP as worse than no degree too. I’d be embarrassed to pass a resume with UoP along to colleagues, unfortunately.

          1. Meg Murry*

            Yes, I think UofP as worse than no degree in most case, and consider it poor decision making on the person’s part to go there. I would put it down mentally as “not doing appropriate research before making a major decision” and I would be concerned about their ability to make other major decisions.

            My only exception to this would be for someone who has a strong work history, and obviously used UofP as a way to “check the box” on getting a degree in a field where a degree did not used to be necessary 10-15-20 years ago but now is a requirement to move up – I’d consider it a neutral then, but not really a positive.

            I also have a very negative UofP reaction because years ago I worked with 2 people that were basically idiots – and they both got UofP degrees in order to move to the next payscale at our job, but did not appear to actually learn anything from their UofP coursework. Not saying that everyone who goes to UofP isn’t smart/able to learn – but to me it showed a very low bar of what it takes to get that piece of paper from UofP.

          2. Joey*

            hiring is also about making decisions based on evidence not on biases. This is why we hire people from schools with reputations that aren’t always the best.

            1. HR Shenanigans*

              And that is why I’m saying I use it as something I consider but not my determining factor as to whether or not I pass them on. If they have 20 yrs of experience in something specific I need but also have an MBA from UoP, chances are I’m going to present them as a candidate. If they have 20 yrs of experience that isn’t directly relevant but may be helpful and MBA from UoP, I probably would think twice.

              1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

                Yes. I would most certainly be concerned about a UoP degree – not just because of quality but also because of concerns about the person’s judgement. However, I would consider it a small lapse in judgement that I might overlook if the person had a really strong work history and there was solid evidence of their ability to the the job. I would not take a chance on a recent grad with limited work history, which seems to be the situation OP is in.

            2. Mike C.*

              Why are you assuming that a college’s reputation isn’t based on any evidence?

              Given two engineers, one who want to UoP and one of went to MIT, which would you be more interested in? Why?

              1. Joey*

                Id be interested in the one that had a better understanding of the engineering at my company and could show how he could excel at the job. Obviously , MIT has a reputation for some of the smartest engineering minds, but that doesn’t mean the guy sitting in front of me knows anymore than the guy sitting outside the door with a degree from somewhere else. For me it’s what they’ve done, not where they went to do it.

                1. Mike C.*

                  Right, and who do you think is most likely going to have better access to the education, people and equipment that will directly lead to and help them become successful at actually doing stuff?

                2. Joey*

                  well obviously the MIT graduate would be someone Id be excited to look at but Id be equally excited about the person who worked 2 part time burger flipping jobs while clawing their way through the community college then the local university program.

                3. Shenanigans*

                  “Id be equally excited about the person who worked 2 part time burger flipping jobs while clawing their way through the community college then the local university program.”

                  I’m going to call out a big “Bullsh*t” on that one!

                4. Traveler*

                  Few hiring managers are going to care about the person who worked two jobs going to school. They want someone who has ‘done it’ already – and those people are the ones that could do internships and volunteer during their college years in their field, and that option is rarely open to the people that work two jobs going to school. You’ll get lucky and find that one or two who values that, but its rare.

                5. Joey*

                  If that were the case why would I even interview anyone else when someone from a top school applies?

                6. Traveler*

                  You can call shenanigans if you like, but its lived experience for me. Perhaps it depends on what field you’re in – but in mine, all the kids with volunteer/intern experience in a good school but no job experience were hired out of college. The ones that had “real life” experience, but no field experience through volunteering/internships were not. It may make for a small N, but it’s enough of an N that I wouldn’t advise anyone to attempt to go into this field unless they had enough money through parents or scholarships to be able to work for free in college. Hiring managers cared about experience in the field and what school you went to (because who you studied under meant a lot), your “gumption” was nice but not particularly valuable.

              2. the gold digger*

                Given two engineers, one who want to UoP and one of went to MIT, which would you be more interested in?

                Absent any other information, I am going to choose the MIT engineer because I know it is a lot harder to get into MIT than UoP and it’s a lot harder to get out of MIT than UoP.

              3. Glorified Plumber*

                So let me ask this then:

                UoP graduate versus state school graduate.

                3.75 GPA state school graduate versus 2.8 GPA MIT graduate.

                Honestly, I think the UoP to MIT contrast is absurd to even consider. It does NOT happen that often.

                Secondly, a LOT of companies claim to want the best (let’s suppose, I don’t agree with it, but let’s suppose this means MIT graduates) yet won’t pay the wages… thus they end up with no MIT grads.

                Maybe a company WANTS solid mid level engineers, not Jedi’s.

                1. Mike C.*

                  You’re right it’s absurd to consider, that’s why I’m how I show that in some non-zero way, reputation of your school matters and has value.

                2. Joey*

                  I’m not arguing it doesn’t matter, I’m arguing it doesn’t matter so much that you rule people out because of where they went to school absent some real evidence to back it up.

                3. Gizmo*

                  I have to throw in with Joey on his last comment. Where one goes to school does not = the whole picture. I don’t care if it is an Ivy League school. And if we all agree the U of P and similar sleazy institutions are preying on people, I’d think that would be reason enough to give them a bit of the benefit of the doubt, not focus so much on why they “fell” for it. People are told they need the degree to get anywhere in life. Some don’t have access to anyone who will tell them how to vet where they go. U of P is very, very convincing. If they go and do the work let’s at least give them a chance and interview them. I’ve hired plenty of people with degrees from state schools who don’t work out for various reasons. I know it’s necessary to winnow the initial app down. Pick another reason to weed applicants out. Let’s not punish people for trying to better themselves, even if they did fall for a con artist.

                4. Marcy*

                  Good question. I am in state government. I would be very suspicious of any MIT or Harvard or any other Ivy League school applying with me because, well, my state ranks at or close to 50th in state government salaries. I’d wonder what was wrong with them that they are applying with me at those salaries. Maybe that’s silly but I think I’d prefer the state school rather than wondering if the MIT grad was going to quit when something better came along or if they weren’t employable elsewhere for some reason that I’m not aware of. For me, it is similar to an applicant that is “overqualified”. Of course our salaries are bad enough that I have never actually attracted an applicant from an Ivy League school and probably never will.

              4. The Strand*

                I would look closely at what their grades, activities and classes were before assuming MIT was the better candidate.

                I have known more than one person who got into a prestigious school thanks to connections, who was a blithering idiot, or an automaton unable to think for themselves. Do you know how many engineers struggle to write, or communicate their projects within their company?

                Do you assume all kids who went to prestigious schools are golden right out of the box? My sister is an Ivy League grad, my dad went to an equally prestigious school. Both of them were underemployed for decades, though I am proud that in middle age her career is finally taking off. I believe research has shown that after the first ten years, work experience, not pedigree, is what makes a difference for workers. Mediocre folks with stellar degrees are out there, and stellar people with mediocre degrees.

                I agree with Joey that the person who is a self starter from a tough background might be the better hire.

                1. Mike C.*

                  No, I don’t assume they are golden out of the box. I assume that there’s some value to graduating from a good school beyond simply having a name.

              5. Eng*

                U of P does not have an ABET accredited engineering program, which is a pre-requisite for obtaining professional engineering licensure.

              1. Joey*

                because no one has explained how U of P is a worse education. And no one has explained how “good” schools produce better results. In my view very few “good” schools do a good job to begin with.

                1. Glorified Plumber*

                  YUP. 100% agree.

                  If this argument is to be made, then it has to be made like this, “In general, I have found UoP graduates to be unable to do X, Y, and Z. Alpha and Omega in particular have been a struggle for them.” However, no one is making this argument because very few people have interacted and been forced to choose between a UoP student and an MIT student.

                  People above have contrasted MIT and UoP… and it is utterly absurd to consider this. State school and UoP is a better contrast.

                  I lack the experience with UoP graduates that weren’t techs (we had a drafter or two) and I have never interacted with a UoP MBA on hiring, however a friend has one and she’s done well for herself. However, she was a go-getter, which would have been true whereever she went.

                  Anyways, I would agree that a bad engineer at a good school is still a bad engineer not worth hiring. And, I would argue that many companies leave good engineers on the table because they didn’t go to MIT/Cal-Tech/Specific School I recruit at and won’t change.

                2. Former For-Profit Insider*

                  “Good” schools have “good” admissions requirements like requiring nationally standardized test scores, personalized essays and in-person interviews. Most for-profit schools use an internal questionnaire and regularly admit students who are not academically qualified. See:

                  “Good” schools do not recruit at homeless shelters or head-trauma wards at hospitals.

                  “Good” schools do not pay their admissions reps based on how many students they enroll.

                  If you are still unconvinced, here is the video of the GAO undercover sting operation that uncovered outright fraud at 7 for-profit admissions offices:

                  *Major transgressions included telling barber students in DC they could earn up to $100k/year and refusing to provide legally required financial aid information to students when requested.

                3. RH*

                  Thanks, Former For-Profit Insider. These reasons, among others, show the lack of ethics that form the very foundation of UofP and other for-profits. And it is this lack of moral standing that hurts the school’s reputation, which further harms the students who they have already preyed upon.

                4. Joey*

                  Oh I agree they’re predatory and unethically recruit but that doesn’t speak to the quality of their degree. It speaks more to a business model with a conflict of interest.

                5. Joey*

                  All that means is good schools bring in more folks with some assurance they have more potential. It doesn’t mean they will actually be better at a job than someone from u of p. this is why folks are interviewed and good hiring managers don’t just give it to the person from the best school.

            3. Glorified Plumber*

              I’m with you… there is more than just a school on a resume.

              Assuming you have time, it is possible to drill into a good person at a “not the best on the planet” school.

              I find it curious that a poster below broke out the MIT vs. UoP argument, since it is unlikely such a dichotomy exists.

              I worry that so many resume reviewers will ditch middle of the road schools simply because they think they can. Missing out on GREAT folks who didn’t graduate top of their class at MIT.

              1. AnotherAlison*

                I hope you weren’t talking about me, because I wasn’t comparing hiring an MIT vs. UoP grad.

                I wouldn’t be interested in an MIT grad (at least not a new grad) because they probably wouldn’t be a fit here, in addition to having high salary needs. I’ve never seen a UoP bachelor’s grad apply, but I wouldn’t really care if they had the MBA from there or not. It’s more of a check-the-box MBA in this field.

                1. Glorified Plumber*

                  Nope, not talking about you at all! Mike C. and a few others have brought up the UoP / MIT dichotomy.

                  I actually agree with the guy (Mike C.) on many levels, I suffer from a bias towards for-profit schools as well. I wonder if I would go so far as to exclude someone… I don’t know what I’d do. Maybe if/when I am an EM someday I’ll find out. There was another poster up higher who said she looks for SOMETHING else to exclude besides a for profit school… and usually finds something. My brain tells me I would try and do the same thing… and that smells like bias to me.

                  I just think the MIT/UoP that has been thrown around isn’t the right comparison: it is uncommon. Local-ish State School / UoP is the better comparison.

                  On the MBA as a check the box, I would also be inclined to agree with you… I would probably not read any deeper than where their MBA was from as a talking point and move on. They’re all the same to me.

              2. Mike C.*

                I broke it out to show that there is some value to a school’s reputation, and a legitimate reason for a particular school to have such a reputation outside of, “they charge lots of money”.

                1. burnt-toast*

                  Mike C.’s example was a purposefully exaggerated one designed to show that there IS a counter example to the assertion “reputation doesn’t matter.”

                  By pushing the counter example to the extreme, he showed that one who claims “reputation doesn’t matter” actually does, in no small way, find it likely that a graduate from MIT has good training and subject matter expertise. And exploring the reasons why the individual who made the original assertion has these intuitions shows that reputation does, in fact, play a role.

                  So, Mike C.’s illustration was a good one for bringing this out; it shouldn’t be thought of as a realistic dilemma for a hiring manager. The lack of nuance is important for denying the original claim.

                  I thought it was great!

                2. burnt-toast*

                  Sorry, Mike – I don’t know that I should have replied to your post since you can certainly speak for yourself! The thread was just quite long already so I tacked my last comment onto yours.

          3. Jessica*

            This discussion brought me back to the posting that is right below Alison’s answer above, which I happened to come across only a few weeks ago as a new reader to the site:


            In best-case situations, you should look at other accomplishments, as Alison advised in this article, but hiring managers are limited by time and education is a really quick way to rule people out. I’m sure I would be ruled out from a ton of jobs based on my state university undergrad.

        3. Chingona*

          Joey, I’m confused about your position on this because in the post discussing newbie negotiations, you said that behavior that demonstrates ignorance, inexperience, or ineptness, that is unreasonable or too “emotional,” is mark against a candidate. There’s no denying that people who pursue these kinds of degrees are ill-informed and desperate.

          (For my part, were I acting as a hiring manager, I’d do my best to overlook a for-profit degree if I possibly could because I wouldn’t want to re-victimize a victim. Degree mills seem to thrive here in the US in particular because we’ve a culture that pathologizes weakness and unluckiness, pretends systemic inequality is a personal failing, and celebrates the mediocre and bombastic while pretending to be a colorblind and unbiased meritocracy. If anything, Uni of Phoenix graduates epitomize the Ideal American Worker: people willing to work themselves to exhaustion, near death, and most certainly bankruptcy in order to complete a task that is not only futile, but also in diametric opposition to their own interests.)

          1. Joey*

            How many folks do you know that regret some big aspect of their degree? I know tons that regret their school choice, their degree program, and/or the loans they racked up.

            1. Chingona*

              As I say, you made it quite clear in that thread that any (subjective) sign of irrational or self-defeating behavior was a heavy mark against one of your candidates, and dismissed other commenters as emotional when they pushed back against this tactic as heavy-handed and lacking in empathy.

      2. Retail Lifer*

        I have a degree from a different for-profit university. It’s accredited and my credits will all transfer to “real” colleges. I’ve checked. If I could have found my major 100% online from a brick-and-mortar college at the time I would have, but it’s not fair to hold that fact against those of us that didn’t have any other options.

        1. Green*

          It may not be fair, but that’s what’s going to happen. You could consider putting a hard luck story in your cover letter with your degree, but unfortunately most of us assume that people had those constraints (family obligations, FT job, lack of funding, whatever) and still discount the degree. So then you’re already in a defensive position apologizing off the bat for something that (ideally) would have been a positive. Better to just drop it if you can.

          1. Retail Lifer*

            Which only leaves me with an associates degree from an art school, which is worth literally nothing.

            1. AndersonDarling*

              You may be surprised how influential an associates can be. I’ve gotten every job with just an associates, and am only now pursuing a bachelors. It can be hard to get into organizations that require a 4 year degree to be a receptionist, but I’ve seen many job applications loosening their grip on the 4-year degree and instead asking more for years of experience.

        2. AnotherAlison*

          I wouldn’t say that it’s not “fair.” Wall Street firms wouldn’t look too favorably on my degrees, either. I might think I’m just as smart and my experience is just as valuable as any Ivy Leaguers, but they would disagree with me. At the same time, I might not interview someone with an MIT degree because I assume I can’t afford to hire them. We all get judged for our choices, regardless of whether we had other options.

    2. Joey*

      If you’re in HR and in the business of screening resumes I would think you would actually do some research to determine if or how much real evidence outside of the media there is to back up that bias, no?

      It seems like you owe it your company to do some due diligence there.

      1. HR Shenanigans*

        But that’s the thing, I have, that is where I got the bias. The majority are diploma-mills and the courses are hit-and-miss.

        However, as others have pointed out, simply getting their diploma from a UoP or other similar places shouldn’t be my only reason for rejecting them, IMO.

        1. Green*

          Well, the secondary reason for rejecting them would be that someone else has better qualifications. School prestige and ranking is a real thing in [*a lot of? the majority of?*] fields. All else being equal, guy from Wharton will get it over guy from Vandy, even though Vandy is awesome and on through the tiers.

          1. Joey*

            That’s an incredibly poor way to judge how smart someone is? I bet every hiring manager that reads this blog has run across many folks who have a degree from a “good” school and after talking to them has thought “how in the hell did that person get a degree in that?” And there are countless stories of incredibly successful folks who haven’t gone to good schools. The point is while there might be some justification to have a bias it’s reckless and incredibly irresponsible to apply it at the individual level.

            1. Mike C.*

              There’s a reason by Standford and Carnegie Mellon have reputations for Computer Science, MIT and Caltech for Sciences, Harvey Mudd/Olin/Rose Holman for engineering and so on. It’s not the only thing to look for but it’s certainly a good start.

              1. Joey*

                Oh gosh, I know a guy who went to Columbia that is as awkward a person as you’ll ever meet. “Creepy” and “book smart” are the words many people would use to describe him. Just because he went to an ivy school doesn’t make him a great candidate.

                1. Mike C.*

                  One person isn’t a statistically significant sample, and I didn’t name any Ivy League schools.

                  Look, do you think that there’s any value at all where someone went to school? Do you think there’s any difference between schools at all?

                2. phillist*

                  Yeah, I have to say: I know plenty of kids that paid for their degrees at prestigious institutions as well. Just because you’re non-profit doesn’t mean you aren’t interested in making money, and I know for a fact the institutions are willing to overlook an awful lot of incompetence for mom and dad’s “donation”.

