Sick of WGU. Withdraw?

cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior MemberPosts: 6,806Mod Mod
Well, I'm 50% through the MSISA and am contemplating withdrawing. I had my reservations about the whole mentor thing but had no idea I would be so annoyed by it. My mentor is a good person, but I just can't deal with the cookie cutter same BS lines every week. "You are great, you are making great progress, hoorah". What the hell? Other than the cheering her input adds zero value. The calls are just minutes of my life I'm never getting back.

Then there's the material. After 15 CUs I can categorically said I have learned ZERO. Given the few easy courses left and the capstone there's definitely not much for me to learn there. Going into the program my sole goal was to check off a box in my bucket list but at least I expected to gain some knowledge and somewhat grow as a professional. That is definitely not going to happen.

Then there's course mentors giving bad/incorrect advice, overly vague rubric, Taskstream feedback being awful, cohorts once per month on weird times (what's so hard about recording ALL of them?), and others. Don't even get me started on the EC Council certs.

The dilemma for me right now is that I can be doing so much more productive and career-enhancing things with the time I dedicate to WGU. Decision now is, do I suck it up and power through it? If anyone withdrew I would like to hear your story.
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Comments

  • jeremywatts2005jeremywatts2005 CySA,S+,A+,N+Cloud+,MSDFS,MSMISSM Posts: 340Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Hate to be harsh, but deal with it and finish. Completing your degree is an important step that will open doors up for you. I am studying for my Doctorate and I hate some of the things about my program. For that matter I think everyone hates something about college. I was a Dean and I can tell you at 50% you need to finish and see this through. The end is close and your mentor may suck but maybe you should be honest with her. Tell her she sucks and what you need. I have done that with some instructors over the years.
  • da_vatoda_vato Posts: 445Member
    I can definitely understand your frustration with the WGU setup. I pretty much felt the same way about the mentors as you do. I enrolled into the program with the intention of obtaining a piece of paper to prove /support the knowledge that I already possessed. I never really thought I would be learning new concepts (not to say I did not learn anything from the program) at least as security goes.

    Perhaps you might try Dakota State or if you can afford it Capitol-College. Can you tell us what you thought you would be learning? You have a lot of experience which tells me you were really in the same boat as I was.

    My personal recommendation (I am doing this as well) is that you stick it out and then pursue a doctoral degree as you will be able to explore new concepts/research topics.
  • Luis103Luis103 Posts: 24Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I'm the opposite, I'm applying there next year just to check the Box for my 4 year degree

    I've learned more through actual work and my own studying then I ever did through any of the colleges I've gone to..

    I agree with others just finish the course work, get your degree and move on..
  • MSP-ITMSP-IT Posts: 752Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I had the same issue with a course mentor and was assigned a new one within 48 hours when I raised my concerns. The school really does want you to succeed.
  • ChitownjediChitownjedi Chasing down my dreams. Posts: 577Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    cyberguypr wrote: »
    Well, I'm 50% through the MSISA and am contemplating withdrawing. I had my reservations about the whole mentor thing but had no idea I would be so annoyed by it. My mentor is a good person, but I just can't deal with the cookie cutter same BS lines every week. "You are great, you are making great progress, hoorah". What the hell? Other than the cheering her input adds zero value. The calls are just minutes of my life I'm never getting back.

    This seems very nitpicky and shallow. I do not believe if you are or will withdraw ultimately, that this should have any factor at all. It is totally possible you have your $%* together a lot better than most people, so the fact that it's not helping you as much could just be a testament to your maturity/experience/wisdom, and not a reflection on the level of "value" the mentor brings to the table. If you want more meaningful engagement from your mentor look at this as an opportunity to provide critical and constructive feedback. Take notes on the process and procedure and possibly ask to submit to a group that works on fine tuning the mentor program so that it can become better and more positively assist people who may think the same way as you. I believe this is a two way relationship and you have an obligation to speak up about the effectiveness of it if you are not satisfied with the interactions.
    cyberguypr wrote: »
    Then there's the material. After 15 CUs I can categorically said I have learned ZERO. Given the few easy courses left and the capstone there's definitely not much for me to learn there. Going into the program my sole goal was to check off a box in my bucket list but at least I expected to gain some knowledge and somewhat grow as a professional. That is definitely not going to happen.

