I don’t like to talk about my year at a for-profit university. Today I wanted to talk about my experience, so that if anyone starts searching in interest for these types of schools, they can see what I wrote and rethink their interest. Before I start I’ll sum up my experience right now: for-profit universities are a scam.
I had a lapse of judgement going out of high school and thought it would be a great idea to go to an American for-profit university in the UK *. I chose this route instead of applying for British schools because I wanted my application process to be as simple as possible; I simply did not understand UCAS and didn’t want to take the time to do it. This school seemed like a good alternative. They were incredibly helpful to me (something I did not get when I started my relationship with Westminster) and made it easy to enrol.
I started reading around and a red flag shot off when I read that this school has issues with it’s accreditation. Furthermore even when it was accredited the organisations reviewing the school quality commented negatively on it. Still, I wanted to expect the best and it was my dream to go to school in London. So I went.
The problems started pretty immediately.
I was a good student in high school. I received the highest grade of my class in my AP Calculus exam, achieved a 4 on my AP English, and graduated in the top 15%. I was initiated into the National Honor Society. I played soccer and ran track for a few years of high school before my back went out. I got into some great schools back home. So I didn’t go to this school for lack of choices. However this is how I felt when they put me into remedial English and math classes. I decided to change my English class to one of my programme classes the first semester so I could find a way to change it to something higher.
I was told I was put into a higher math class, but they were teaching us basic algebra and geometry. I complained about being put into a class that was too easy for me, but I was snubbed. I was told they never received my AP exam grades even though I had had them sent multiple time. I believe I even paid for them to go out the last time. Nothing changed.
I was told that the English classes taught how to write compound and complex sentences. I tried to get into a higher class but again they wouldn’t let me. I decided to delay it until my second year. The one friend I met who is very dyslexic had issues when they wouldn’t let her use spellcheckers and have extra time on her exams. When she had gotten one of her assignments back she was marked down because her sentence structure was too advanced.
The school culture was appalling. I didn’t fit in. All the other students cared about was drinking, drugs, partying, and fucking. Everyone seemed materialistic. No one cared about their classes. Thankfully there were a couple lovely people, one of whom I still love with all my heart, because we both felt cheated. When she enrolled they told her she’d be able to get work experience in her programme and be able to get jobs easily. When she got there they took away that offer.
The cost was atrocious. I cannot remember off the top of my head what the tuition was, but it was something vile. I think $30,000 a year, which is not the worst price ever (Fordham, another school I got into, charges $50k a year, but it’s a very good school). However, for the quality of education I was receiving, it was horrible. That isn’t the worst, however. My accommodation cost £235 per week. That’s $375, and it’s self-catered. I was sharing my room with another person, and there were 3 other girls in the flat. To put this in perspective, I’m sharing a flat with my partner currently and we each pay £86 per week. One of the halls also rented out flats for University of Westminster students. They were paying around £175 a week.
I was speaking to a girl at the school and she said she found out while she was there that the degree she was working towards was regarded negatively in the field she wanted to be in. That the money she’s paying to the school will go to nothing.
I withdrew from the school around the end of February 2 years ago. I couldn’t justify receiving the next disbursement of my loan and having to pay that back to such a horrible institution.
I feel cheated. Thousands of dollars have gone down the drain. I did learn a couple cool things, and I learned a lot about myself. To be honest, it’s led me to where I am now, so I don’t 100% regret it. But I cringe at the sort of money I spent, and my heart goes out to anyone who has experienced something similar to me.
For anyone who thinks they can’t get into a good school so they’re considering going to a for-profit university: don’t. Go to your community college and get an associate’s degree. Work really hard those 2 years and you’ll save money, get a decent education, and be able to transfer to a good school for the last 2 years of a bachelors. Or go to a technical institute, where you can learn a vocation. Whatever you do, please, don’t go to a for-profit university.
* I’ve removed the name of the university, out of carefulness.