            2. MsM*

              Nobody’s saying it doesn’t suck (well, except maybe the people who’ve benefitted from the system), but it is unfortunately the reality, and I don’t think it’s changing any time soon. As long as the networks are in place, people are going to want to hire from the sources they trust and give their own alma maters credit for having set them up for success.

            3. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

              But you have to make decisions based on something – and it’s rarely if ever possible to know everything about everyone in a pile of 100 resumes. Making those quick decisions is not meant to be a perfect process that will lead you to the best person every time – it’s just not possible to find that out in a hiring process timeline.

            4. Jake*

              Anecdote is not the singular form of data.

              perhaps those success stories have other strengths that outweighed the school ranking gap, or there was another reason they were better candidates.

              You’re building a strawman. Nobody is arguing that only people from highly ranked schools will be good employees, they are arguing that a degree from a good school holds more weight, that’s all.

              1. Joey*

                No they’re arguing that people with degrees from accredited schools with bad reps aren’t worth consideration and only people from “good” schools are. That’s crap.

                1. Green*

                  No, we’re arguing that higher-ranked schools tend to be more competitive in their admissions process, thus conducting at least some screening for you. And we’re arguing that some degree programs are so largely reviled that you have to just not give a bleep to go there or have zero other alternative options, neither of which speak well of the applicant.

                  There’s a lot of range in between,

            5. Green*

              That’s why “all else being equal”; there are absolutely stand-outs and exceptions, but the problem is that so many people think they’re the exception that it defies the meaning of “exception.”

    3. Artemesia*

      When I was hiring PhDs we would not consider those who had them from degree mills or for profit distance schools. We favored those from strong tier one universities, but would consider strong candidates who had degrees from less impressive schools and hired a few. But distance degrees at this level? Not considered.

      1. Joey*

        Why? You mean you assumed they were less competent based merely on the school they went to…….regardless of anything else?

        1. Green*

          You also assume someone is less competent based merely on the GPA they got. Arbitrary decisions are arbitrary, but you take the best available information you have and make quick assumptions. More prestigious schools have higher admissions criteria and a more competitive application process, which serves as at least some sort of screening mechanism. You can’t send in an IQ test or your SAT score with your Univ. of Phoenix degree. You just have to live with the choices you’ve made and do the best you can.

          1. Joey*

            Oh god. You look at school rankings?

            So if I’m rich enough to send my lazy brat kid to a nice school that tells you how smart he is?

            1. Anonymous Educator*

              You have to be extremely wealthy/famous in order to get in with no other qualifications. You can’t just be some six-figure-salary rich person or even a low millionaire and then expect your kid to automatically get into an Ivy League school or Stanford.

              Rich kids are certainly advantaged in many ways over poor kids when it comes to admissions, but you don’t automatically get in just because you don’t qualify for financial aid.

                1. Anonymous Educator*

                  Legacy also isn’t an automatic in, either. It certainly helps a lot. It also probably correlates strongly with wealth, but you aren’t necessarily rich just because you’re a legacy, nor are you necessarily a legacy, just because you’re rich.

              1. Anonymous Fundraiser*

                I work in fundraising at an Ivy and we have a strict policy on donations/admissions. The admissions department doesn’t factor that in at all and we are not allowed to share. There are many people in my department who have had to deal with an unhappy, rich alum whose kid didn’t get in.

            2. Mike C.*

              Lazy brats don’t graduate from good STEM schools. If you end up at a place my the schools I mentioned above, you’re either going to do very well or get kicked out very quickly.

              1. Forget the school, look at the major!*

                Actually it’s totally possible for a lazy brat to graduate from MIT … they just need to get a degree that’s less rigorous at that school.

                For example, planentary science and biology are considered the easy A degree’s at MIT; but a biology major from UC – Santa Barbara is a completely different story.

                National rankings don’t tell you much more than where the wealthiest students attend (as this is what correlates the higest to SAT scores and other criteria used to build these rankings). Instead you should look at how universities rank for the major relevant to your job.

                The top ranked school may not even offer a degree more relevant to your business, like marine biology or video game design, so why would you consider a non-relevant degree from a higher ranked national university better than a relevant degree from a top university in that field?

                1. Mike C.*

                  I wasn’t talking about national rankings, I was talking about reputations.

                  Also, I wouldn’t look at a degree program that wasn’t what my business needed in the first place, so the comparison between schools wouldn’t occur in the first place.

              2. You should ask a TA about that*

                Either your definition of “good STEM schools” is tautological, or you are simply wrong.

                The grades given at the local community college are a far better indicator of how much students actually learned.

                1. Mike C.*

                  They’re certainly examples of good STEM schools, but the list was not meant to be exhaustive.

                  But please, tell me how you graduate in good standing from a place like MIT or Harvey Mudd while being a lazy student. You do realize I listed a bunch of really small STEM schools as well, that don’t teach classes with TAs, right?

            3. Anonymous Educator*

              Your logic is flawed here in general. Hiring managers make decisions all the time based on a candidate’s experience, and it’s a lot easier to get impressive experience if you’re rich (you can pick and choose job that further your career, and not just any job that pays the rent; you can afford unpaid internships that lead to networking and connections; etc.). Rich people have advantages in professional life.

              1. Joey*

                You’re proving my point. Just because you worked at a prestigious company doesn’t mean you’re great.

                It’s what you did, not where you did it. And there is something to be said for flipping burgers full time while clawing your way through engineering school compared to say someone who could afford an unpaid internship.

                1. Jake*

                  No. It’s a combination of what you did and where you did it.

                  I went to the university of Illinois for civil engineering. #2 civil program at the time.

                  I tutored a student at the local college for pre engineering. He had a 4.0 and was taking 200 level courses while i was also taking 200 level courses With a 3.2.

                  When he transferred, he failed a class and barely had a 2.0 his first semester.

                  My anecdote is just as valid as those you’re using to prove schools don’t matter (not very), and I know of several more examples.

                  What you’re saying is like saying a minor leaguer hitting .420 is better than Pete Rose because where he did it doesn’t matter.

                  Fact is, it does.

                2. Joey*

                  thats true, but what you’ve done matters much more than where you did it, by a long shot. This is why experienced engineers get the biggest projects, not the inexperienced person with the degree from the best school. And this is why folks with top degrees arent a shoe in for every job they apply for.

                3. Gizmo*

                  Jake, what he’s actually saying is the minor leaguer hit a .420 while working two jobs, and Pete Rose hit a .420 while having the leeway to practice all day, every day. I’m gonna have a measure of respect for the first guy, and that doesn’t diminish what Pete Rose did – but I’m not going to discount the first guy just because he’s in the minor leagues.

            4. Green*

              Yep. I’m in law, and school ranking is pretty important. You can try and fight the system, but that’s more likely than not going to leave you with $200k in student loan debt at 8% interest and no job to pay it off.

              1. Ruth*

                OP here. There are a lot of unemployed lawyers. Books about law school even advise that there are (and will be) a lot of unemployed lawyers for a long time to come. Why? Because the country literally has more lawyers than it needs. Funny how no law schools are going out of business or getting a bad rap in the press!

                1. Fabulously Anonymous*

                  Agreed with Green. I was reading an article just a few weeks ago about a law school closing down.

                2. Elysian*

                  I think it is just different press than what you are reading, which is understandable because it isn’t your professional focus, but law schools are getting awful press right now. Someone linked elsewhere in this thread an article from the Atlantic about for-profit law schools recently. And for the past few years, the New York Times has been coming down super hard on law schools. Committees have been formed to evaluate how law school market themselves, reporting guidelines have changed with regard to graduation rates and employment statistics, and yes, schools have closed. It’s a bit of a different world from business school education, but these problems are felt across the whole system – nonprofit and for profit, law and business, undergrad and graduate schools.

                3. A Bug!*

                  Law schools are actually one of the worst for being predatory and for over-promising potential students’ futures, churning out graduates who are worse off than they’d be if they had become legal assistants instead, because their earning potential is about the same but they’re saddled with six figures of debt.

                  As Green says, law schools are absolutely going out of business and getting terrible reputations. It’s a very serious problem and very well-recognized in the legal community.

                4. The Strand*

                  Go visit Above the Law, or the many blogs about third tier law schools. This has been in the news for several years.

                5. Brooke*

                  Holy moly, Ruth. Do you have any idea the number of cumulative hours people have spent trying to HELP you? Not because they had to, or had nothing else to do, but because they WANTED to?

                  Stop being so petulant. Try some gratitude and perspective. Above all, stop biting the hand that is trying to feed you some much-needed reality.

            5. TL -*

              No but there are name brand schools that do turn out tons of really successful people and you can’t argue that you might look at them as a plus.

              I mean, probably nobody cares which ivy league is on top or if cal tech is better than MIT. But those names do carry weight, both overall and in specific fields.

              1. Joey*

                And there are tons of lower tiered schools that also turn out successful not sure what you’re point is.

                1. Green*

                  Ironically, the person arguing “against” biases seems to have some pretty ingrained “lazy brat” “book learning nerd” biases about highly ranked schools…

                2. Mike C.*

                  Look, just come out and say what you think about these schools rather than having us guess.

                3. Joey*

                  Here’s what I think. Yes I have biases about schools, some good, some not, but that doesn’t mean they will hold true.

      2. AnotherAlison*

        I think I’ve mentioned this on here before, but I work with someone who had one of those PhDs. He liked to be called “Doc.” Then the school lost its accreditation and the degree became worthless. Embarrassing.

        1. Mike C.*

          Wait, a school losing accreditation years down the road invalidates your degree? That does make any sense to me.

          What happens if the school was great when you attended, and was run down years later?

          1. AnotherAlison*

            I guess so? I don’t really know. This is just what everyone has said, plus he used sign his emails Joe Smith, PhD, and no longer does that. It’s also not in his linkedin profile anymore. I wasn’t going to bring it up with him. The internet provided conflicting information, so I’m not sure.

          2. Natalie*

            Maybe they lost it retroactively somehow? Like if the accrediting body found out they had misled them when they were first accredited?

          3. the gold digger*

            What happens if the school was great when you attended, and was run down years later

            This is actually how I am pitching my emails for my alma mater’s annual fund drive. US News rankings consider alumni donations. I am telling my classmates that our school ranking needs to remain high because the name is still on our resumes.

          4. Zillah*

            This seems weird to me, too. It sounds like he’s too embarrassed to use it – if your school was accredited when you earned your degree, the accreditation should hold even if the school loses it’s accreditation later on.

            1. AnotherAlison*

              It looks like if the school was legitimately accredited when someone graduated, they are okay. If the school’s accreditation was bogus to begin with, then their degree could be invalid. I don’t remember what school he went to, so it’s hard to say.

          5. Oryx*

            No. At least it *shouldn’t* invalidate it. We ran into this issue where I work where someone had a degree from a school no longer accredited and we needed to know when they lost their accreditation with regards to when he graduated. (They were still accredited when he graduated, so it was all good)

          6. BRR*

            It depends what field. My spouse wants to go into academia and has said if the school loses its accreditation it’s a huge hit regardless of everything. My employer wouldn’t care. I got the degree and checked the box off so now they look at my professional accomplishments.

      3. Retail Lifer*

        But people that don’t work Monday-Friday from 9-5 don’t have the option of going to a college on campus. Those of us that work rotating nights and weekends don’t have any other choice. And if we could find that mythical 9-5 job week day jobwith a set schedule, we probably wouldn’t be trying to go back to school.

        1. the_scientist*

          But lots of actual universities (i.e. not for-profit institutions) offer distance education now. Since those programs are affiliated with reputable educational institutions, there isn’t a stigma attached to those programs. It’s misleading to say that the only option for non-traditional students is a for-profit option.

          1. Retail Lifer*

            In 2004 when I went back to school, it was the only thing in my chosen major that was 100% online other than UoP.

            1. Green*

              Yeah, that just sucks, but it still is what it is. The initial problem compounds itself even as people try to better themselves and they get stuck with more debt, a degree that may hurt more than it helps, and no better job prospects.

            2. the_scientist*

              You seem to be a vigorous defender of the for-profit educational model, and if it’s worked well for you, I’m glad! Everyone makes their choices and it’s good that your choices have had positive outcomes. It also sounds like you did your research and ensured credit transfer, etc. I do find it a bit hard to believe that there were no distance learning options available from more reputable institutions, but maybe you chose an obscure major.

              Having said that, I don’t think that anyone can truly in good conscience advise another person to pursue a degree at university of phoenix or DeVry in the current reality where brick-and-mortar institutions almost universally have distance education programs attached. The reality is that these for-profit programs are often not fully accredited, most “reputable” institutions won’t accept their credits for transfer, and they have a terrible reputation. That reputation may or may not be deserved depending on the program, but the reality is that UOP and similar are painted with a broad brush in a negative light, to the point where it seems like it actually hinders you to have a degree from one of these schools.

              1. Retail Lifer*

                I’m not defending the model, per se, but I have to defend those of us that earned our degrees in good faith before there were a million sketchy for-profit schools tainting the reputation of ALL distance programs.

                1. fposte*

                  For-profit schools were already considered sketchy in 2006–there were books on the industry detailing the problems, and their funding for elected officials was being considered questionable. I understand that not everybody may have heard about this, but their reputation really hasn’t changed–it’s just gotten more publicly acknowledged.

                2. doreen*

                  For-profit schools were considered sketchy long before distance learning existed. I worked at one briefly around 1987 and they were considered sketchy even then, except for certain vocational fields.

        2. AnotherAlison*

          I was in an online MS Mechanical Engineering program 5 years ago through a reputable brick-and-mortar university, for which you did not have to be online at any specific time and you could have anyone proctor your exams. Considering the low enrollment for MSME degrees, I have to believe their are universities somewhere offering similar things for BA/BS programs.

          I think the problem is that students who are looking at online universities tend to be very nontraditional, i.e. students who weren’t necessarily considering college out of high school, first generation college students, etc. It’s harder to find the information if you don’t know where to look, and since the marketing message of the for-profit schools is so loud, that’s what people end up finding first.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            (Although seeing RetailLifer’s above post referencing 2004, I do think options were more limited then.)

            1. Judy*

              My husband did his MSEE online (by satellite actually) through our state’s land grant university and finished it in 2001. I took engineering graduate courses using distance education in 1991 from a land grant school in another state, before taking years off and completing mine (videos coming in the mail, online chat and proctored exams by HR) in 2001.

          2. Elsajeni*

            Yes, I think that’s a huge part of it. If you’re trying to choose a college without support from teachers, school counselors, family members who have been through the process before, etc., it can be really hard to get a sense of which schools have good reputations and which don’t. Especially if your circumstances put you in a position where the “good reputation” schools you’d be looking at are places like your local community college or non-flagship state school, which might have a good reputation in the sense of being accredited and respected by local businesses, but not in the sense of being widely-known enough to be included in college guides or rankings or mentioned in pop culture, and which certainly don’t have the marketing budget to compete with ITT or DeVry.

            1. Maris*

              Now imagine the same thing, but you are just now coming to the USA (for whatever reason: immigrant, returning from growing up abroad etc).

              I grew up abroad (though born a US Citizen), in a country where access to degree programs is limited to academic superstars (all Universities are State run – and run to a universal standard – which is generally excellent). However, a high school education is roughly equivalent to an AA program in the USA. I started with a major multi-national without any degree. They transferred me to the USA where access even to the job I had tends to be limited to candidates with degrees. I’ve done very well without a Bachelors, but had looked at pursuing one in case I ever decide to leave my company.

              You have no idea where to start looking for information on getting a degree, so you look online, magazines, libraries etc – but most of the information may as well be in a foreign language (even if your native language is English). What is regional accreditation? Why is it better than national accreditation? Which schools have regional vs national? What are all these other ‘alphabet soup’ accreditation acronyms? Are they better/worse/more valuable than regional accreditation? Why are some schools more expensive than others, and why is it that some of the most expensive schools are the best (Harvard) while others (UoP) are the worst? How can some

              I could go on and on about how intelligent, capable people can EASILY get snowed into signing up for the ‘wrong’ educational institute. Suffice to say that I think there should be a free online portal that lays out and ranks every tertiary institution (using defined, rigorous, well explained criteria). I find it shameful that people can get conned into paying extortionate amounts for a worthless education, and then get punished for it by a hiring process that knows something they didn’t.

          3. Editor*

            I would be more blunt. In my experience, people whose parents didn’t go to college and many people whose parents did go to college or who went to college and are resuming college don’t know much about accreditation and don’t understand it.

            As far as I know, there’s no truth in advertising law that requires institutions of higher education to tell each applicant whether their proposed major or the college or institution they are attending will meet accreditation standards for their possible future profession. When I was considering becoming a librarian, I was lucky that someone warned me to attend an ALA-accredited program. I’ve read a lot of Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed articles about accreditation, and the nuances still escape me. While I don’t like what the U.S. News ratings have done to college admission competition, maybe if U.S. News started talking more about accreditation that would help (and disclaimer here — I haven’t read their materials in a long time, so I don’t know if the listings or the introductory information to the listings is covering that topic).