    I am looking at your listed certifications and assuming that your industry and professional experience probably would inherently put you in a position to have to "learn" less than someone just starting out. Again, I think you may be under rating your skill-set/knowledge/experience to the point that you believe that you are wasting your time because you are not being challenged significantly. That may speak more to your accomplishments, experience and skills then it does the program. However, I am sure the difficulty of the program can be ratcheted up, however, it probably will still come easier to people with lots of experience and exposure to the topics that are covered by the program. Everyone doesn't grow in the way they expect to when faced with an obstacle. Maybe this challenge is put before you to grow your perseverance...maybe it's put in front of you to define your tolerance for ineffective situations and how long you can participate before needing to do what you feel is best. Either way you are learning a lot... about yourself more than anything. Which matters a WHOLE LOT.

    cyberguypr wrote: »
    Then there's course mentors giving bad/incorrect advice, overly vague rubric, Taskstream feedback being awful, cohorts once per month on weird times (what's so hard about recording ALL of them?), and others. Don't even get me started on the EC Council certs.

    I suggest listing out the issues you have and provide constructive criticism and solutions to make the product and services better. If no one does this then the next "cyberguy" that goes through may have the same grips and end up in the same frustrated situation, if you try to assist then you can at least know you tried to help build the degree and school to be better (obviously you enrolled in it because you had faith in the product, so providing insight on flaws and things that can use improvement will just help better it.)
    cyberguypr wrote: »
    The dilemma for me right now is that I can be doing so much more productive and career-enhancing things with the time I dedicate to WGU. Decision now is, do I suck it up and power through it? If anyone withdrew I would like to hear your story.

    If the degree is not challenging you, maybe you can assist again in other ways. Use this as a way to improve your ability to corroborate with organizations and 3rd parties on improving their services and continual service improvement. If not, at the least you should power through. 50% in? I am sure you will be done with it soon enough and you will learn a lot from the experience, maybe not in the way you expected. Maybe dealing with something that you did not meet or exceed your expectations, and being able to find enough in it to use to your advantage? Honestly if you want to withdraw you should. I don't think these reasons are valid though. I think if you want to withdraw then you should be able to say "F^%&$" this, I'm not feeling it. Goodbye." Your choice, your decision. But the commitment you've already went through, and time you already invested will be even more wasted if someone that appears to be as intelligent as yourself allows minor imperfections to drop the program when I'm sure you poured over the decision to enroll. It might not be what you expected. Making the best of it and growing from it will be your choice.


    Not meaning to come off as being insensitive or negative so hopefully you don't take it that way. I just know from experience I've left situations that didn't meet my every single need, and realize that sometimes my sense of pride didn't always allow me to take full advantage of my opportunities. I've never regretted my decisions. I only wish I saw the positive out of them more when i was a part of them versus realizing years later what I had a chance to do if I wasn't blinded by wanting to get ASAP.
  • TybTyb Posts: 207Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    What I have seen from the mentor system is they are there to keep you on track and motivated. If you don't need your hand held, there isn't really much for them to do but tell you that you're doing well. My mentor and I usually only talked every two weeks with me contacting him if I needed anything, I really never talked to a course mentor except on tech writing and the capstone for some feedback.
    WGU BS:IT Security (March 2015)
    WGU MS:ISA (February 2016 )
  • ShdwmageShdwmage Posts: 374Member
    I'm in the middle of my first term. The weekly phone calls are annoying, but I deal with them. If you have a problem with your mentor like I did just ask for a new one. If you don't have a problem with them personally, just say its a personality conflict. I really like my new mentor. She actually remembers stuff from week to week.
    --
    “Hey! Listen!” ~ Navi
    2013: [x] MCTS 70-680
    2014: [x] 22-801 [x] 22-802 [x] CIW Web Foundation Associate
    2015 Goals: [] 70-410
  • NersesianNersesian Posts: 96Users Awaiting Email Confirmation ■■□□□□□□□□
    Would it be in poor taste if I wanted you to drop so I would have less competition in 18 months?

