OT: College Advice
rhoderickj at gmail.com
Wed May 13 15:24:56 BST 2009
What is your intention in going for a grad degree? Do you plan to pursue a
PhD with the intention of doing academic or research work? If you're not
planning on going into academics or research -- or if you just want to seek
a PhD for fun or for vanity -- then you don't really have to worry about
where you get your master's degree, as long the institution is accredited.
Regardless, there's a major difference between an "online university" and a
university that offers online classes. Online classes are becoming quite
popular for obvious reasons and most schools do not differentiate an online
course from an in-class course. For example, I attended UMUC and received a
B.S. in Computer and Information Science. My class break-down was about 75%
in-class (from other schools, not UMUC), and about 25% online at UMUC. My
degree does not say "Online Degree." It is the same degree any other UMUC
student would receive regardless of whether they sat in a classroom or
completed the coursework online. But this isn't true for those "online
universities" like Phoenix. These are generally not accredited institutions
and employers will not look highly upon them.
Let me warn you: I attended four different schools (it's a long story)
including a private school in Frederick (Hood College), and out of all of
them, the online courswork at UMUC was -- by far -- the most difficult to
keep up with. It isn't necessarily any more difficult intellectually, but
the workload is intense. Doing coursework online is convenient but it
requires a lot of discipline. Some people are not suited to this kind of
Anyway, like Celeste said, top-tier PhD programs are highly competitive and
it's hard to justify accepting a candidate who went to UMUC when the pool
consists mostly of candidates coming from Harvard and MIT. It's a shame
really. The whole system is inherently biased against working people because
we cannot afford the time and cash to attend the Ivy League schools.
Again, I think the reason you want to seek a grad degree is critical here.
If you are just looking to get a job in the field, you don't need a graduate
degree and I would recommend against wasting your time and money. Experience
is worth much more in the IT field than a degree. A second bachelor's degree
in computer science would help and for this I'd recommend going to UMUC or
any public university with a good program that offers online courses.
Feel free to e-mail me privately if you found any of this helpful.
On Wed, May 13, 2009 at 9:39 AM, christopher fletez-brant <
cafletezbrant at gmail.com> wrote:
> What advice would you give if I were to say that I am trying to find the
> degree program that will give me the most options at a budget price? This
> is wholly on my tab - I'm an administrative assistant for an
> so they are not paying for school - through federal aid and more student
> loans. A top-tier school is not important to me due to undergrad grades,
> but I would like to be able to pursue even higher education down the road,
> should I choose to do so.
> Kipper Fletez-Brant
> On Wed, May 13, 2009 at 8:19 AM, Celeste Lyn Paul <celeste at kde.org> wrote:
> > On Wednesday 13 May 2009 07:52:56 am christopher fletez-brant wrote:
> > > Hi guys,
> > > I have a BA in Liberal Arts and am considering taking a master's at
> > Capitol
> > > College (www.capitol-college.edu) in Computer Science. The biggest
> > > advantages to me are that they do not ask for my GRE's, which I have
> > > yet taken, and that their MSCS program is entirely online, which is
> > > because I just can't afford to stop working. I am concerned, however,
> > > about how this school (or any online degree, for that matter) is
> > > by potential employers and/or PhD programs. I'd appreciate any
> > > comments or info about this program or any others (especially since I'm
> > > considering beginning in the fall).
> > Hi Kipper,
> > For the most part, I think people get Master's degress in order to refine
> > their
> > education (usually you hone in on a discipline with a master's) and get
> > that
> > stepping stone which is required for the next level of salary or job
> > position.
> > Prestige wont matter most of the time unless you are applying for a very
> > competitive job. However, unless you are going to a tier 1 school, no one
> > will
> > care where your degree came from, and online degrees are increasingly
> > acceptable.
> > If you are considering a PhD program, you might want to look for a MS
> > rather
> > than an MA. A PhD program is an academic achievement and so the "science"
> > part
> > is pretty important. You also might want to consider a more prestigious
> > school
> > or biting the bullet and going to real classes. Even at a tier 3
> > university,
> > competition for PhD programs is very high. Most programs will get tens to
> > hundreds of applications a semester and will only accept 1 or 2 students.
> > Also, is price an issue or are you getting loans/employer is paying? If
> > prestige is a factor, there are a number of CS/IS programs offered by
> > notable
> > universities online. Syracuse and UMBC have online master's degrees in
> > UMUC has several online technical degrees and is probably more well-known
> > in
> > the DC Metro area.
> > In summary:
> > If you are just getting the piece of paper/progressing your career:
> > * Online school is fine
> > * Be sure to do research for online programs not in the DC area
> > * For more prestige go for a well-known Uni online program
> > If you are seriously considering a PhD:
> > * Seriously consider a meat-space program
> > * At the very least, go for a Uni online program rather than at an
> > institution
> > which "specializes" in online edu.
> > Hope this helps
> > ~ Celeste
> > --
> > Celeste Lyn Paul
> > KDE Usability Project
> > usability.kde.org
> > --
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