            I can’t blame anyone for attending University of Phoenix or ITT or religious colleges or any number of other for-profit schools when accreditation isn’t a commonly understood metric for choosing higher education. Lawmakers should develop some spine and regulate for-profit education more closely.

    1. BRR*

      Yes, I would say a blanket rule is for-profit universities usually have a negative reputation (not says if it’s right or wrong, just that they have one in most cases).

    2. fposte*

      I’d want to have more information about its reputation in the region, but I’d lean toward a “yes”; the MBA program isn’t accredited by the AACSB, and DeVry in general doesn’t stand out from the other for-profits on reputation.

    3. Lizzie*

      A close friend of mine started a degree at Keller and made the decision to change jobs about halfway through the degree. She was hired for the new position on the strength of her previous work and her bachelor’s degree (in a relevant field from a state school), but was advised after being hired that the “Keller degree in progress” on her resume very nearly got her weeded out of the interview pool. She elected to not complete the degree, but is considering going back to school in the same area at a better-regarded (state) school in the next few years.

      Obviously this is only one experience, so take from it what you will.

  17. JuniperLoki*

    A lot of accredited schools are now developing online degrees but they’re going to be much more expensive. I did a certificate program thru Villanova but then just completed my MBA thru Western Governors. I have coworkers who are doing u of p and it’s hard to not say anything. I did make sure wgu was accredited.

    1. Natalie*

      University of Phoenix is actually accredited, it’s just that their reputation is terrible. And at least in my experience, for-profit colleges are not less expensive than state schools or community colleges. The for-profits in my neck of the wood cost about 4x as much as the state college & university system.

      1. Meg Murry*

        U of P is accredited, but they aren’t AACSB accredited. There are a lot of schools that throw out the word “accredited” and unfortunately, some accreditations are pretty much meaningless, while others mean everything.

        1. Natalie*

          Good point. I was speaking more generally – their undergraduate program is accredited – but it’s also key to check on any graduate programs specifically.

    2. JS*

      I am in the process of finishing an MBA online (which I started in person) because my job requires so much travel that attending classes was near impossible. I’m at the University of Wisconsin, and I know other schools like University of Kansas and University of North Carolina have similar programs (those are just two that popped into my head — I’m sure there are many, many more). There are a lot of flexible options for working adults.

    3. esra*

      You’d be surprised here. The for-profit schools can actually be a lot more expensive than non-profit colleges and universities.

  18. JoAnna*

    FWIW, my husband has a B.S. from the University of Phoenix in IT (emphasis in software engineering), and he has been able to find employment in his field – a much better job than he would have had without the degree.

    According to the link I’ll post as a reply, the MBA program at UoP is accredited by the the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Why would they have that accreditation if they were nothing but a shoddy diploma mill?

    I really don’t get the UoP hate. They were the only way my husband could get a degree, because no other college in our area (either online or otherwise) was able to accommodate his full-time work schedule. The program he went through was academically rigorous and he worked his butt off.

    1. Laurel Gray*

      TBH, I really believe the beginning of the UoP “hate” began when students started having issues with the cost, policies around withdrawals and finding a job during the recession. It is really hard to stomach that you paid the same or a little more for an online degree than what a more prestigious and local school would have cost for the same program. This may just be a subplot in the ongoing major plot of the cost of education in America, either way, the bad rep is here and the UoP bashing has been around for a few years so if this question is still being asked in 2015 it is safe to say it is here to stay.

        1. sam*

          and the “encouraging students to take on massive amounts of non-dischargeable in bankruptcy debt” when these schools have significantly lower positive employment outcomes for their students than either not-for-profit institutions or their own advertising suggests.

        2. blackcat*

          …often targeting folks who used taxpayer money (pell grants, GI bill) to go to college.

          1. Natalie*

            Ugh, bad flashbacks to a co-worker who went to UoP on her GI Bill. At the time she told me she was going there because she needed fully online. Of course, a year or two later I found out our state land grant U has a fully online program for the exact same degree… I wonder if the UoP just BSed her into signing up for their program.

    2. MissM*

      There are a number of different organizations that provide “accreditation” for schools. The main accreditation organization for business schools is Association to Advance Collegiate Schools if Business (AACSB). The AACSB’s standards are considered much more rigorous than ACBSP. Almost all traditional brick and mortar non-profit business schools are accredited by AACSB. Just like colleges themselves, some accrediting organizations carry more prestige than others.

    3. Janie*

      My mother also got her B.S. from UoP (I don’t remember what subject, I think business or something along those lines) because it was the only way for her to get her college degree while in her 40s, working a full time job, and raising 3 kids. She needed the degree to get promoted any higher at her job, and it was a good enough degree for her to subsequently get a job at a different company. So I think the take away is that everyone’s mileage may vary; for some people it makes sense to leave it on there.

      1. Formica Dinette*

        I agree with you–to an extent. For someone like your mom, who was already doing the work and just needed the degree to fulfill her company’s requirements for promotion, getting the UoP degree was fine. She was probably able to get a job at another company with the U0P degree because she was experienced and not just out of school. Plus, there’s a big difference between Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

        As a hiring manager, I would take all those things into consideration, plus any other credentials as well. For example, if I were hiring a project manager, I wouldn’t consider a candidate with a recent UoP MBA, but I would consider someone with an older UoP MBA and a PMP.

    4. BananaPants*

      For business schools, AACSB accreditation is what matters. ACBSP is really not well-regarded.

      1. Elysian*

        I don’t know much about business school accreditation, but my dad knows someone who went to a non-ABA accredited law school. Her school was accredited by a state organization, but her degree is not considered a “real” law school degree pretty much anywhere except her own state. When I heard about her program, the first thing I said to my dad was “She should cut her losses; her degree isn’t real if she doesn’t have to [do this things that I know is required if your school is ABA accredited].” I assume based on what has been said that business school accreditation is similar – it sounds like you need AACSB, or your school isn’t “real.” And unfortunately for the OP, I think that people will view her MBA the same way. Sorry, OP!

        1. Natalie*


          I read a great longform article recently on the explosion of for-profit law schools, which is particularly infuriating considering the job market for lawyers from GOOD schools is awful right now.

            1. Natalie*

              Hey, it wasn’t as hard to find as I thought it would be! The Law School Scam at The Atlantic (link to follow but will probably get stuck in moderation for a minute)

          1. Elysian*

            Oddly, I don’t even think the law school in question is for-profit (it might be; some quick googling did not clarify for me). It just doesn’t have the *important* accreditation, so the degree is just not as valuable as a “real” law degree. It is, however, much much less expensive, so it probably works for a specific subset of people.

    5. Oryx*

      Accreditation is not one size fits all. Just because a school is accredited doesn’t really mean much, it depends on who the accrediting body is.

    6. fposte*

      I can’t speak specifically to this accrediting organization, but there are also accreditation mills. Plenty of diploma mills have accreditations.

    7. Lanya*

      I’m with you, JoAnna. My husband got his Associate’s degree in IT from University of Phoenix, and it was far more helpful to him than not having any degree at all. He also found the program academically rigorous, and he worked very hard to get his Associate’s. He is now considering going back to finish his Bachelor’s.

      He is most comfortable in an online learning environment because it helps him stay on top of his bipolar disorder symptoms.

      I would never tell him to take University of Phoenix off of his resume.

      1. Natalie*

        For whatever it’s worth, University of Phoenix is not his only option for fully online. There are plenty of fully online programs attached to not-for-profit schools, and at least one NFP school that is only online (Western Governors University). If he feels like UoP is the best option for him, okay then, but I wouldn’t do it just because it’s online.

      2. JoAnna*

        My husband has bipolar disorder too, and he felt the same way about the online learning environment. He did look at other options in our area (we are in the Phoenix metro area) but at the time (ca. 2010) there weren’t many options that would allow him to also stay at his full-time job, which had a schedule that changed every six weeks so he couldn’t count on having, say, every Monday off for a full semester. And the online learning options weren’t as readily available as they seem to be now, either.

  19. Retail Lifer*

    I wish people would give it a rest when it comes to online schools and for-profit schools. I went back to school (online) in 2004 – there wasn’t a whole lot of talk about for-profit schools being so bad and there weren’t a whole lot of other options for some majors. I had my choice of UoP, a couple of other online for-profits, and one local school which required one in-person class which I couldn’t do because I don’t have a set work schedule. Lucky for me (?), UoP’s assignment due dates didn’t work for me so I chose a different for-profit school that no one has ever heard of. At least it doesn’t have a reputation.

    Online, for-profit schools vary, but getting a master’s degree isn’t easy, no matter where you get it from. It sucks that the OP that he/she can’t even mention all of the hard work that went into this. No, it’s not a degree from Harvard, but it’s still a degree that took time and effort and intelligence to earn. I’ve been considering going back for a master’s, but I really can’t afford it. Even if I could, I wouldn’t have any choice but to do it 100% online and, as such, that eliminates some of the local, better known schools near me and therefore would probably come with the same stigma attached to it as the one the OP is dealing with.

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      At least now, there are more brick and mortar schools who are also offering online degrees. But yes, I think that the bad reputation of some online schools should be balanced with when the degree was earned. Because if there weren’t any other options back in the day, how can that really be worse than no degree at all?

    2. Katie the Fed*

      It’s sort of like getting a counterfeit $20 and wanting to spend it though. It’s not your fault that someone gave you a counterfeit $20, but you can’t really expect a merchant to accept it as currency though, right?

        1. Kelly L.*

          It depends on who it’s accredited by. I remember reading about an essential oil MLM that made up its own certification and then claimed it was the only brand that was certified by this entity that it had made up. Well, yes, but that doesn’t prove anything. I’m the only AAM poster certified by the Kelly L. AAM Certification Board. ;)

          I’m unfamiliar with the organization that accredited Phoenix, but MissM explains it well above at 12:13pm.

              1. Natalie*

                But now you’re not the only Kelly L AAM Certified poster. You’re watering down the brand!!!

        2. Retail Lifer*

          Thank you.

          My credits will transfer to a “real” school. I’ve looked into it before. They’d even transfer to a master’s program. Again, looked into it.

        3. Mike C.*

          Liberty University is accredited. Would you hire a biologist from there given they don’t teach evolution?

            1. De (Germany)*

              Speaking as a Biologist, even going there for a degree in Biology shows really bad judgment on part of the student. It’s certainly something that should be factored into, even if they don’t want to focus on Evolutionary Biology.

    3. Green*

      When there’s already a glut of master’s degrees, master’s degrees are going to be devalued. Less valuable master’s degrees are going to be further devalued. At some point the value is nil, and when it reaches that point the value starts tipping the other way because you “should have known” that the value was nil. That’s how the market works here.

      However, hopefully by getting in early, you were able to maximize benefits early on before the debate really caught up with everyone. But the screenname makes me think not. :(

      1. Retail Lifer*

        I only have a bachelors, and I stupidly picked as field where the starting wages are a whole lot less than what I made as a mid-level retail manager. I can’t blame that on my school, though. That was my own fault for not looking into salary potential.

        1. Zillah*

          So on one hand, I can see what you mean… but on the other, I actually think that all schools – not just for-profits – should do a better job at educating their students on just that sort of thing.

    4. Mallorie, the recruiter*

      Online and For-Profit are completely different. I attend school online through a public, non-profit University that offers a partnership through the Community College in my area. I have never stepped foot on campus.

    5. Ann*

      Is it true that there wasn’t bad press around for-profits in 2004? My hometown paper did a big expose on a local for-profit “business” school that year, and the article had lots of links to awful stories about a bunch of different for-profits.

      For the records, that “business” school closed its doors 18 months later, just before they were about to get hit with an investigation by the state attorney-general’s office. My best friend was left with a useless associate’s degree that cost her $30,000.

  20. Snarkus Aurelius*

    “My education has never helped me to get a job. I don’t know what to do.”

    That’s the thing though.  How do you truly know that if you have what basically amounts to a diploma mill on your resume?

    I’m not trying to be harsh here.  (I’ve done extensive work on diploma mills so I know the evil business practices and other ugly things they do take advantage of people who want to improve their lives.)  If you weren’t picking reputable schools *to begin with* then I can see how you’d easily fall into the cycle of thinking education doesn’t matter in the long run by it most certainly does.  I guarantee you that you’d never have landed an interview without a degree on your resume so don’t discount that.  

    Plenty of reputable schools now have distance learning so it’s not as though you didn’t have other options when picking an MBA school.  That’s what employers are questioning when they look at your resume.  

    “I thought I should get some credit for being able to stick with a program independently.”

    I’m confused by this statement as it’s not unique to U of P.  That’s what -all- degree programs are supposed to do.

    You’re doing right by your current accounting degree.  Stick with it and finish it.

    Did anyone ever see the King of the Hill episode where Peggy tries to get her PhD?  It’s sort of the same thing here but with a lot less humor.  I feel bad for the OP because the frustration is really coming through.

    It sucks, and I’m sorry.

    1. Ezri*

      ” ‘I thought I should get some credit for being able to stick with a program independently.’

      I’m confused by this statement as it’s not unique to U of P. That’s what -all- degree programs are supposed to do.”

      This is a good point. OP – you probably ARE getting credit for sticking with a program independently. That’s still an accomplishment. The problem is, hiring managers are probably getting applications from people who also stuck with a program at a university without such a negative image. Don’t beat yourself up too much. You are probably – rightly or wrongly – being judged for UoP’s shady practices.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I guarantee you that you’d never have landed an interview without a degree on your resume so don’t discount that.

      Actually, not true for many employers! Many employers will look at work experience — not all, certainly, but many. And personally, I find a UofP degree to be such a negative that it would actually hold me back from moving a candidate forward in a way that having no degree at all would not.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        I’ve been to university twice and quit twice. I’m now on my third attempt – and most successful! – and I’ve not had any more problems with finding a job than people with a degree have had.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I’ve been four times if you count grad school, and I quit three times. But I did finish once. I should have left it at that!

          My degrees didn’t get me this job, however; acing an editing test and doing well at the interviews did (thanks also go to AAM for the latter).

        2. Connie-Lynne*

          It took me four tries to go to school and finish my degrees, and the reason I stuck with it the fourth time was because I _had_ started to lose potential jobs because of not having a degree.

          It didn’t really matter for a long time, and then the bottom fell out of the job market I was in. At least two places told me straight out back then that they loved my experience (I had a little more than 10 years at that point) but they were choosing to go with candidates who had degrees. I can assume there were a few other places that didn’t bother to say anything.

      2. Thatguyagain*

        Is the degree being from UofP such a turnoff? Or from a for-profit school in general?

        I’m asking because I’m getting an MBA from Daniel Webster, which is now owned by the same people who own other for-profit schools.

  21. AnotherUoPGraduate*

    I got my BSIT from UoP, then got my MBA from Capella. Wouldn’t it look strange if I included my MBA (Capella) and not where I got my BIST (UoP)?

    1. TNTT*

      It definitely would look strange – I imagine Alison’s advice would be different for your situation.

    2. fposte*

      I think Capella and UoP are pretty much in the same category to most people anyway, so I think you might as well leave them both on.

    3. Ann O'Nemity*

      Capella is in the same boat as UoP, though. Capella may not be as notorious, but it’s another for-profit accused of being a diploma mill.

      1. fposte*

        I disagree, if it means then that there are no degrees on the resume at all, which is what it sounds like.

      2. OhNo*

        Leaving both off is only really an option if you’re in a field that doesn’t require degrees, AND if you have enough work experience to back up your application. Unfortunately, it seems like you very rarely get both of those situations to align.

      3. Coach Devie*

        Gosh it hurts my feelings when I see people racking up enormous debt and falling into these traps at more than one degree-mill school.

        I became really invested in learning about the scams behind these places after a close friend finished her BS at ITT tech (had I known she was planning to attend before she started, I would have dragged her by the hair kicking and screaming to the VERY reputable CC in our area. One of the best in the country, actually. She could have saved herself like 80K, getting an AA at the CC that partners with many really great state schools in our state and finish her BA/BS there for a 1/4 total of what her debt now looks like) and has yet to land a job in her field. She has only been able to get entry level positions that only require HS/GED and can’t afford her monthly payments.

        (I actually found AAM because I wish to help her revamp her resume. Which also is really bad. Because she let someone at the career services at ITT tech help her put it together and it’s so bad. She has great experience, but you won’t know it from her resume. it’s so so so so so so so so so bad.)

        She is the ideal candidate for these types of schools though. Easily swayed by their marketing. Easily believing they had her best interests in mind. Letting them do her financial aid paperwork for her. Never seeing any of the financials or the money during school. Only 6 months post graduation when the bills started coming in. Socioeconomically she was their target. Hook, line. Sinker.

        She became frustrated with her situation and thought maybe getting her Masters would fix the problem. She looked into UofP. I just found this out recently. Thank god the prospect of more debt scared her away for now. I hope she doesn’t get scammed into going there though.

        I’m going to sit down with her soon and explain that while I’m proud of her for doing something she thought she could never do (finish a degree – she was in a very abusive relationship prior to that and was told she would never be worth anything) that her degree might be hurting more than helping. And its too bad.