    /only halfway kidding.

    Isn't 50% of school proving you can put up with bureaucratic BS?
  • CyberscumCyberscum Posts: 784Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Great, I just enrolled in the MS:ISA program and all of these issues were concerns of mine going into this...icon_silent.gif
  • edicwhunedicwhun Posts: 20Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    If you don't mind saying, may I ask who your mentor is? She sounds a lot like mine, heh.
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Posts: 2,795Mod Mod
    Curious if your mentor's first name starts with an M. I do find the mentor calls pointless but as was mentioned by Tyb is that they are more there to keep you on track and answer any questions on the whole of the program itself. Also as you said, you entered the MSISA as a way to tick a checkbox. Suck it up and knock out the rest of the course so you can check that box on your resume. I too look at the MSISA as a checkbox so I can look past some of the annoyances that I have. And with your level of experience, knowledge and certs, it shouldn't be surprising that you aren't learning much.
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, eJPT, GCIA, GSEC, CCSP, CCSK, AWS CSAA, AWS CCP, CEHv8, CHFIv8, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
    Currently Working On: Python, OSCP Prep
    Next Up:​ OSCP
    Studying:​ Code Academy (Python), Bash Scripting, Virtual Hacking Lab Coursework
  • GAngelGAngel Posts: 708Member
    I'm in the ITM with a similar experience but you just have to push through and finish faster. Taskstream at this level needs work for sure but overall it's not that bad.
  • mataimatai Posts: 232Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I can completely relate with the OP, I'm only in the BS-Security program, but my mentor drives my nuts. Just a waste of time and not helpful at all. I just hold it in now and fill out the surveys they send me accordingly. They've threatened to drop me a few times because I've missed calls, always pissed me off. They say it's required for "attendance" or something.

    Now I just have the call, giver her some BS, she knows nothing about the program so I let her blab on, then I hang up and do what I want. I'm almost done and will continue on to the MS program and I guess I'll have the same expectations.

    I don't think it's worth quitting over, that'd only hurt yourself. I wish there was a better alternative, at least for me I don't think there is.
    Current: ​CISM, CISA, CISSP, SSCP, GCIH, GCWN, C|EH, VCP5-DCV, VCP5-DT, CCNA Sec, CCNA R&S, CCENT, NPP, CASP, CSA+, Security+, Linux+, Network+, Project+, A+, ITIL v3 F, MCSA Server 2012 (70-410, 70-411, 74-409), 98-349, 98-361, 1D0-610, 1D0-541, 1D0-520
    In Progress: ​Not sure...
  • NotHackingYouNotHackingYou Posts: 1,460Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    What ChiTownJedi said, x2. Suck it up and finish. That being said, it makes perfect sense that you would be annoyed with the situation - but I still think you should finish.

    FWIW, I'm also a WGU student. My mentor let me switch to bi-weekly calls and they really aren't an issue. She calls on time, we chat for about 5 minutes and that's it.
    When you go the extra mile, there's no traffic.
  • joehalford01joehalford01 Posts: 364Member
    I just finished a BS at WGU and the one thing I hated was the mentor calls. Totally useless! We finally switched to every two weeks and towards the end I told her not to call me for a couple months because I only had the capstone left and would get it done. As soon as I graduated I emailed her and she sent me my application for graduation, never heard from her again. Just grit your teeth and bs them on the phone.
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Posts: 2,255Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    matai wrote: »
    I can completely relate with the OP, I'm only in the BS-Security program, but my mentor drives my nuts. Just a waste of time and not helpful at all. I just hold it in now and fill out the surveys they send me accordingly. They've threatened to drop me a few times because I've missed calls, always pissed me off. They say it's required for "attendance" or something.

