Getting started at WGU

As I just mentioned, I decided to go back to school. In doing so, I looked into A LOT of options.  I checked ALL of the logical schools in Georgia, I checked A TON of options online.  I checked Transfer Equivalencies (some schools would transfer up to 10 classes, some 8), checked if they had online options, checked tuition, the application process etc.  But, I never found that “right fit”, the one that just made sense and everything worked out with.  Plus, most of the schools are still brick and mortar where you have to attend in person in a classroom which wasn’t an option for me.  And with some of the online schools, I just wasn’t sure.  There were the University of Phoenix type schools, “accelerated” yet costly.  I wasn’t really interested as some of the reviews and stories and price turned me sour.  There were a couple of “diploma mill” options which to me just to get the paper didn’t sound bad, but seemed like a hollow victory.

And then came WGU.  My company provides tuition reimbursement (kicking myself for not doing this earlier) and the company they use – EdLink has WGU as a preferred provider.  There were like 20 schools on this list and I went through all of them.  I don’t remember specifically my first interaction with WGU, but I do remember reading some online stories about the school, specifically a CNN article – http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/07/students-go-at-own-pace-at-school-without-boundaries/

It peaked my interest as I read it as well as the comments posters left.  The beautiful thing about Social Media (we didn’t have it back in the day) is that you can get instant feedback, good or bad.  I tend to brush off the bad as people like to bash and troll a lot because they don’t agree with the WGU model or just have some personal vendetta against how it works, I don’t know.  But, I read quite a few people had good things to say.  So needless to say, I started investigating it more.  I came across this blog post – http://wdw.org/2013/04/15/a-review-of-my-experience-earning-my-b-s-in-business-management-from-western-governors-university-wgu/ and was encouraged to hear his story.  I still look back at it for inspiration.

I was scared to call the school because I didn’t want it to be one of those experiences where they get your # and call you endlessly.  So, I worked up the nerve to call and I got some guy.  It was really weird.  I was expecting a hard sell or some pitch.  But the guy didn’t really say much and I found myself being the driver of the conversation.  And had I not, the whole call would have been silence……….lol.  So anyhow, I walked away from that with the take that – this school isn’t all about just signing people up (at least from my experience so far, I could be wrong but that’s just my perspective).  I didn’t get any calls after that, any information taken down etc.

I ended up doing more research, reading reviews, reading facebook posts because you know people will say what they will on there!  And I’ve found a considerable number of people giving positive praise, thanks, appreciation etc for the school and what they offer.  This encouraged me and gave me the thought and feeling of – I want to be one of those people!  I want to graduate and get this done.  I want to have a story that ends with a happy ending of a Diploma in hand!

I started my application process towards the end of July this year, 2015.  I filled out all of the paperwork, requested my transcripts, got an enrollment counselor (Damon, he was really cool and I’d highly recommend him if possible).  He talked me through the process and everything I needed, but I made things a little easy for him as I had already done all the research and knew what to expect and what to do.  Needless to say, he was right in that the transcript process can take a LONG time, especially when one of the schools gets lost or never sent.  That held me up like 2-4 weeks probably just waiting for it to arrive.  And the thing that sucks is the class I had taken – Intro to programming at UCSD didn’t even transfer over.  I had 17 classes I had taken at Palomar Junior College (ok, I was shocked to see I had an F from when I had to drop out, I may have dropped out too late), but I knew I had a D and couple of W’s.  I went through the whole transcript evaluation and was hopeful about that.  Unfortunately like I mentioned previously, only 4 classes transferred over.  Originally it was 3, but I checked against their equivalencies and they missed one.  It was easy for them to fix it, I just had my enrollment counselor file something for it and they approved it.  However, this goes back to where I wished I had taken more transferable General Ed classes or finished my Associates as it would have made my trek towards a Bachelor sooo much easier as now I have to take those classes as well.  I knew I held off on the math classes back then for a reason, but now I get to do 2 Algebra’s, a “finite” mathematics AND a probability/statistics class as a cherry on top!  WOOO HOO.  Hopefully I can progress through some of these classes fast and furious so I don’t have to suffer too much.  But, I do have a total of 28 classes plus the Capstone Project to complete.

At this point, I had gotten everything in and transcripts done, chosen my Major – Bachelors of Science in Information Technology, got a start date (almost missed it as I had to do a whole pre-approval process for reimbursement with my work) and am set to start 10/1/15.

I’ve been handed off to my “Mentor” and talked with her on Monday.  I have another meeting tomorrow to go over the last of the enrollment process before embarking on this journey.  I’ve been VERY pro-active in all of this, I took a pre-assessment for my 1st class and scored a 68 where a 65 was needed to be able to take the actual assessment to pass the class if you already have the knowledge/understanding of the class.  Think of it as “clepping” out.  While my score wasn’t as high as they’d like to let me take the test, I’ll have to ask her if I can still take it.  After all, I had not done ANY studying to get a true assessment of where I stood and I feel I did pretty well.  When I was at Qualcomm, I had done a lot of MCSE studying and passed 4 of the 6 required.  I didn’t finish as the last 2 tests I had NO clue or working experience of the subjects plus the whole set of tests were expiring as they were being replaced by the next line of Operating System tests.  Today I went through most of the CoS and all of the tests so I feel I’m more refreshed on the subject and could more easily pass the test, but we’ll see.  I also don’t have my webcam yet to take the exam which may take some time in addition to just scheduling to take the test which can take up to 5 days.  Hopefully I won’t lose the momentum and initiative I’m feeling right now.

Getting started at WGU

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