        She might have to actually go back to school and start all the way at the beginning this time to get her ideal career started. But hopefully if she does, she will explore the CC/State combo.

  22. SLaw*

    The whole for-profit school thing is such a scam. My roommate, on the advice of people from the foster kid transition program, enrolled in one of these. The school piled her up with over $20K in loans and trained her for a minimum wage job. The sad part is that as a former foster kid she could have gone to a real school for practically nothing.

    1. NickelandDime*

      I teared up reading this. It is true – she probably would have gotten a free ride at a very good state school. And the transition program employees had to know this. It makes you wonder about the thinking process in sending her to the for-profit school.

      And it’s not too late for her to make a fresh start at a real school. So sad.

    2. The Strand*

      As a former foster kid in my state, she still can get another degree, I think. It’s worth making a case for herself.

    3. Coach Devie*

      Breaks my heart. The people in that program are idiots too and should be admonished!

  23. INTP*

    On the topic of accreditation:

    While it’s true that UOP and most other online schools are accredited, if only through accrediting bodies specializing in online for-profit schools, in my experienced “Degree from an accredited university” is often used as a euphemism by hiring managers and in job postings for “Degree from a not-for-profit, brick-and-mortar university.” When I was in recruiting, whenever a hiring manager told us they were looking for a degree from an accredited university, they were pretty much always specifying that they would not accept UOP, National University, etc. So that might be why the OP finds themselves in arguments with hiring managers over whether it is accredited. Unfortunately that hiring manager has already made up their mind and proving the accreditation won’t change anything.

    1. Adam*

      Yeah, that’s the real issue. A lot of these types of schools are technically 100% legit and offer actual degrees to be earned. But when dealing with people reputation can mean everything.

  24. Joey*

    If the job requires a masters leave it on. There are many places that won’t even look at you if you don’t meet the minimum qualifications.

    1. fposte*

      Right, I’d say leave it on if it’s your only degree, leave it on if it’s needed to get past a gatekeeper, leave it on if your subsequent degree would look weird on its own.

  25. Joss*

    I have to echo AAM here. When I worked in hiring, I was given specific instructions that applicants with for-profit degrees were to be discarded. It’s not a decision that I was ever comfortable with, but from their perspective it was another way to winnow down many hundreds of applicants for the positions we had open.

    1. Lia*

      It is much the same at the institution where I work. There are plenty of brick-and-mortar schools that have online degrees (and usually cheaper than U of Phoenix, too) that will not carry the stigma.

      Sorry, OP, but I would take it off.

  26. Anon in Texas*

    Ohhhh – I’m gonna disagree with Allison on this one! (doesn’t happen often). I’ve worked in higher ed and University of Phoenix doesn’t have near the reputation that it used to – even though I do find the for-profit education model a bit ‘unsavory’. Heck, I find lots of aspects of non-profit education models unsavory. People still carry around that ‘for-profit college’ bias for sure. But LOTS of people go to the University of Phoenix so you have plenty of company. I’m also currently an MBA student and I can tell you that the curriculum is all the same – standard case study, group work, and presentation. What I have found works best for MBA students is to frame their MBA as ‘leverage’ in their careers. I’ve seen a lot of people do well when they couple their MBA with a PMP or other certification. I’ve also seen a lot of people carve out cool careers for themselves by being MBA social butterflies and schmoozing their way into work. The MBA itself is pretty darn useless, but I’m a big believer that it helps you market yourself if you think of it more like a tool and less like a piece of paper. And I’m sorry things aren’t working out. Network network network. And learn a hard skill! So many of my classmates still can’t use a lot of the features in Excel (if you’re in this group, you need to rectify this).

  27. Laurel Gray*

    The sad part about this is that we talk about higher education and group schools by “reputable” and “not reputable”. Makes you wonder why the not-reputables shouldn’t just be shut down since they give students the same access to student loans but not the same access to job prospects. Just rambling here…

    1. Cautionary tail*

      Got another one for you. Strayer University.

      I know two people who went there and got deep in debt. One came out with a worthless PhD, while the other got so deep in debt that he couldn’t continue his masters program.If you saw anything the PhD wrote you’d be shocked that she graduated from sixth grade. She did her entire dissertation in 6 months and defended to a closed room of two people at a locked location far from any campus. Based on the quality of her work in my company I’m surprised she has an undergraduate degree, nevermind a PhD.

    2. ZenCat*

      It’s not easy to shut down a for-profit… You’re making investors tons of money and have lobbyists. thr only way is continued bad press.

      The way UoP and many for-profits make money is because of their targeted recruiting. I can’t tell you the number of financial applications awArded 5000 or so in grants and 7500 in loans (it’s not credit based, and this is only federal I’m talking about) who had poverty level incomes, were entirely on disability or public assistance, cared for a large number of other family members, Etc. Some had difficulty completing their applications due to lack of computer knowledge, not owning a computer, or not having an Internet connection. The sales staff would promise them the world… The dream and in many cases is was not the right time to pursue that. I think that is predatory and why hey continue to make money while mounting Federal debt. I don’t think they will go away until someone’s pocket hurts. Waiting game :(

  28. Whippers*

    Not from the US so haven’t heard of the University of Pheonix. Why does it have such a terrible reputation?

    1. Natalie*

      I’m not sure if U of P specifically has a bad reputation, or if it’s just that it’s the most prominent for-profit college and for-profit colleges generally have a bad reputation.

      On for-profit colleges generally, their primary motivation as an institution is to secure tuition payments, not select and educate college students. Generally their students are not well off and are paying for college through a government student aid program (GI Bill, FAFSA, etc) so the students are a close to guaranteed source of revenue. To maximize that revenue they let people in regardless of qualification and typically pass them no matter what. At the end of a year or two a student has a degree that is no better than No Degree (and might be worse), has used up all of the federal aid their entitled to, and probably owes money for the college “education” that isn’t going to help them get a job. Since many of these loans are through federal aid programs, when the student defaults we all foot the bill.

      There’s a really good Frontline on this that provides a solid overview, if you’re interested.

      1. Paul*

        Thanks for the overview. General question: Is every hiring manager likely to be aware of all of this? What are the odds that OP would find a hiring manager who doesn’t know or care about the school’s reputation (I wasn’t aware of any of this until just now)?

        1. Andy*

          If someone is hiring and they aren’t aware of this reputation then I would wonder who, in fact, hired them to do the hiring?

        2. Green*

          Yes. There are TV commercials, online ads, and news stories about student loan debt vs. value (and accompanying lawsuits, including False Claims Act suits) everywhere you go. Everybody in the US in the professional hiring world has heard of the most prominent online for-profit schools.

        3. Natalie*

          In addition to what Green said about the for-profit issue being in the news, University of Phoenix is an extremely well known for-profit school. For the OP specifically, the hiring manager would probably know it was a for-profit school.

        4. A Kate*

          With the University of Phoenix, definitely. Lots of people in the US has heard of the University of Phoenix, an most people I know are aware of its reputation. Other predatory diploma-mills have less name recognition. When I was hiring, if I was considering someone for an interview and hadn’t heard of the university on their resume, I’d give it a quick google. Any unsavoriness would likely come out at that stage anyway.

      2. Dynamic Beige*

        Ah, thanks for that! I was wondering WTH differentiated a for- vs. non-profit school because all colleges/universities are for profit, otherwise they would be free.

        I found College Inc online and will listen to it this afternoon. Frontline is just the best for this kind of thing.

        1. Natalie*

          for- vs. non-profit school because all colleges/universities are for profit, otherwise they would be free.

          You probably figured this out, but just to be clear: in the US, this isn’t true. A non-profit organization can charge for it’s services just as a for-profit does. The difference is what happens to any revenue above expenses (aka profit) at the end of the year. If you have a for-profit business, the owners are allowed to keep any profit that they earn. In a publicly traded company this might be distributed to all of the stockholders as a dividend. A not-for-profit can’t do that – they have to re-invest any excess earnings into the organization.

          The fact that a college is expensive doesn’t necessarily mean they’re making a profit. It just means that the expense of provided the service is also high.

          1. A Kate*

            John Oliver recently did a bit on college athletics, and noted that non-profit universities who make tons of money off of college sports often invest it in ridiculously expensive sports facilities, because they can’t have any profit left over in their budgets. Too bad they invest in hot tubs to attract athletes, and not scholarships for non-athletes (though compared to for profit colleges, they do lots of that as well).

            1. wanderlust*

              Just as a friendly PSA, almost all non-profit university athletics programs operate at a loss. Only about a dozen turn a profit, and it’s mostly from TV revenue. Them putting that money into the programs means they aren’t taking the operating dollars from the rest of the university, which means that money does go to non-athletes.

              Also, the classic stereotype is the student-athlete that blows off class and gets passed because he’s the star wide receiver, but those revenue generation sports like football and men’s basketball pay for all your other sports (women’s sports, men’s gymnastics, what-have-you) so that those kids can go to college – and for many of them, they wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. Collegiate Athletics is not as black and white as the media would have you believe!

      3. Former For-Profit Insider*

        I used to work for a company that placed online advertising almost exclusively for for-profit schools and I can assure you that these places are most definitely NOT high-quality institutions. Don’t believe it? Please watch the video that the federal government put out on Youtube after the GAO conducted an undercover sting operation on for-profit recruiting and admissions practices.

        1. MsChanandlerBong*

          I used to work for a for-profit college, and I strongly recommend avoiding them if at all possible. If you want to learn a trade, then you might be okay, but for anything else–phlebotomy, medical assisting, medical billing, etc.–you could get the same credential at a local community college for 1/20 of the cost in some cases. For example, our phlebotomy program was around $17,000; the local community college trains phlebotomists for $600 flat, and they prep you to take a national certification exam.

          The people running the school also used a number of unethical tactics to recruit students. For example, the admissions director would have our receptionist print out career outlook info from the BLS website. She’d then have the receptionist highlight phrases that made the career sound great, but you weren’t allowed to read anything that wasn’t highlighted. So you might have a sentence that said “Someone with a four-year degree can make up to $50,000 per year,” but the only part that was highlighted was “up to $50,000 per year.” They had people enrolling thinking they were going to make $50K drawing blood, when phlebotomy pays about $10/hour to start in this area.

          Yes, it’s up to the student to do some due diligence, but the institution preyed on students with learning disabilities/IEPs who might not necessarily have the knowledge/skills to notice something was amiss and do a ton of research. It’s a very scammy business.

      4. The Strand*

        I want to ditto on Frontline documentary. Watch it online, they talk to one of UOPs founders, who has also changed his tune regarding nonprofit versus for profit universities. Also I would recommend that you look up the blog inside higher education, and take a look at the articles that they’ve written recently about the Corinth colleges in California, and the situation that former students are in. That gives you an overview of why Americans are so concerned lately about for-profit universities.

    2. Adam*

      I’m not certain what the bigger issue is: the perception of these schools or the reality. Having not attended a school like this I can’t comment to merit and quality of the education people are paying for, but the widespread reputation of said schools indicates that it’s not good. Many of them are accredited so they technically offer programs that lead to real degrees, but many employers see them as not being as valid or relevant as a degree from a more traditional school. They believe the courses were too easy and they churn out degree candidates at a rapid pace because they want to make money above all else.

      Regardless of the actual merit of said schools and the degrees they produce, what bites job hunters in the posterior is the reputation the schools have, unfair or no. Several commenters here have already shared stories about hiring for companies that said to discount all applicants who list degrees from those schools, so in some employer’s eyes they’re a veritable academic scarlet letter. :(

    3. Stephanie*

      The perception is that those degrees are bought rather than earned and that the only requirement for entry is ability to pay (or get loans). UofP also isn’t accredited the way a University of Texas is (regionally or for the specific field), so there’s a question of academic rigor. I’d guess, too, employers think an applicant would have poor judgement or were taken for a ride by matriculating there (especially when there is often a cheaper option available).

      UofP also has a reputation for loading its graduates down with lots of debt with mixed employment prospects afterwards (when there is sometimes a cheaper public school available). They also were found to have really aggressive recruiting practices where they took advantage the naïveté of first-generation college students and veterans.

      Kind of sucks that UofP has such a scammy reputation, because I can definitely see the need for flexible, more affordable higher ed options. It does look like brick-and-mortar schools are starting to do that.

    4. Juni*

      The US values of bootstrapping, victim-blaming, and “don’t be a sucker” are things that really come into play here. For-profit colleges like University of Phoenix, Capella, Everest, etc., are all considered to be predatory – and so if you “get caught” by them, you are a victim, but it’s your own fault because you were too stupid to know that you were being scammed. We routinely question the judgement of people who we believe are self-selecting victims (see: the worthy homeless vs. unworthy homeless, working poor vs. welfare poor) and write them off as people with poor judgement, regardless of circumstance, and we don’t want to hire them or even help them succeed, because if they showed such poor judgement on THIS thing, how can we trust that they will not squander our goodwill by getting scammed again?

      I’m not saying this is right, or fair, but that’s how the US culture affects it.

      1. Green*

        ^ This. Essentially people see it as you putting on your resume “I got conned” as a plus, which has an added, “And am still under the delusion that I was not conned.”

        And, again, that is separate from the actual merit of the degree or whether the person had “good” reasons for going there, etc.

          1. Gizmo*

            Yes. And not right, or fair. I believe we as hiring managers are in a position to counter some of this, though, by not immediately discounting someone with these degrees for the sole reason they have one of these degrees.

            1. Gizmo*

              Oh gosh, sorry, full disclosure – I am *not* a hiring manager. I participate in and have input in hiring processes. Got carried away with my bad self there.

      2. The Strand*

        To be fair, my spouse and I have approached a couple people we know who have for-profit degrees, and who are complaining about not being able to get hired at decent jobs, and floated out the issue of reputation of their school, and how they can reposition themselves by getting classes at a community college in a field they want to move to, or getting a very solid, state U masters degree in a field that’s hiring. It worked for us…

        We both had degrees that were a little difficult for us to leverage in the careers that we wanted; Better Half was turned down by a mediocre state masters program, then took courses at the community college in another field, then applied to a prestigious masters program, and got in. I went back to school and got a relatively inexpensive masters degree, and my income skyrocketed right after I graduated last year.

        The people that we know who have done similar things and repositioned themselves all went to standard state universities or liberal arts colleges. But the for profit grads?

        Frankly, they don’t want to hear it. A lot of times again as has been mentioned earlier, we are talking about students who are first-generation college students in their family, and who really don’t have a big picture of how reputation, rigor, and other issues impact the value of a given program or school. Frankly again they’re looking for a piece of paper, that they still think is just the same regardless of program, that’s going to get them to the goal that they want, which is a good big-ticket job.

        These are the people who have a bad experience with a for-profit university, and then go around conflating their very bad experience with the experience of someone who picked a degree without immediate utility at a more prestigious school, eg a kid who graduated with a philosophy bachelors from Stanford, and is serving coffee at Starbucks. Okay, they say to themselves, so this means colleges and universities are just a big scam for everybody, and it’s just dumb luck that some people weren’t suckered like I was. And that’s also wrongheaded and cynical.

        The reality is that colleges and universities will indeed have a external value assigned by the outside world, but ultimately what you get out of that degree is completely up to you.

    5. Onymouse*

      Coming from outside the US, it’s also important to note that people can start private *universities* in the US. As discussed in this thread, there’s different levels of accreditation, reputation, etc, but the idea that someone who is not a government can start a *university* (as opposed to say, career college, or technical institute) can be a shock in other places in the world.

      1. Onymouse*

        I should add that there are some perfectly wonderful not-for-profit private universities (like the entire Ivy League), so “private” and “for-profit” shouldn’t be conflated either.

  29. Nick*

    I have both DeVry (Bachelors in IT) and University of Washington (Masters in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences) both on my resume.

    Part of the reason I went back to school to get me masters was to hone my writing skills, but also to overwrite my degree from DeVry as well. But DeVry doesn’t get a much bad press, but I also know it’s a for profit school.

    I wonder, should I take DeVry off my CV as well?

    1. Green*

      I think you leave DeVry here; because you “overwrote it” with a more prestigious advanced degree. And putting the MA on your resume (which you should) begs the BA question, since one is predicated upon the other.

      1. Formica Dinette*

        I agree with you, Green. Also, DeVry has a decent IT reputation, at least in the Seattle area.

        1. Nick*

          My education at DeVry I think was solid. But their job placement and career services was atrocious (I went to the Phoenix campus). However I lived very close to the Federal Way campus.

          My Masters has nothing to do with my Bacheors, as one is IT and the other is liberal arts. The liberal art wasn’t necessary for career advancement per se, I was working on being a better essayist and writer, so I went back to school for that. By day I’m an systems guy, by night I’m an academic writer!

          But I guess part of me was, a bit of shame of my DeVry degree.

          I read these posts here on AAM and also at reddit, saying people should know better, and don’t go to for-profits.

          Well, I was right out of high school and I went straight to DeVry. I was still just a kid, barely an adult. The real world experiences had not hit me yet – all I saw was “this is school, this is what you wanna do”. So I think armed with what I had on hand at that point in my life, in my youth, it seemed like a great idea.

          So in a way, the masters I do see as a “trump” over my DeVry degree, just in case.