    Just ask for a new mentor, I don't know why people deal with things like this and get so annoyed over it. If you're missing your calls, that's on you, if you schedule a call then make the call. If you can't, then just let them know, its just common courtesy. I went through the Security program too, my mentor wasn't much help, and it didn't matter because I didn't need him motivating me. After a bit my calls took under 3 minutes, no one is unable to make a few minutes a week. If they are asking you to do silly things, just get a new mentor and move on.
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 MCSA: Server 2012, MCITP: EDA KCPosts: 889Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Since you are half way through your program, I'd have to recommend that you definitely stick it out. You are at the halfway point and once you are done, you don't have to deal with it any longer. And as others have said, ask for a new mentor. Don't say anything bad about them, just say that your personalities don't mesh well.
  • auxiliarypriestauxiliarypriest Posts: 59Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Current BS WGU student here. I've talked to a lot of WGU students especially regarding mentors and I am always on the polar opposite. My mentor is pretty great and tries really hard to provide me with information I can't get through the course materials. But who knows, I could have just won the mentor lottery.

    Now about the MSISA - I really wanted to continue with my MS through WGU because it has really worked for me so far and the price is great, but I am just afraid that I'll only come out with knowledge I could have easily learned from a $50 book. I really want to go to the next level with my education, really challenge myself, but hearing the reviews of the MSISA program on this site further cements my decision to go elsewhere.
    2016 Goals: [X] CEH [ ] CHFI [ ] RHCSA [ ] MSISA
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  • GreaterNinjaGreaterNinja Posts: 271Member
    I am in Term 1 of the WGU MSIA Program. Weekly phone calls do seem like they can be annoying after a while. However, I have also learned that for Online Schools to be regionally accredited, the school must follow these guidelines to receive a pass on auditing. This helps me understand why we must put up with this annoyance...so I am less annoyed haha. Anyway, what do you guys think of the MSIA, am I just wasting my time or is the MSIA + CEH + CHFI a good thing to get out of it?
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Posts: 1,758Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    It would be nice to see some statistics on college participation.

    Specifically how students currently in school value there degree and how that changes 5 and 10 years later.

    I suggest you finish what you started since getting started is actually the hardest part of earning a degree for most people.
  • markulousmarkulous Posts: 2,389Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    If you want to vent, I get it, but I wouldn't honestly consider quitting. It being easy or dealing with that mentor isn't really a reason to quit. Your goal here was to get a Bachelor's.

    I'm enrolled in WGU so I know some of the things your saying. Your mentor is just there to help keep you moving through your coursework and help you with any WGU issues (getting vouchers, getting all the training materials, etc). Not everyone can keep up that motivation for self-study, so that's their value right there. Making a call every other week for a few minutes isn't really a big deal.

    Maybe you're stressed with something else as everything you've really said wouldn't make me consider quitting.
  • BGravesBGraves Posts: 339Member
    @cyberguypr -
    Hey, haven't been around for a while but stopped in today and saw this post. icon_cheers.gif
    I'm 3/4's of the way done with my MSISA and can honestly say that everything you mention is a pain point for me as well.

    I was able to alleviate some annoyances by:
    Switching to bi-weekly calls(which last two minutes and if they go longer I politely make an excuse and end the call). My time is important and honestly, you're not telling me anything I don't already know or can find out.

    Submitting a weekly worksheet when I feel is appropriate.

    Submitting work half finished so it can get graded by the vague rubric/graders so I know exactly what I need to submit to be approved. (Honestly, it's faster and better than working myself to death and getting it returned because it wasn't what they were looking for.)

    Overall, can't blame you for feeling the pain because I do too. I've tried to cope and hey, it's not always easy when you're working full time, pursuing your own certs/learning and doing the MSISA. Rant a little but get back to work and get it done. I don't think you'll look back and feel you wasted time earning something that will last a lifetime.
  • techfiendtechfiend Posts: 1,481Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Have you tried telling your mentor that you'll keep pace without needing to be motivated? I read someone doing this in the big WGU thread and it worked out for them. It seems to be a common complaint.

    You learned nothing from the cert tests? I probably would have learned more IT related things taking A+ then I did with my AS at B&M. Certs and self study are what really attracted me to WGU.
    2018 AWS Solutions Architect - Associate (Apr) 2017 VCAP6-DCV Deploy (Oct) 2016 Storage+ (Jan)
    2015 Start WGU (Feb) Net+ (Feb) Sec+ (Mar) Project+ (Apr) Other WGU (Jun) CCENT (Jul) CCNA (Aug) CCNA Security (Aug) MCP 2012 (Sep) MCSA 2012 (Oct) Linux+ (Nov) Capstone/BS (Nov) VCP6-DCV (Dec) ITILF (Dec)
  • NersesianNersesian Posts: 96Users Awaiting Email Confirmation ■■□□□□□□□□
    - I am just afraid that I'll only come out with knowledge I could have easily learned from a $50 book. I really want to go to the next level with my education, really challenge myself, but hearing the reviews of the MSISA program on this site further cements my decision to go elsewhere.