          Of course, there is that whole argument of folks going back to school for their liberal arts degrees and being left with something useless and still can’t get a job!

          1. Formica Dinette*

            I think what you said about being right out of high school and not knowing any better is a big part of what keeps the for-profit schools in business.

  30. Karyn*

    I used to work in a building that housed UoP, and the financial aid/admissions guy used to come up to our floor (they were 1-2, we were 5) to use the men’s room. Do not ask me why – from what I gather, that men’s room had music in it? I don’t know. Anyway, according to my male coworkers, he would actually converse with potential applicants while using the facilities! And I don’t just mean a quick in-and-out, either (not that that would make it better, but still…)

    I always thought that was a great metaphor for the overall usefulness of a UoP degree.

    OP, I would leave it off. It’s not helping, and it’s almost certainly hurting. I’m so sorry you’re in this situation, and likely saddled with debt because of it.

  31. De Minimis*

    Think the federal government has a similar requirement about degrees having to be from an accredited school, or at least I’ve noticed that on some of the announcements in recent years. Not sure if that means UoP is a disqualifier.

    1. Fabulously Anonymous*

      I’ve heard that US military members can take U of P courses so it seems odd to me that the federal government would not accept it. Does anyone know about that?

    2. fposte*

      Many for profit schools are accredited. That’s not always a high bar to reach, and it doesn’t mean a lot about what education people will get.

    3. OP*

      It depends on the degree program, but for the most part, UofP would not qualify in a lot of place. For example, engineering degrees, which must be ABET accredited, would not get you credit. There’s an exception for 90 bajillion credits in math/science, but the process of proving your degree program meets the exceptions is extremely onerous.

      Remember, too, that the federal government has plenty of non-degree requiring jobs, especially DoD jobs for former NCOs. Officers would’ve already gotten accredited degrees, either through ROTC programs, a military academy, or prior to showing up for OTS.

      1. NOT Actually the OP*

        Sorry, I’m not the OP on this topic – I forgot to change the name from the last thread I commented on.

  32. Dasha*

    OP also in addition to what the other readers said at least now you are getting your brick and mortar degree. You’ve said your education hasn’t really helped you yet but it sounds like a MS in Accounting will and I think me and everyone else are wishing you the best!

    1. Artemesia*

      A lot of people get masters degrees expecting to get handed a job easily as a result when often it just puts them out of the entry level market. It is a mistake to get a degree ‘to get a job’ without having a very very clear idea of how it will help you get that job. Does the school have very good placement connections and lots of alum who have been placed by the school that you can talk to? Most don’t. You get the degree and have to sell yourself just like you always had to do. The degree may help you reset the clock on unemployment a bit but it won’t magically get you a job. If you have trouble getting a job, just getting a masters degree is unlikely to help you.

  33. Bru*

    My fiance is earning her MBA from Capella while working full time (very demanding job), the company she works for pays for the grand majority of it. She has a BSC from University of New Hampshire.

    Is she wasting her time earning the Capella degree? I’ve been thinking that it is better than nothing, am I wrong?

    1. Natalie*

      If she’s going to be able to use the degree to move up in her current organization, it’s not a complete waste of time. But ultimately it would probably be better to find a traditional school that offers an online program. (Lots of them do, no matter what U of P’s advertising would like you to believe.)

    2. fposte*

      Is that the only program they’d pay for? That’s really frustrating. It may be better than nothing if she really only pays a pittance, but it’s not going to get her the same resume weight as an MBA from elsewhere.

    3. De Minimis*

      It’s hard to say. Is the degree going to help her at her current employer?

      I met a guy on a plane once who had a UoP doctorate and was a fairly high level manager at a major company, but I gather it was a situation where he was already working there and just needed some kind of graduate degree to advance.

      I think the situation can differ somewhat when you’re already an established professional, especially if the employer is covering a lot of the expenses. If she gets promoted at the company and continues to do well I think employers down the road would look more at the work accomplishments and not really worry about the degree.
      The people who really get burned by these schools are the ones like the OP who are still trying to start a career.

      1. Stephanie*

        My dad’s old company had some UofP graduates (who received tuition assistance). But from what I picked up, they were people who already worked there and needed a degree to keep their jobs or get promoted. (Company used to hire people without degrees, especially if they had experience, but started changing their practices later on.)

        1. blackcat*

          Yes, I think in this situation, it makes sense to do the for-profit degree. My question is why does the employer require it?

          My old employer fired the super capable HR/payroll/benefits person (I called her the miracle worker) because they decided her job required a degree and she didn’t have one. Despite the fact that she’d been doing it extremely well for 20 years.

          Her degree holding replacement was awful (and the child of another employee). After I quit in July, I moved, and I notified my employer of a new address. In December, I sent a reminder of the new address to send for the W2. February rolls around, and I don’t have it. New person claimed that she never got my old email–nope she had replied. Then denied she had sent MY TAX DOCUMENT to an old address–fortunately the new tenant gave it to my old landlord who then emailed me to say he’d gotten it. I forwarded her emails and my old landlord’s email to her boss with a “FYI” note. I never heard back, but I did receive *a crappy photocopy* of my W2 from the employer a week after original, forwarded from my landlord, arrived.

          1. Stephanie*

            I asked my dad that and he had no good answer. Because, clearly, the employee was doing fine without the degree.

    4. Allison*

      If it will help her at her current company, she may not be wasting her time. Sounds like they want to promote her, but they need her to have an MBA to put her in that role. In this case, it may just be a formality. But if she tries to go work somewhere else, that MBA may not mean much unless she has a ton of skills and experience to back it up.

    5. Stephanie*

      If the MBA’s a requirement to get from analyst to manager at her company, she probably isn’t. But it may not help her if she wants to leave the company (I’d imagine it’d be viewed neutrally at best).

      Is there another option? Especially with MBAs, so many (far more reputable) schools are offering those in different formats now.

    6. Bru*

      It’s more that she is terrible at taking standardized tests than anything. She has a 3.7 undergrad GPA in biochemistry… and has a 4.0 GPA in her capella mba thus far.

      Does anyone have any thoughts about SNHU? I know its non-profit, so I wonder if an degree from there would be at least more reputable than Capella?

      I think it would likely help her in her current company, but I don’t think she wants to work there forever.

      1. Betsy*

        SNHU’s reputation is a bit mixed. They have basically taken the parts of for-profits that make them so profitable and combined them with a non-profit school. They do a ton of advertising, which might make someone who doesn’t know better lump them in with for-profits. However, that attitude might change in the next few years given how many state universities have started advertising. Since she already has her undergrad from UNH with a great undergrad GPA why doesn’t she consider the UNH MBA program? It’s a well regarded program and it is offered online.

      2. CrazyCatLady*

        I don’t know much about SNHU’s reputation BUT I did start to look into finishing my degree there. They were extremely aggressive and downright mean in their recruiting practices. I had to put off taking classes for at least a semester due to life circumstances and they tried to guilt and shame me into starting now. That was enough for me to not care about their reputation.

      3. Case of the Mondays*

        I know someone doing online classes from Plymouth State University which is also in NH. Both PSU and SNHU (brick and mortar) are considered fairly easy to get into. Nonetheless, they have a strong local rep.

        1. Gizmo*

          Just curious – community college is also easy to get into. Yet, we have many posters here saying community college education is respected. What’s the difference?

          1. Natalie*

            Some community colleges are open enrollment, it’s true. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Most importantly, as far as quality of degree is concerned, community colleges do not pass failing students to keep the tuition money coming in, as happens in for-profit schools.* On a societal level, community colleges are usually substantially cheaper, more honest about career and earnings prospects, and don’t have nearly the same percentage of students who default on their FAFSA loans as for profits (despite drawing largely from the same population).

            * I’m speaking generally, that doesn’t mean every professor at every for-profit college does this. But there are indications that it is significantly more common in the for-profit world.

    7. The Strand*

      Yes, she needs to either go for A, a professional Masters in business administration at the local prestigious school, or a solid state university,which will help her with networking should she decide to move onto another position; B, an online state university MBA. Start with and then check out the Poets and Quants blog.

      I’m sorry, but it is not better than nothing. This is such a ripe time for MBA students with fewer applicants making schools ready to offer deals and accept reach candidates, and as a woman, she will be prized for the diverse perspective she can bring to many programs. Some of the best are still 70, 75% male.

  34. fposte*

    Okay, an important correction–while the UoP MBA isn’t accredited by the AACSB, it is accredited by the ACBSP. The list of accredited programs suggests that it’s not a hugely high standard to meet, but I was wrong in saying outright that the program was not accredited.

    1. Andy*

      Thanks for the clarify. It kind of makes me wonder about accreditation vs. reputation. Do people skip over UPenn resumes now? I’m squicked out by a conversation in which UPenn is mentioned, I wonder if someone out there hiring is squicked out enough to pass over a resume because of it.
      UPenn is fully accredited, but I can see a line of reasoning that goes from ‘administration being unable to protect students and visitors from a predator’ to ‘administration being completely inept at things people should NOT BE INEPT AT’ to ‘don’t hire a grad from that school full of inept people’.

      1. Laurel Gray*

        Hi Andy, I believe you mean Penn State and I can honestly say that I share a very similar opinion about the school. They pretty much did an overhaul of their administration and even their board but that doesn’t mean I am immediately convinced that decades of bad behavior enabling has gone away. However, I don’t really know how much that scandal has even effected their enrollment or grads leaving there. Even the NCAA restored their records etc. I think the difference between Penn State and UoP is that Penn State’s rep doesn’t seem to negatively effect the students and their future prospects.

          1. Allison*

            Yeah, be super careful about getting those two mixed up. Aside from the scandal, Penn State has a reputation of being a party school, but UPenn is in the Ivy League.

      2. fposte*

        I suppose there are people who just react because of the name; it doesn’t make a lot of sense, though, because Penn State is a huge school and most people there would have had nothing to do with the athletic department.

        1. Laurel Gray*

          Fposte, regarding the scandal, it had much to do with figures in the administrating sweeping bad behaviors under the rug for years and years and years. I can see why this would make someone question the school’s reputation. However, Penn State is a good school, party reputation and all and since the scandal the only real issue I could see prospective students having would be in athletics if they were going to play a sport…although those issues seem to have been resolved now.

          1. fposte*

            Right, but it has nothing to do with the quality of the education, and most students are nowhere near any of it.

            1. Zillah*

              Right – if anything I can see that making a hiring manager more wary of hiring someone who’d worked for penn state, but not who just went to school there.

  35. Malissa*

    OP–if you are going back to school for a MS in accounting then all of this will be moot soon anyway, if your ultimate goal is any sort of certification. Once you have a CPA or CMA designation you can leave the education section off altogether.
    At this point I would see if there are any accounting firms near you that need an intern and work on gaining experience in your new field. All they’ll want to see is the current degree on which you are working and possibly knowing what certifications your are ultimately looking to gain.

    1. The Toxic Avenger*

      Yes, this is what I was thinking, too – also, Random CPA had some great insight below. Once you get your CPA, you can list the U of M in the education section and leave U of P off, right?

      1. Malissa*

        CPA almost always means 150+ hours of school, 40+ hours in accounting, 20+ hours in business , and the tenacity and brains required to pass 4 sections of the exam, along with 2 years of experience. So what school led you to that path is almost irrelevant. But yeah, she can substitute out her schools if she needs an education section to fill space on the resume.

        I dropped all education off my resume after getting the CPA. It really hasn’t made a difference in the call back rate.

        1. Random CPA (formerly RandomName)*

          The education and experience requirements vary by state. In my state, it’s 150 hours (but you don’t necessarily need a BA in accounting), and one year of experience working under a licensed CPA. However, I believe there are some states that do not require the additional 30 semester hours or the experience to get your CPA.

          1. Malissa*

            You are right. I was giving what I remembered as being the qualifications for the Universal CPA license program. Which applied in both states that I was in during the certification process.

  36. ANonCommtr*

    This really is disheartening! I have been pondering getting my MBA for a while and I decided to go with the U of P program because of the scheduling and content that I’ve reviewed. Scheduled to start TOMORROW!!! My company has an excellent tuition reimbursement plan and you cannot move up without one or decades of experience. I am not willing to take any standardized testing for grad school and my schedule will not allow me to physically attend a school. I don’t know what to do now, I feel like this is a serious omen.

    1. Laurel Gray*

      Have you done extensive Google searches on “UoP reviews”?? There is so much info out there.

      Also, you can search for MBA programs with better reputations and some may waive the testing or it may not be a requirement (and you may have provisional acceptance where your full acceptance is dependent upon how you do in the first few classes). You say “not willing to take any standardized testing” is that because of time and your work schedule? I don’t think that alone should make UoP your only option.

      Also, I would search the archives here, there is more info on this topic as it has come up in the past.

      Good luck with whatever you decide.

      1. ANonCommtr*

        Honestly, I spoke with others at my current company and many of them have degrees from the for-profit schools, including U of P. I will NOT be starting tomorrow after this post, so I am certain I will find another option. I just feel disheartened by the ones I have seen and many local colleges do want graduate testing. I am currently looking at the many suggestions on here for an online MBA associated with a school. I don’t want to limit myself to only one employer either. That is too much money and time to invest and then find out it is useless.

        1. Laurel Gray*

          Are you looking to just get an MBA or an MBA with a specialization? Again, there are options out there.

          Also, I think Google will be your friend in all of this. There is a lot of great info out there (and lots of biased opinions too). I think an MBA is a huge investment and it should really be thought out. Have you talked to someone, particularly in your company, about your career path and what an MBA would add to it?

    2. Green*

      Well, you’ve placed an artificial barrier on yourself (“I am not willing to take any standardized testing for grad school”) that happens to be one of key admission criteria for most reputable programs. So you can re-examine your “givens” or go with what you got. If you want it to move up at your own company, that may work (but I’d talk to management), but if you want it to move out, it simply won’t hold the weight.

    3. BananaPants*

      There are many, many options for online learning from better-regarded institutions. It wasn’t necessarily the case 10 years ago, but today you have choices, and there’s a good chance that you’d pay a lot less by attending a non-profit school’s online program compared to one of the for-profits’. Many state university systems offer high quality online education at a reasonable cost.

      If you’re unwilling to take standardized testing, some schools may waive GRE or GMAT scores for very qualified candidates. Specifically for MBA programs, it’s a bit of a red flag to not need to take the GMAT, though…

    4. Anon for this.*

      I totally understand not wanting to take the entrance exam, but you got to pay the cost to be the boss. It also might not be as bad as you think. I managed to get through the GRE (several years ago before it was retooled), it nerve wracking but it was worth it.

      The state school I work for has a lot of online programs. But those ‘other schools’ have more advertising dollars so they get the students who would have come here if they had checked for programs in their area first.

      Get thee to the website public system of colleges/univ. in your state and in neighboring states (some have reciprocal tuition for online programs) and start your search again. And as said below, some have procedures to waive the exam scores under certain circumstances.

      Best wishes to you. Also, make sure you withdraw properly so you get your money back!

    5. Richard*

      Do not fret it. The bashing on here is regrettable, and I am surprised that people dismiss UoP so quickly. That would be as biased as dismissing someone for living in the suburbs, or going to a different church. I started UoP in 2005, earned a BSBM and MBA, and graduated in 2009, just as my company laid off over half the staff (including me). Without the degree, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Yes, I owe a lot of debt, as I paid for the entire education, but it was worth it to me. College is like anything else; you can skate through and rely on your teammates to pull you through, or give it 100% and walk away with a plethora of knowledge, and a wonderful experience.
      If someone wants to toss my resume because I “chose the wrong school” and didn’t quit work to go to a brick and mortar school, and not consider my knowledge, experience and history, then that is a company that most likely has other biases that would make me uncomfortable.

      One quick piece of advice: Use the CLEP (and if eligible DANTES) testing to test out of your undergraduate classes, and that alone will save you thousands.

      1. Andy*

        The bashing is also, although regrettable, a way to take the temperature of the situation. This is a sample of the reactions you will get from people who read your resume. So if the sample size of negative reactions is large (as it seems to ) then the field of engagement is pretty clearly laid out and you would be doing yourself (and your abilities) a potential disservice by being inclusive of that info.

      2. Natalie*

        Your comment reads as though the only education options are non-profit, in-person, bricks and mortar schools, or for-profit, online schools. But… that’s not true. As has been noted up and down this thread, tons of state colleges offer non-traditional programs, including fully online, with better reputations and lower bills than a for-profit college. And that was true even back in 2005.

        1. Richard*

          Unfortunately, that was not the case in 2005, or in 2007 when I started the MBA. The closest thing I could find that ranked higher than UoP was Sacramento State, which still required me to take off more time than I could get from my employer. There were other options, but none that ranked as high and gave me the flexibility to continue working 40-60 hours a week. It is a shame if someone wants to dismiss a candidate for exercising the best option(s) available to them at the time.

          1. Natalie*

            It was true in 2005 – others have cited programs that existed elsewhere in this comment thread.

            That said, I’m not clear how your experience of having no other choice in 2007 is helpful to ANonCommtr, in 2015 when he or she has a wealth of other options without the stigma of for-profit education.

            1. Richard*

              Very good point, Natalie. So, do hiring managers differentiate UoP resumes based on the years listed for the degree? I do not seem to remember that being said. I am too busy defending my position to leave it on my resume, I guess. That said, I still maintain that a UoP 2019 graduate can learn just as much, if not more, than someone who chooses another option, and hiring managers who automatically discount a person solely based on the school name are discriminatory without merit.

              1. Natalie*

                Your first question is a good one. I’m not sure, but it would certainly make sense to me to discount a UoP degree less if it was from the 90-early 2000s versus one earned recently. On your latter point, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

              2. Zillah*

                hiring managers who automatically discount a person solely based on the school name are discriminatory without merit.

                I disagree, but even if we granted this as being indisputably true, it being true wouldn’t make it not reality, and reality isn’t always fair. It’s unfair that I have to be super careful to not mention my mental illness to anyone I work with, ever, because it could easily be used against me in conscious and subconscious ways – but that’s reality, and even if it’s people being discriminatory without merit, I still need to feed myself.

    6. MsM*

      How much experience do you have? A lot of executive MBA programs (or even standard MBAs) place less emphasis on standardized tests if you’ve shown you have the practical skills to succeed.

    7. the_scientist*

      Can I ask why you aren’t willing to do any standardized testing? That’s unfortunately the reality for most reputable MBA programs, at least from my understanding ? I get that standardized testing sucks, and a lot of people don’t test well but it’s the price of admission. By refusing it outright, you’re eliminating probably 98% of reputable MBA programs, and MBA is a degree where institutional reputation matters.

      And yes, standardized testing is hugely, often prohibitively expensive, but if your company offers tuition reimbursement for the MBA program itself, they may reimburse for the GRE….and if not, the GRE costs are but a drop in the bucket to what the MBA would cost if you had to pay for it yourself.

    8. soitgoes*

      Why would you not take the testing required to get into a grad program? This may sound harsh, but if you won’t take the GRE (or the equivalent test that applies to you), then you don’t belong in grad school. 22-year-olds take the test without issue; so can you.

      My graduate school didn’t have any classes that started before 5 pm. The blocks were something like 5:00 – 7:30 and 7:45 – 10:15. It’s not the best school, but it worked for me, and it seems my employer thought it was good enough.

      Don’t blame your schedule and don’t blame the GRE if you really just don’t want to go to grad school.

      1. Stephanie*

        Plus, any decent graduate program is going to require testing at or above the level of the GRE.

      2. blackcat*

        I think business schools often require the similar, but distinct, GMAT.

        You can take it on the weekends at most testing centers. It costs a few hundred $$, but it’s a small amount compared to the overall cost of education.

        1. Lizzie*

          I believe it varies by school (perhaps by state?). My boyfriend had the option to take either the GRE or GMAT for admission to grad school in business at the local state university campus.

          1. Stephanie*

            It’s school by school. Some take either, some want only the GMAT. Friend who went through this whole process a couple of years ago said that the selective programs did expect applicants to do really well on the GRE to prove they weren’t trying to dodge the GMAT and had sufficient quantitative skills. Also, I think the really prestige industries like consulting or i-banking want GMAT scores.

    9. The Strand*

      Honestly, but this is why Phoenix has a lower reputation; because many folks attend in lieu of more challenging options they might be able to reach. You state that you won’t take a standardized test. My better half (about to get his MBA at a top school after being turned down two years earlier by a mediocre school), sums it up as this …”if you’re not willing to attempt the standardized testing that everyone else is taking, that implies a lack of commitment, and an expectation that you want to enjoy the benefits of a respected MBA program without going through the steps that everyone else had to, in order to qualify.” I agree. He took the GRE once and GMAT twice, I also took both and bombed the GMAT, which signaled to me that I needed more courses at the community college or undergraduate level to do better on the quantitative math. He was also interviewed by Poets and Quants as an example of a successful nontraditional MBA student who did not succeed his first time out; you may be limiting yourself unnecessarily!

      Virtually all the legitimate, solid online MBAs from state and prestigious non profits will require a GMAT or a GRE score; a school that doesn’t have this expectation has a red flag.

  37. BananaPants*

    My husband’s former employer has an arrangement with Strayer University, which is another poorly-regarded for-profit. They offered on-site classes and allowed students to flex their work schedules around those classes (and those classes only – he could not have done that with any other college’s classes). The employer’s education benefits were paid directly to Strayer while at other schools the employee had to front the money for tuition and apply for reimbursement. He was seriously considering doing the on-site MBA program and in retrospect we dodged a bullet that he didn’t. The employer’s tuition reimbursement would have covered only around 40-50% of the program costs; the rest would have been on us to either pay out of pocket or to take out student loans. We would have paid a LOT for what would have amounted to a useless degree outside of that company.

    The “admissions advisors” were very smart in how they targeted employees. They went after employees who either didn’t finish a bachelor’s degree or didn’t have the undergraduate GPA to be likely to get into a more legitimate and well-regarded grad program. To be blunt, my husband’s undergrad grades weren’t stellar; he graduated from a state university with a 2.7 or thereabouts – but Strayer played up to him that OF COURSE they’d be thrilled to accept him for admission. The convenience of the on-site classes was appealing since he was working what amounted to 2nd shift at the time (in a call center) and would not have been able to take night classes at one of the local universities that offer part time MBA programs, but with the on-site Strayer classes the employer automatically flexed work schedules around the class period. And they sucked students in with the direct billing to the employer, while downplaying the fact that the employer’s educational benefit would cover less than half the cost of the MBA program. All of that is aside from the fact that Strayer’s reputation in the job market is about as far in the toilet as UoP’s!

    Frankly, there’s such a glut of MBAs right now that getting a non-AACSB MBA with the sole purpose of improving one’s job prospects is probably a wasted effort regardless of the reputation of the school. Folks might be better off considering a more focused master’s degree if career development/better job opportunities is the goal.

      1. BananaPants*

        Mr. BananaPants feels kind of sorry for coworkers who were relying on Strayer to finish undergrad degrees, because of the perception of the programs in the wider job market. Sure, it would be good for them if they stayed in that company’s call centers forever, but would not necessarily be a strong selling point in the wider job market. Even then, reality is that the folks in the C-suite of such a large corporation invariably went to prestigious B-schools either right after college or after a year or two of work – you’ll never see a rank-and-file employee work their way up to the executive level (or anywhere near it) with a Strayer MBA.

        His coworkers taking the classes said that the teachers were pretty solid and taught well, but no one who actually showed up to class ever failed or got less than a C – which conveniently was the grade required for tuition payment by the employer! Folks basically just skated along in this little symbiotic relationship between the large corporation and the for-profit school. It was a win-win for both parties; the corporation got to trumpet how supportive they were of employees’ continuing education by offering classes right in the workplace, and the for-profit school got a lot of tuition money from the employer and from employees who were paying for chunks of their expensive degrees.

    1. Jamie*

      I know it’s technically legal, but I don’t know they can suck people into debt like this for zero return sleep nights.

      If this was how I made my living I don’t know how I’d live with myself.

      1. AVP*

        It reminds me of the scene from the Office when Angela is cheating on Dwight. She describes her pillow arrangements, blankets, bed set up, etc, then very fiercely looks into the camera and says: “And that’s how I sleep at night.” End scene.

  38. Juli G.*

    What are some reputable online MBA programs? Most I’ve come across are split between online and in person and it will be 10 more years before I can make that work. Any recommendations?

      1. Laurel Gray*

        But I thought that with online degrees, the physical degree doesn’t say “online” and so if anything, the only way an employer would know is if they asked during an interview and you disclosed, right?

        1. fposte*

          It’s program by program, and online programs aren’t considered inferior in all fields, so how much it matters is industry-dependent.

        1. Joey*

          Except you have to factor in that many schools will do all sorts of things with the specific purpose of boosting their rankings that doesn’t actually make their education any better.

    1. Mallorie, the recruiter*

      Franklin University in Columbus, OH. I am going their online now for my undergrad. Love the school, they are really great. They have online MBA programs too.

    2. ali*

      Regis University in Denver. You can do fully online, fully in-person, or a combination of both. I was local and did both (I did the Master’s of Nonprofit Management, but took elective classes within the MBA program). Great school, great reputation (although maybe not heard of so much outside of Colorado), very expensive, so be prepared. On the plus side for the poster above – I did not have to take the GRE to get in, just write personal essays. That may have been specific to my program, though.

    3. Lizzie*

      UMass Lowell offers one. While I can’t speak to the quality of the program, I do know that students at the brick-and-mortar campuses (Boston, Amherst) can apply online classes from UML towards their degrees – so at least, it seems that UML’s program is considered equivalent to the on-campus programs.

  39. Retail Lifer*

    So what would all of the for-profit haters recommend we put on a resume if all we have is an accredited but still for-profit degree?

    1. Katie the Fed*

      It’s not that people are “haters” but you have to recognize that these degrees can create an unsavory perception.

          1. fposte*

            If it was a bachelor’s for somebody with no other degree, even? I think I lean toward keeping it on in that case.

            1. Green*

              I’d keep a BA on because otherwise you’re stuck without a basic qualification for most jobs, but I’d move the education section down past the job experience if you currently have it at or near the top. I’d drop any graduate school degrees. In your cover letter I may say, “I completed my bachelor’s degree in X while working full-time at Y” and leave out the school which may help mitigate the resume hit of the school name?

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              To me, yes. I would be embarrassed to move forward someone with a UofP degree unless there were really extenuating circumstances. Lack of a degree wouldn’t be a big deal if it were coupled with an impressive work history.

              1. Retail Lifer*

                Ugh. I have nothing but 15+ years of retail management experience and suddenly n0 degree. That’s about the most depressing sentence I’ve ever typed.

                1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

                  Take heart! 15 years of retail management experience is not nothing! I definitely have a bias toward people with good chunks of retail or food industry experience.

                  For what it’s worth, if it’s a more obscurely or ambiguously named college, there’s probably a lot of people who, having never heard of it, will assume it’s some small private college somewhere, or perhaps part of the state college system (for the ones like “Virginia College”), and would have much less chance of being associated with for-profit issues. Totally depends on which school.

                  It’s not lying or anything, but I do feel bad suggesting that maybe you try to “pass it off” as any old regular school and hope the hiring manager doesn’t know anything about it…

              2. Rose*

                You’d be embarrassed to move forward with someone who had a degree from UofP? What if the candidate has excellent work history? What if they were awesome and showed as much in the interview? It’s not like they got the degree from a cracker jack box. They still worked for it. They probably still have a little more knowledge than someone without a degree and less work experience, no?

        1. AnotherAlison*

          I’m inferring a lot here, but you had said you started your degree in 2004 and your username is Retail Lifer. Other than preventing you from being weeded out of online application systems for positions requiring a 4-year degree, is it really helping you?

          I have a friend with a landscaping business. He has an accounting degree from a brick-and-mortar school, but I’m not going to hire him to do accounting for me. The degree is irrelevant. I think you’re unfortunately in a similar situation. If the degree didn’t move you to a career path related to your field, it is not that relevant because your recent work history supersedes the fact that you have the degree (exception being retail management).

          1. Retail Lifer*

            It hasn’t helped, but that’s partially because I’m making more as a retail manager than I could by starting out in another field. It’s amazing how many positions say a degree is mandatory and then only pay $14 an hour. I hate my job and this field, but starting over and taking that much of a pay cut isn’t an option.

            1. Laurel Gray*

              “It’s amazing how many positions say a degree is mandatory and then only pay $14 an hour.”

              This vicious cycle is how both non profit and for profit schools make their money. So many jobs, which don’t truly require a degree to do the job, require them for hiring purposes. A person with limited finances and other resources can easily fall victim to a dismal program at an overpriced school.

            2. Elizabeth West*

              Oh God, yes. This used to piss me off so much–why would you need a degree to get an entry-level position on the front desk!? It’s a very responsible job, but you don’t need a degree to do it.

              Also, I would have LOVED to start at $14 but I live in the Midwest, so that is high for entry-level office work. The best front desk job I had started at $9 and ended up at $12.

    2. Sam P.*

      I, too, got an undergrad degree from a for-profit (not UoP) school, back when it was the only option for a parent working full-time. My company paid for it, so I wasn’t “scammed” or saddled with debt, I had difficult coursework and completed it because I was moving up in the company that was starting to require degrees at every level. I’m a hiring manager now, and our company has a policy that we require degrees even at the entry level. It doesn’t matter where they come from. A degree from UoP isn’t viewed as highly as one from a state school, which isn’t viewed as highly as one from a private school, which isn’t viewed as highly as one from an Ivy League school, of course, but a degree is a data point that shows at least some commitment to task, some drive to complete results.
      I’m currently in the process of completing an MBA from a private B&M school with an evening program, and I wish that option had been available for undergrad back when I needed it, but it just wasn’t. Some commenters here are being pretty flip about how people who get for-profit degrees must be idiots who got scammed, or they “bought” some non-accredited degrees, etc. but it’s the only option for some people, and it’s a lot of work, and it’s really, really, expensive for people who don’t have employer assistance, so be cool.
      Anyway, Retail Lifer, I can’t hire you if you leave it off, so my advice is to leave it on and own it. You never know. Your hiring manager could be one of those idiots.

      1. Natalie*

        I can see how it can come across more personally, but I haven’t seen anyone here claim that someone is an idiot or a sucker just because they went to a for-profit college.

        There are a lot of people saying (accurately) that this is how for-profit degrees are perceived in the marketplace, which is important to know even if it’s tough to read. We have those discussions a lot, about blue hair, gauged piercings, having your husband resign for you, having 15 jobs in 10 years. How we’re perceived isn’t who we are, of course. But that doesn’t make the perception something not real and it doesn’t make it useless information.

  40. Laurel Gray*

    Just curious and this is not completely off topic…but what particular degrees/fields are NOT a good choice to be taken online at any level? I remember a while ago someone saying that the sciences and nursing should not be taken online because of the traditional lab requirements. At the time they used the example of how patients would look at a doctor a little differently if he did his entire medical school studies online.

    1. BananaPants*

      Undergraduate engineering has been considered a tough one to achieve via distance ed. In my field, I believe there is only one ABET-accredited B.S. in mechanical engineering offered via distance ed, from the University of North Dakota, and it requires a number of on-campus residency periods for labs.

      For master’s programs in engineering there are a ton of online options, including from very well-regarded schools but to be accepted in the first place one typically needs to have an ABET-accredited engineering degree to ensure that there’s a basic level of competency and knowledge. I’m in an online graduate program now, in a specialization that’s only offered by a handful of schools to begin with – my courses are all blended with distance learning and on-campus students and I’ve found them to be VERY rigorous (and I already have a master’s in engineering).

      For nursing, the only legitimate options for distance ed are things like LPN-to-RN programs intended for those already with some nursing or allied health background (or military medics/corpsmen), and they also all require labs/clinicals to be done in-person. You don’t want a nurse who’s never done anything on a real patient! I think it’s the same for just about any allied health profession with patient contact; there are no legitimate 100% online degree programs in those fields.

      1. The Strand*

        There are legitimate 100% online allied health programs for existing professionals. There are doctorates for nurses, allied health practitioners as well as masters, including those to create managers and nurse/allied health educators. Not just bridge programs like you mentioned.

        1. BananaPants*

          Yeah, my point was more that for entry into the field, you can’t do a 100% online nursing program without already having some clinical experience or background AND doing clinicals. I’m sure it’s the same for respiratory techs, dental hygienists, etc. Once they’re in the field there are a lot of options, but the entry TO the field is a different matter. Sorry I didn’t phrase it well!

          1. The Strand*

            Understood :) – I just wanted to make that clear for anyone who might be reading, because I had similar concerns before I became very familiar with these types of programs myself.

    2. Dynamic Beige*

      Art. You can’t do bronze metal casting or blow glass without a furnace/the right tools. There are some courses, like Art History that sure you can do online, but when it comes to being in the classroom, seeing other people’s work, asking them about their techniques, being critiqued live and in-person by your teacher and your peers, you can’t really replicate that online. I’ve seen those “take this drawing test to see if you qualify for our programme” ads and maybe you can learn to cartoon via a online/mail order course but that would be as far as it would go. You would need very understanding friends or family members to set up life drawing classes in your living room — and good blinds!

      1. Marzipan*

        There is actually a pretty solid UK distance learning provider specialising in art degrees – OCA (Open College of the Arts). Although I grant they don’t do a lot of glass blowing… No, it’s not the same experience as face-to-face study, but they seem to do a decent job of making things work long-distance (and for some of their students, for example serving prisoners, it creates opportunities that wouldn’t exist otherwise).

      1. Laurel Gray*

        I just googled and there actually are law programs offered fully online. I learn something new every day.

        1. Green*

          I think they’re all unaccredited which, at best, only allows you to practice in the state they’re located in.

          1. Green*

            And, might I add, that they also tend to be in California which already allows you to take the bar without going to law school. You should always go to law school at a brick and mortar if you want to practice law. BUT I’d think you were smarter (in California) if you just took the bar and skipped the online semi-accredited law school (and accompanying student debt) altogether. I still wouldn’t hire you as a lawyer, but I would strongly consider you for a legal-related job or paralegal.