    @auxiliarypriest

    I don't believe you can achieve the CEH, CHFI, an MS degree and prep for the CISSP from a $50 book. If you can, please point me in the right direction and save us all some cash.
  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Posts: 879Member
    One thing that getting a degree signals is that you can just sit down and do the work even if it's really boring. You could say that it's a feature, not a bug, that you find this program subpar. The less interesting it is, the better actually, because it means that more people are dropping out and you'll have less competition. Cynical? Perhaps, but you said it yourself that you only wanted to check a box, and considering that goal, you should look favorably on the fact that your degree will be less common than if no one dropped out.
  • slatkinslatkin Posts: 23Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I must've lucked out on the mentor thing, mine rocks. Yea, the weekly phone calls can be tedious, and I set mine up to be done during lunch at work so if I took a late lunch we had to reschedule but whatever.

    Most of the time it is just a chat about where I'm at and what my goals are. On my 2nd term after a 1 month term break, I have 9 classes to go. My mentor on her own was informing me about which order to take my Database classes, since one will be enough for credit on the 2nd one (CJV1 > CVV1) to give me 1 less class to take. Not sure why they even have 2 Database classes when you only need to take 1, but whatever.

    Overall I'm pretty happy with WGU and cannot wait to be finished. Even if I haven't actually learned and retained as much as I thought I would going into it, its allowed me to prove to myself I can sit down and focus over long periods of time to accomplish a goal if I set my mind to it, more than just studying for a cert and scheduling when I'm ready.
  • CodyyCodyy Senior Member Posts: 223Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Guess I lucked out with my mentor, real cool guy that doesn't care to waste either of our time. Our calls usually last literally under a minute.
  • emerald_octaneemerald_octane Posts: 613Member
    interesting timing. i'm working on my last taskstream assignment, switching from WGU MSISA to a different MSIA program that my work wanted me to switch into, so 9 of my credits transferred into that. I could stick it out for another $3k but I don't have that ATM. I had two more classes to go, the capstone and some disaster recovery class but I still decided to withdraw since i'm enrolled in the other school already. I think my mentor was more upset than I was and it definitely stung a bit.

    I do not consider my time a waste at all. The certs were great and I learned alot. I'd have no hesitations to finish other than I just can't do two programs at once. The rigor, ok, it's alot different, but the education from wgu isn't bad in any way.
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,806Mod Mod
    Dang, that's a lot of feedback. Thanks a lot for the insightful answers.

    I want to clarify that I'm not saying that WGU, my mentor, or anything else (other than the stupid EC Council certs) suck. All I am saying is that it sucks for ME. I completely understand the need to establish some goals, provide guidance, fulfill accreditation requirements etc. I just wish they had an alternate system for people who don't need the hand holding.

    In regards to my mentor/cheerleader, I don't think she's bad (initials are SG). Honestly I can't pinpoint anything she could do better. I am sure I would be equally annoyed by any other mentor. The only thing that would be ideal in my book would be to see an alternative to the mentor concept. I am sure it's not going anywhere anytime soon and that's perfectly fine as it seems to work for a lot of peeps or they at least tolerate it. It just makes me miserable and nothing can change that. Again, it's me, not them.

    Da_vato suggested another better/more expensive masters program. That has always been my mid-term goal since day one. I will never go for a PhD but do want a better masters. Now that I am at a place with tuition reimbursement, I see this happening a few years down the road.

    I going to try another mentor and see what happens. Right now I'm 70% inclined to keep going.
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    Graduated from WGU with a MBA Strat Mgmt. The mentor literally harassed me, I finally said look call me once a month. I was never behind and the one time I struggled with a course, decision analysis he was all over me. ***Which is funny because that course and finance I learned a ton from.
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