            1. Clever Name*

              I have no idea why, but I think this is kind of awesome. I am going to independently study law and take the bar in CA, as a second career. ;)

    3. soitgoes*

      I’m wary of distance programs in any major that, traditionally, is more discussion- or seminar-based. A huge part of my English MA was the real-time conversations and grasping those nuances, and there’s no way that would have happened in an online course, even if everyone was diligent about being active on a forum.

  41. BananaPants*

    I’ll chime in and agree that in making hiring decisions I would not look very favorably on a degree from UoP, Capella, Strayer, DeVry, etc. I’m an engineer, so an undergrad degree from one of those would be an immediate showstopper. If I saw an MBA or other grad degree from one of them, especially a recently-earned degree, it’d give me pause because there have been far better online/distance learning options around for at least the last 7-10 years. If they were otherwise qualified based on their undergrad degree and professional achievements I wouldn’t rule out the candidate entirely, but the graduate degree would basically be disregarded.

    My employer offers very good employee education benefits – they pay every penny of tuition, books, etc. at the employee’s choice of approved institutions, and for whatever subject/major the employee chooses to study. Several years ago they changed their policy to exclude University of Phoenix and other for-profits because they found the academic rigor was not up to par and the costs were obscene – they flat-out said something to the effect of “These schools are a waste of our employees’ time and our money” and offered alternatives for employees who were considering attending those institutions. Literally any regionally-accredited insistution in the US is on the approved list EXCEPT for the for-profits.

  42. UOP Vic*

    AAM said “I treat UofP as worse than no degree too. I’d be embarrassed to pass a resume with UoP along to colleagues, unfortunately.”

    Sadly I did both my Undergrad and Grad at UoP and finished in 2006. So should I leave both degrees off of my resume?

    I attended UoP on ground. I really liked it and I got a lot out of it. Worked my tail off and held an A average. Sadly, being a for profit university, it meant that EVERYONE passed. I see now it is catching up to them in the marketplace.

    Dayum not only am I 70k in student loan debt, but now I have 2 worthless degrees.

    1. Laurel Gray*

      How has your career been since 2006? If you feel you have been striving since and believe you wouldn’t have without both of them, isn’t it fair to say you are the exception to the opinions others have shared here?

    2. Richard*

      UOP VIC: The degrees are not worthless. Like you, I worked my tail off, and there are plenty of companies that realize that not all graduates of UoP are the same. I landed a great job, and several great promotions based on my tenaciousness of getting a higher education while working full time, and by putting that knowledge to use. I agree the cost is ridiculous, as I am paying the full ride, too, but the knowledge I learned cannot be taken away. My degrees are staying on my resume, and if some hiring managers cannot see past the name of the college, then they stand to lose some very valuable job candidates.

      1. UOP Vic*

        My career started out great after 2006. Got a great job then got laid off after 2 years. Spent 14 months unemployed and got in with a company where I am paid WAY under market. I live in a “low cost” area. I have been at my current employer for almost 5 years.

        To answer the question of would I be where I am now without the degrees, the answer would be no. Probably not why you think.

        I got hired in because I spent 14 months looking for a job and my employer got someone with a lot of experience plus a “worthless” MBA for under 40k a year. You can only defer the student loan debt for so long.

      2. Zillah*

        Richard, you say that the knowledge you are learning “cannot be taken away.” Out of curiosity, do you feel that the knowledge you’re learning at UoP is of a standard that far exceeds other B&M schools’ online degrees? If so, why do you feel that way?

        I mean, here’s the thing: I think that most people realize that not all UoP grads are the same. That’s not the issue. The issue is that there’s not always an easy way to distinguish UoP grads who did work hard with UoP grads who didn’t, and there are a lot of people in the second group.

  43. cheeky*

    I work for a very large utility company that likes University of Phoenix MBAs- in fact, they partner with Phoenix to tailor course paths for employees to get their MBAs and reimburse employees for the courses. I, personally, would rather get an MBA from a non-profit school, and my company would reimburse me for that. So, some companies not only don’t look down on for-profit schools but actually partner with them, but more often than not, in my experience, it’s not a bonus. The bar to get into those programs is so low.

    1. Green*

      Cynical Me says they get a deal from online for-profit school and they get a MBA in a role requiring an MBA but their employee doesn’t really get a degree that will help them leave the company for a better job.

      1. cheeky*

        Oh, that’s exactly how I read it. It might be helpful in your ability to advance within a specific company, but is basically useless for any other reason.

  44. Random CPA (formerly RandomName)*

    When people get their MBAs, it’s usually for one of two reasons: 1) They need it to move up with their current employer or 2) They want to get a job.

    If you fall into the first category, it probably wouldn’t hurt you to have gone to University of Phoenix. But it sounds like you’re in the second category, in which case, a University of Phoenix degree really isn’t going to help you. Part of getting your MBA is for the networking experience, and going to a school that fosters those connections with companies is really important to helping the students find employment. When my brother-in-law was looking into pursuing his MBA, he knew he wasn’t going to get into a top 10 school, so he researched and found the schools that had good job placement rates and had a lot of networking opportunities and applied to those. He ended up getting a really great internship opportunity with one of the companies the school worked with which led to a job offer. He said if he had gone to an Executive MBA program of a school that was more highly ranked, he wouldn’t have had this opportunity because they didn’t have networking events because most people in their program were currently employed and their companies were sponsoring their MBAs.

    I hear you when you say you’re sick of school. In my area, accounting is booming. Check the job market in your area for accountants. The large local, mid-size/regional, and large accounting firms hire entry level staff in groups once or twice a year and usually don’t advertise those positions because they work with the the campuses nearby and recruit from there for new staff. Make sure your school has events where they bring the accounting firms on campus at least once a year (similar to a job fair). If they do, I’d encourage you to finish your degree in this area, because the positions the accounting firms hire for truly are entry level. They expect you to have nothing but an accounting degree and meet your state’s eligibility requirements to sit for the CPA exam.

    Accounting can be a really good career, and starting off in public accounting is great experience. Not only that, but there is a fairly uniform promotion track among most firms large and small that usually follows: 2 to 3 years as a staff accountant, 2-3 years as a senior, 3 years as a supervisor/manager, 3+ years as a senior manager, and then director/partner. Most people leave to work for regular companies when they hit the senior or supervisor/manager level. But you gradually begin supervising others and taking on more responsibilities so it really helps you grow in your career.

    Anyway, just some things to consider before you give up on school altogether.

    1. Chicken Lips*

      There are so many career paths for folks with an accounting degree outside of public accounting too…internal audit (my profession), financial reporting, general ledger, Controller, etc. I will admit to being an accounting nerd.

      1. Random CPA (formerly RandomName)*

        Oh yes, all those. I focused on public accounting because usually at each accounting firm, there is more than one open spot for new grads, which makes it easier to find employment quickly, which is what it sounds like the LW’s goal is.

        I also forgot to mention that firms often offer you a job well before your actual start date so a lot of people have jobs lined up before they even graduate.

  45. HistoryChic*

    I have actually been a teacher with the University of Phoenix since 2009, although I recently left because I got another job at a non-profit university and has been a much better fit. I have wondered if in my job searching for other university jobs that having UOPX on my resume helped more than hurt. (Yes, probably.) The thing is, from talking to students in other online programs that are attached to non-profit schools with a traditional ground campus, the level of professor attention at UOPX is much more. I know many people who don’t have interaction with their professors in these classes at traditional schools, whereas with UOPX I was required to be very active and engaged with the students throughout the class. This is monitored and I know that I WAS active on a daily basis, responding to each student in detail. That said, the quality of student has gone down drastically since 2009 (I think they are just accepting everyone) and after the last class I taught I just couldn’t take it anymore!!! There wasn’t one student who got an A in the class and most of them could barely write! Add to that many of their recruitment practices, etc. leave much to be desired. Knowing that good professors teach these classes and care about the students, it is such a shame! If I was hiring someone, however, I wouldn’t count them out but would ask very pointed questions about their education, how it worked, what they got out of it, etc.

  46. JuniperLoki*

    Wow. I’m really surprised at all the negativity. I worked really hard for my MBA but before that I did my research and picked a good program. I focused on healthcare management and my program got excellent reviews from people in the field. I don’t think all for-profits are bad, and since this type of education is probably going to only get stronger in the future maybe we should be a little more supportive.

    I’m not ashamed of WGU and I’m not taking it off my resume. I worked for my MBA. Times are changing. I didn’t have a spare $40,000 lying around to go to Seton Hall every night.

    I’m very disappointed in this latest entry in what is otherwise an excellent blog.

    1. Natalie*

      I think you’re making the common mistake of assuming online = for-profit. Western Govenors University is fully online, but it is a not-for-profit school.

    2. Samantha*

      I don’t think this applies to all online schools (though some may disagree), but University of Phoenix specifically as it doesn’t have a great reputation as a rigorous academic institution. Also, I don’t think Alison is saying this is the way it should be, but rather the way it is.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m confused about why you’re conflating WGU with UoP. WGU is nonprofit; UoP is not. There’s a huge difference between the two. UoP has a terrible reputation; WGU does not.

    4. fposte*

      If people in your field like it and it’s working for you, there’s no need to change.

      But it’s not working for the OP. And it’s useful for people considering programs to know that that’s a possibility.

    5. Laurel Gray*

      I believe this is more honest insight/feedback than negativity. Many people in the comments of this post hire in their companies and they are admitting the bias, the company rule to not hire people with these degrees, and are well aware of the bad press.

      Also, no one can take your hard work away from you. The general bad image of for profit schools unfortunately does not take into consideration that it is very possible that specific areas of study, with specific professors are very strong. I think if your career prospects are great and you continue to move up the ladder with a for profit degree than you should consider yourself an exception and keep doing what has been working for you.

    6. MsM*

      But you did your research and knew this particular degree wasn’t going to be a problem in your field. I did too when I was looking at MBA programs, and wound up picking a “second tier” school with a particularly good reputation in my specialization that also gave me a lot of financial aid. But I picked it knowing that if I ever decided to switch focus, there were certain companies that would probably never consider me because of the school’s ranking – and in fact, those of my classmates who did manage to get internships and interviews had to work twice as hard as their top-tier counterparts to even get looked at. The times just aren’t changing quickly enough to dismiss the existence of these preferences, and you really do need to go in with your eyes open and ask lots of questions before you commit to a particular program.

    7. Juli G.*

      I think you need to view it though as a large population is giving their opinion. I’m sure it’s disappointing and it’s probably not fair but it is true. I don’t think Allison or others lying about their true feelings would be very helpful either.

    8. oleander*

      JuniperLoki, I’m assuming you’re talking about Western Governors University. WGU is NOT a for-profit university. It’s fully online, and private, but it’s nonprofit, and its roots are in the public sector. I think it was founded specifically to combat some of the problems with for-profit online education, while preserving the flexibility and convenience of such degrees.

      I don’t have any connection to WGU, but this is what I came to understand when I was doing some research a few years ago out of curiosity.

    9. LAI*

      Western Governor’s University is not a for-profit, so I don’t think any of the comments on this post pertain to it. WGU is a non-profit, online university and as far as I know, has a pretty good reputation. Of course, it hasn’t been around that long yet, so its reputation is still being established.

      1. JuniperLoki*

        Apologies, I cannot brain today I have the dumb. Trying to wean myself off coffee and whatnot.

    10. Allison*

      I get the sense you may have skimmed over some critical information. No one’s saying that people with online MBAs didn’t work hard to earn them, nor is anyone saying that all online education is a scam, or a waste of time, or a joke. A lot of us here are supportive of non-traditional education and those who choose to pursue it for whatever reason, but University of Phoenix *is* a scam and isn’t considered legitimate, and if anything we’re tired of people who can’t afford traditional grad school being taken advantage of by these non-accredited schools.

      You did your research, you picked an online program with good reputation, and no one is attacking you for it.

  47. Andy*

    Based on the negative reactions I believe the advice AAM gave to be sound. This thread is evidence that the UoP degree will elicit negative reactions…which is essentially what the OP was asking: how is this degree viewed? Will my degree hurt me or help me?

  48. SH*

    So here’s how I treat it when I get a candidate who went to UofP (or a similar institution, although I put UofP at the top of that list):

    -Are they going to UofP straight out of high school/with nothing else going on? If yes, then it’s a ding. For the same money they could have taken classes at an accredited school and have it count for something. I don’t really care if your MBA takes them 2 years or 5.
    -Did they go into a degree program that is a natural progression from their job, at which they were also working full time? If yes, then will the degree help the person at our company? If yes, then they aren’t automatically in the “No” pile.
    -Did they finish the degree right before a promotion at their previous company (per the dates on their resume) or moving onto a promotion at a different company? If yes, then okedokee – the UofP makes no difference.
    -Were they doing anything else during the time that they went and got the degree (like, took time away to take care of children, got the degree, went back into the workforce at a higher position than they left it)? If yes, then the UofP makes no difference.
    -What exactly do we need them to do? Is it something where a full liberal arts degree program would be beneficial (like a position that has lots of writing, heavy critical thinking skills, etc.)? Or is it data entry/basic bookeeping? If it’s the latter, I don’t really care where the degree came from, what it’s in, or if you have one in the first place – I only care about whether or not you have the skills to do the job.

    In other words, if you chose it instead of going to a college-college, I start to wonder because of all the reasons stated above. If it was chosen because you just needed the letters after your name for a promotion, then cool beans – you get points for doing what you need to do to move yourself forward.

  49. Emily*

    OP, I am sorry you are in this mess. I ended up in a similar one, completing almost 3/4 of my MBA with UoP before realizing what it was and dropping out. Now I am working long hours at a job that pays decent but I hate and am too exhausted to go back to a “real” college anytime soon. I’ve looked into a few programs and the credits are not easily transferred and with my schedule, I would only be able to do part time.

    If I were you I would leave it on the resume and just ensure you have the other degree you are working on listed first. You can always explain further in interviews.

  50. MBA*

    I’m currently in the process of getting my MBA at a top 50 school. While I definitely see the value of hiring MBAs, I would definitely look down on a UofP degree and probably wouldn’t see much value in an MBA degree from a very small school. The only way I wouldn’t count it against someone is if they already have 15+ years of experience it it was obviously just a check box.

    Here’s why I would look down on these programs:

    -Getting into my program was incredibly challenging. It required a high GMAT and GPA, some work history, references, essays and an interview. My assumption is that getting into online or very small programs wasn’t as difficult. You are therefore less likely to be as strong of a candidate or have worked with very strong peers.

    -A lot of the leadership building in my program comes from doing extracurricular activities. This means leading company site visits, working with companies to bring in guest speakers, and volunteering. Do any of these things happen in an online program? If so, I would want to see these listed on a resume. (If I saw stuff like this listed under a UofP degree it would definitely change my opinion.

    -I have to give a LOT of presentations. Even though I went in to my program as a pretty accomplished speaker, I’m still learning about giving better presentations. I consider this very valuable experience. The OP said they aren’t giving any presentations at all.

    -The group work… I just can’t even say how much group work there is. I’m assuming there is some group work in these smaller programs but I wonder if it’s at the same level as the work in more competitive programs.

    -General level of work. I spend 60-80 hours a week on my MBA work and I’m pulling in about a 3.7 (My program is a 2 year program) Programs like the UofP are meant for people who have other life priorities. Even stretching the hours out to 3-4 years…. I wonder if someone in one of these programs is putting as much time in.

    Some of these assumptions might not be true, but from conversations with people from programs like the UofP and what I’ve read I’ve developed these assumptions. I would definitely need proof otherwise to accept a degree from the UofP.

    1. Laurel Gray*

      Do you work full time? I don’t know how someone with a full time job would have the time to do what you listed. For many, the MBA opens up future prospects but everyone can’t afford to go back to being a full time student to get it. I think any program that touts itself as continuing education for the working professional will not be able to offer some of the things on your list.

      1. Jamie*

        A lot of people without any job would have a hard time putting in 60-80 hours a week on anything if they have personal responsibilities.

        To do it with a full time job it would be 100-120 hours a week for an extended period of time. I know there are people who do that, but I have 2 weeks a year where I’m between 85 and 100 and I don’t have what it takes to do it long term. Those weeks have be questioning my life choices every time.

        As someone else said in the thread – there are a lot of good options in between this kind of program and a for profit with a bad reputation. Even if this was the very best possible program and immeasurably better than every other in every way, not everyone would see the return on the above and beyond.

        It’s kind of like remodeling. If you’re doing it for your own pleasure that’s one thing, but some things that cost a lot of money get zero or even negative return when you go to sell the house – so it’s good to know before you put the time and money into something whether it will benefit you in the end or not.

      2. The Strand*

        Yeah, there are many excellent professional and executive MBA programs which offer this level of education for full time professionals. They are not less rigorous, most professional programs cover the exact same classes as the institution’s full time programs, but over a slightly longer period of time, taught by the same professors. The average full time MBA program is 2 years, not 4. A professional program in the same school might take 3 or 4 years. Same rigor, over a longer period.

    2. Richard*

      I took one online course with UoP, and the rest were classroom. The classroom courses were more stringent in my experience. Comparing my program to yours:
      – It wasn’t hard to get into UoP;
      – The extracurricular activities were comparable to your program;
      – Presentations were constant, and not all were PowerPoint driven. I too consider this a very valuable experience;
      – My school load consisted of 45 hours on an average week (35 personal work, and 10 team related work).

      The main differences from your post seem to be the criteria of getting in, and the workload hours spent. The hours spent is impossible to compare without knowing the work and the proficiency of the students involved. Based on the textbooks and other material I used, I have no doubt that my education was superb.

      Granted, I know of one teammate in particular I wouldn’t hire to sweep floors. Some received good grades that were not earned. But, to dismiss all graduates from UoP (or any school) is as bad as any other form of discrimination, legal or otherwise.

      1. MBA*

        Richard, I didn’t even know about classroom options or extracurricular activities – I would want to see this on a resume somehow. Unfortunately, there are just too many bad examples to not discriminate against a UofP education. With low requirements to get in, how do I know you aren’t that student who can’t even sweep floors?

        Also regarding time commitment for someone working part time, I would expect someone doing a 4 year program to be putting 30 hours a week into the MBA program for it to be equivalent (Now – my school offers part-time programs and it’s no secret that they aren’t as rigorous. However, they are generally for people just checking off a box.) Many of us are struggling to balance family time and the MBA program but we knew that it would be a struggle going in. I have had countless all nighters – something that I thought I had put behind me in high school. Our orientation had us working in teams until 1 am and returning for class at 8 am… that was just the start…

        1. Laurel Gray*

          Are you saying that a part time MBA is somehow less reputable than a full time one, regardless of the school? How is a part time MBA program generally for people just checking a box? Many people who have work experience and are currently working have to go the part time route. Most MBA, International MBA and Executive MBA programs have part time options. The reality is that most leaders/managers/soon to be managers can’t quit working for 1-3 years to be a student full time. Yes, it takes longer, they take less classes at a time, but they are still working full time. And yes, one can argue that 4-5 classes at a time is more rigorous than 1-2 at a time but it is also possible that if you looked at the hours spent on each course the averages may be pretty close.

          1. RH*

            Ugh, I hate the part time is less rigorous saw. I have been told that my PhD, which I am completing part time while working full time, will not be viewed as rigorous or valuable as that of a FT student. I guess it is good I have no desire to work at an R1, then.

          2. Jess*

            While an executive MBA probably isn’t as rigorous as a full-time MBA (and frankly, I don’t think it’s meant to be), I certainly don’t think anyone looks down on it or that it’s less reputable. It’s a great degree intended specifically for working professionals who don’t want (or aren’t able) to take two years off to go back to school full time. Many of the top business schools offer EMBA programs, and I can’t imagine a hiring manager who would look down on, for instance, a Wharton executive MBA. (Although this might be where school rank comes in again, b/c I’m guessing many a hiring manager would choose an exec MBA from Wharton over a full-time MBA from a lower-ranked school.)

            On a side note, I thought the entire point of an executive MBA was to be part time? I didn’t think there was any such thing as a full-time executive MBA program.

          3. MBA*

            I wouldn’t say part time programs are less reputable. But if I was looking at two candidates from my school and they had exactly the same work experience, extracurricular, etc, I would probably pick the FT student because I know the full-time program is more rigorous and is much more difficult to get in to. However, people in the part-time program usually have a lot more work experience and are often just trying to tick a box. (The few people who are in the part time program without a job… well to be honest they come off as only being in that program because they couldn’t get into the FT program or they didn’t want to work as hard as the people in the FT program.)

            Regardless, I don’t think this argument is all that important. I shouldn’t have mentioned the part time program at my school because it’s really getting off topic. The point is that not all degrees are equal and above are examples of why someone might think less of a particular degree. I know damn well that my degree program is not as rigorous as the business program at Stanford or Harvard. Even if the class work and everything else were identical, the students, on average, are not. I think peer interactions and other people challenging you’re thinking make up part of the education and the quality of those interactions and challenges is going to be far better at a program that is more competitive. This doesn’t say anything about me as a person (perhaps I could have gone to Stanford if I had taken a different life course) but with little else to go off of, an employer is going to look more favorably upon a Stanford degree (and more poorly on a UofP degree.) There IS a reason more employers recruit on the Stanford campus as opposed to some schools further down the top 50.

            1. Perpetuum Mobile*

              Had to chime in. I did a 2-year part time (meaning, half Fridays and all Saturdays) MBA at one of two best business schools in my state (was accepted to both). Actually, my alma mater’s part time program is ranked higher than our competitor’s. Compared to my business school FT program, my part time was the same duration, same curriculum, same number of credits (I personally had 54 3/4, 1 3/4 credits more than needed for graduation), same faculty, same campus, same everything – except it cost more than 100% than FT since we all were working full time too and it was perhaps a bit less grade competitive. Also we did less of student clubs and we drank less after classes than FT folks, as we simply didn’t have enough time. At some point I calculated that I was probably putting about ~50-60 a week into the program, with more hours by end of the semesters. Thanks God that my manager at work was very understanding and since I was paying for my degree all by myself (and hence my company was getting a free perk), she didn’t mind letting me work on my course work during the work day provided that I took care of my normal work responsibilities first. And yes, my career got put on temp hold; I couldn’t take on any challenging long term assignments that could put me in a good spot light in front of the management to see as I didn’t have enough resources to dedicate to a big effort, like staying after work and such…

              Bottom line, when I finished with a 3.5 GPA my husband said he wouldn’t mind getting to meet his wife again; he practically didn’t see me for two years. It was the most physically enduring long term experience I ever had in my life. I did get a career boost after the graduation.

              Another quick comment: in several classes as well as on an international trip in my second year I did interact with FT-ers and “execs”; just a personal impression, but I was not hugely impressed with the former: all primarily young kids with a couple years of work experience at best. A huge part of my MBA was learning from my classmates as most of them were top notch; I am sure these full timers will be terrific professionals several years AFTER their MBA but during the program they were no match to either part time or executive students. Maybe these are just the specifics for my school. Also never heard about any issues that my classmates had changing jobs after the graduation as quite a few people did – everybody went up;while at least some full timers, from what I heard from them, had issues securing good employment after they were done.

              1. MBA*

                I would love if my school was like that. The fact is, at my school the part-time program isn’t as difficult. Faculty are different, many of the classes are different, etc.

                1. Hillary*

                  Very late to the party here, but at my alma mater (top 50 land grant school) the PT program is actually ranked higher than the FT program. I had the same experience as Perpetuum Mobile wrt classmates, particularly since I made a point of taking as many Saturday morning classes as possible. No one who wasn’t 100% committed signed up to be at school at 8am. I did a “part time” MBA in five semesters plus summers while working full time. We had the same professors and curriculum as the FT students.

                  The group work was a big differentiator for me. We were all working and most had families, so we focused a lot on efficiency. The few times I was in a group with FT students they’d do the same amount of work but it would take twice as long.

        2. MsM*

          “my school offers part-time programs and it’s no secret that they aren’t as rigorous”

          I’d say that’s a failing of your program, then. The part-time students in my program got the exact same curriculum, just spread out over 3-4 years instead of the full-time 2. I took electives with several of them, and having their insights and connections was a huge benefit to classroom discussion and networking. I also think they had a much tougher juggling act than I did, all-nighters and all, and I’d probably give some bonus points in the time management skills column when considering a resume from someone in a similar position.

          1. Beth*

            “The part-time students in my program got the exact same curriculum, just spread out over 3-4 years instead of the full-time 2.”

            That’s the difference in my program, too. (Professional degree.) We take all the same classes – with our full-time peers – just fewer at a time. There’s no difference in workload, assignments, marking, etc.

            I’d be extreeeeemely critical of a PT program that wasn’t The Same But Longer.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        But, to dismiss all graduates from UoP (or any school) is as bad as any other form of discrimination, legal or otherwise.

        I totally disagree with that. Discriminating against someone on the basis of sex or skin color is really different than discriminating on the basis of choices they made or academic qualifications they earned.

        1. Zillah*

          I’m glad that you said this, because that line really bothered me.

          I went to public state schools, and I’m sure that some people will discriminate against me for it. But even if everyone did, it pales in comparison to being discriminated against because of my gender or because of my health problems – i.e., things I have absolutely no control over. Richard, if the worst discrimination you face is over your alma mater, I’m frankly pretty jealous.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            No, it’s absolutely not discrimination in the legal sense. But certainly discriminating among applicants on the basis of things like education and work history is a core part of what hiring is about.

  51. ThatClerk*

    Oooh, hate to add on an only-tangentially-related question, but do employers feel the way about bottom of the barrel law schools? I can get a full ride to one of those ‘multiple campuses, always teetering on the edge of not being ABA recognized’ schools in my area, but would I just be shooting myself in the foot?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      School ranking matters hugely in law, more than in most (all?) other fields. A law degree from a bottom-tier school is rarely money well spent, unfortunately.

      1. Jamie*

        For medical doctors as well as law, I’d think. At least for me and I almost never care where someone went to school, but I want the doctor’s in charge of the important stuff for my family to have gone to one of the good schools.

        1. Joey*

          That’s interesting. obviously effectiveness is number one, but after that I went with bedside manners next.

          1. Jamie*

            For me the bedside manner is important with the GP who gives us antibiotics when we get an ear infections and is just a referral machine for everything else. I think if him as a friendly gatekeeper to the specialists.

            For the person performing surgery on me via robot controlled by software, or any kind of surgery on anyone I love… I don’t care if she has the bedside manner of Bobby Knight as long as they are really good in OR. Ditto for specialists when something is really wrong with someone and we don’t know what – that’s happened in my family a couple of times – and while I’ve never dealt with a Dr. House type I totally would. I’ll take an assh*le who is great and usually right over someone nice who is good but not great every time.

            A good school doesn’t tell you everything, but it tells you they were good enough to get in and compete and succeed at a higher level.

            1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

              Don’t underrate your GP! It takes a HUGE amount of knowledge to know when it’s worth sending you on to a specialist and when it’s not, not to mention all the things GPs take care of without referrals (dealing with your ongoing diabetes, or your high cholesterol, etc. etc.). GPs have to know about so, so many different conditions and body systems and medications.

              Of course, they ALSO need to have a good bedside manner, more so than a specialist might – not just because it’s nice, but because it actually has a real impact on your health if you feel comfortable asking your doctor questions when you’re not sure of yourself. (“I won’t bother to ask Dr. Jerk about this mole… it’s probably not anything, and I don’t want him to get annoyed at me for wasting his time.”) But it’s on top of the hard skills, not instead of.

              1. Jamie*

                Maybe it’s just my insurance, but ours just writes referrals. Over the years he’s written scripts for ear infections and Claritin and literally every thing else is a referral to a specialist.

                One of my kids in high school had a super mild case of acne – never more than 2-3 small zits at any given time…dermatologist who prescribed some ointment; wouldn’t even write the monthlies for that – back to dermatologist in another town. Sinus infection after flu sent to an ENT – had to wait a week for an appointment and cured after one course of antibiotics. My husband jacked his knee shoveling and went in > orthopedist. Wouldn’t even order the x-ray or MRI to take with – said the orthopedist will do it. My migraines which I’ve had since I was 7? Won’t touch them – sent me to a neurologist. Fortunately my gyn said she’d treat them.

                I am sure that there are a lot of GPs like you describe and I’m equally sure mine has more expertise than I’ve seen…but they are all like that in our provider group. I’m sure they have the rules structured so their hands are tied because it’s more profitable to send us to specialists.

                Honestly I truly believe that when you have good insurance they have no problem moving you through the system to get as much as possible out of the insurance company to make up for the un or under-insured. Like they don’t care because it’s only a $10 co-pay, but it’s inconvenient and it does result in delays for minor things that are unnecessary.

                I know I’m cynical, but I do think there is something to it. Twice I’ve had surgery in the last 12 years or so which should have been home the same day. No complications either time, but both times they kept me 4 days. No reason when I asked why except that I would be more comfortable with their pain management and my recoveries were unremarkable. Is it because of how much my insurance company paid out for my stay and I was only out the minimal co-pay so no guilt of bilking a real person out of money? Can’t prove it but I firmly believe if we had lower tier insurance our minor stuff would be treated with fewer specialists and I’d have been going home the same day from surgery.

                You’re overall point though is well taken – GPs are the Rodney Dangerfields of the profession and they should get more respect because when done well it’s hard.

                1. doreen*

                  “I am sure that there are a lot of GPs like you describe and I’m equally sure mine has more expertise than I’ve seen…but they are all like that in our provider group. I’m sure they have the rules structured so their hands are tied because it’s more profitable to send us to specialists.” Maybe I’m just cynical,too, but I’m sure that this has more to do with the fact that your GP is in a provider group that with your provider’s expertise. Because my family practitioner has an individual practice, and does not do this at all. It’s not that he doesn’t send us to specialists -he does when it’s necessary. But high blood pressure, migraines, high cholesterol , sinus infections, x-rays, EKGs , referrals to physical therapy, removing stitches after an ER visit – he does that stuff himself .

                2. Pennalynn Lott*

                  My GP has only ever referred me out for one thing, and it was for a hip replacement. And that was after he ordered and reviewed the xrays and MRI, and made the diagnosis. He even removed a minor melanoma in-office, by himself, instead of referring me out.

        2. AnotherAlison*

          My husband had a cousin go to a Caribbean med school in his late thirties. He finished a couple years back, and still hasn’t been able to pass his boards. He has 3 kids (the oldest is turning 18 now), and a wife, and basically gave up everything to follow this pipe dream. He couldn’t get accepted into a regular US medical school. To me, that’s a sign that this is not what I’m supposed to do. He didn’t meet the standard. . .and he still can’t meet the standard. Those schools, like the for-profit ones in this discussion, also charge a ton of money. I cannot imagine being in my early 40s, taking on hundreds of thousands in debt for a career path I can’t pursue.

          1. Cat*

            Everyone I know who went to one of those schools is actually doing pretty good – I was under the impression that, unlike with law school, there’s actually an undersupply of med school spots in the U.S. relative to how many doctors we need (but maybe they just got lucky).

            1. Sigrid*

              It’s more complicated than that. The bottleneck is not in medical school spots, it’s in residency spots. A doctor is not boarded until after they finish residency, meaning if they graduate from medical school but do not match into a residency program, their degree is basically useless. Residencies are funded by the federal government (mostly through Medicare), and funding for residencies has not increased proportionally to the need for doctors. (In fact, the federal government is currently trying to cut funding to residency programs, through logic that completely escapes me.) There are currently more in-country medical school graduates than there are residency spots, and that’s not counting the large number of overseas medical school graduates who apply for US residencies.

                1. Christian Troy*

                  People who don’t match have a couple of options, but it depends on the individual if they even want to match. Some enroll in master’s programs and reapply in 2-3 years, others spend the year or two doing research. After all of that if they still can’t match, they usually get some kind of research admin position (academic or pharm company for example) or enroll in a PhD program with the intent of doing research. Some go into biotech or healthcare start ups too.

                2. Oryx*

                  The Sawbones podcast actually covered this in a recent episode on Medical Education — there’s a thing called SOAP where unmatched Residents can apply to programs with open spots. If still unmatched I think they can teach or go into research. I don’t know if there’s an option to apply for a residency program again.

        3. Sigrid*

          In most cases, where a doctor did her residency is more important than where she did her schooling. Where you get into residency is heavily dependent on how well you did on your boards, and boards are the great equalizer for medical students. Plus, most of what you learn as a doctor you learn during residency. (I speak as a medical student at a top-ten university. My going to a very good school for med school will count for nothing if I don’t do well on my boards and land a good residency.)

          1. Stephanie*

            Also, you’re more on top of this career stuff than most med students or residents I know. Most the people I know who went into medicine were pretty much K to MD and would never think to read a career blog. (Admittedly, y’all’s hiring practices sound totally foreign.)

          2. Soupspoon McGee*

            This is fascinating! Is it similar for physician assistants (schooling, clinicals), or is the landscape quite different? I’m working on prerequisites for PA programs now, after 20+ years in a totally different field (so I don’t have the patience to go to med school + residency and start practicing a decade before my social security starts).

    2. Cat*

      Yeah, to be honest, there’s a good chance you would. Not a guaranteed chance, but on average, the degree is probably not likely to outweigh the opportunity cost of getting it. Particularly if the accreditation gets pulled and you can’t even take the bar exam.

      In addition, a lot of those schools play terrible games with the scholarship money – like requiring that you be in the top 10% of your class to keep it when they gave scholarships to 50% or more of the class. So you often can’t count on it for more than your first semester or year.

    3. bridget*

      Unfortunately, yes. Unless you are willing to hang out your own shingle after law school (terrifying, very expensive, often malpractice suits waiting to happen), a job as a lawyer will be _very_ hard to find. You have a full ride, which cuts out one huge downside to going to a school like that, but three years of your life is still an investment for which you probably won’t see a return.

      1. bridget*

        And Cat makes a good point that “full ride” almost always has an asterisk next to it. That’s true at even first-tier law schools; mathematically, only a small slice of the people who are awarded them can keep them, because they are tied to class rankings.