Military Learning
March 1, 2011 10:29 PM   Subscribe

Finding a military-friendly college?

First off - I don't want to go to a "military college."

I want a college that is friendly with the military, particularly the Navy, in that it's cool with me taking anything from one to three classes at any one time/semester.....or possibly no classes at all, if need be due to money/schedule/deployment.

I need to be able to take most of my classes online....but is it possible to have an online class with text books that are recommended? How does that work?

The college also should be cool with accepting possibly a full 2+ semesters worth of classes, including those I completed through my A school/ bootcamp.

As a reference - I was recommended University of Phoenix and University of Maryland University College....but I keep reading reviews that both aren't that great. In fact, one was reviewed as stupidly pricey, and the other as ridiculously difficult with administration. I -can not- choose a college that decides to do something like decide to drop me when I have to go out to sea for a few months and therefore can't take classes, or that decides to hold back a bill that it forces me to pay later.....I can't afford stupidity when I might be halfway around the world and therefore can't "show face" to strong-arm Admin or the Finance Department.

And, just to push my luck, I'm looking for colleges with hopefully decent enough professors.......

As a side note, I'm rather interested in a Psych / Sociology / Human Sciences type degree.

So, any reviews of colleges you've had experience with?
posted by DisreputableDog to Education (11 answers total)

I know about this because the college where I am currently attending classes is very proud that it consistently ranks in the top 15%. There are a ton of soldiers and airmen here, and the school seems pretty flexible and supportive.
posted by charmcityblues at 10:47 PM on March 1, 2011

I work at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and we have lots of students who have been or are currently in the military (there's an army base in town, and classes are offered there as well as at the university campus). I suppose there are lots of campuses like this, but hey, Alaska is cool. Lots of students at UAF transfer a significant number of courses taken at a variety of places.
posted by leahwrenn at 12:01 AM on March 2, 2011

Im guessing that youre on active duty and trying to get ahead... I symphatise-I 'm working my masters on Troy University while living in Okinawa in the Navy. NROTC, STA21, are also programs, If you talk to Navy College (especially if you're using TA) they will have good info, along with your career counselor. OU, Norwhich, and many other schools have programs designed for the military student. PM me if you have other questions.
posted by aggienfo at 2:45 AM on March 2, 2011

Well you ask for reviews of colleges we've had experience with, so...

I attend Ashford University online, which caters to military students in your position. I am a sociology/psychology double major actually, which is what you said you're interested in. Many of my classmates are active duty military and quite a few are deployed overseas. Sometimes they are gone for months at a time and I have a good friend who also attends Ashford and has had to repeatedly leave and come back (for health reasons). The process is streamlined. The only issue would be probably if you rely on federal financial aid, because in order to receive certain grants you have to be enrolled full-time. But that would be an issue in any program.

I transferred in a lot of credits when I came and I have had absolutely no problems with that. I have to buy my textbooks just like any other college student. Many of Ashford's textbooks are available as e-books, but I would recommend shopping around no matter what school you go to. I also like the feeling of having physical textbooks, so I usually buy cheap or rent. The point is this is the same as any other college.

As far as academics, well that was a huge concern for me. But the texts I use are frequently the same ones used by students at other universities, and many times the instructors incorporate other things such as videos. I have had the opportunity to be really proud of my work which is one thing I wanted to get out of the experience. I have also been frequently impressed with the group discussions and input of my classmates. Online students are typically older, often have established careers (i.e. military), and families.

Well that's about Ashford, but there are definitely other choices. I would highly recommend the forums at degreeinfo. Those people know everything about online degrees.
posted by Danila at 3:04 AM on March 2, 2011

Do not, under any circumstances, go with the University of Phoenix. It isn't actually a scam, but it is a diploma mill and something of a joke in academic circles.

You're really looking for a school with a NROTC program. Notre Dame has a great one.
posted by valkyryn at 5:10 AM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

Find a university with a major naval base nearby, like UC San Diego. They'll better be able to cater to the needs of military students. I don't know any off hand, but if you find a small town state college with a naval base, that's even better. An extremely large percentage of the population would be navy, so the university would really know how to handle naval students well.

I recommend state schools both because the quality is reasonably reliable, and (for various reasons) they're more likely to have military students than private schools.

Private schools are ok. Definitely do not enroll in any for-profit schools like the University of Phoenix. Those are all scams. We can't stress that enough. If you don't know the difference between private and for-profit, then it's time to do some reading.
posted by yeolcoatl at 5:30 AM on March 2, 2011

If you are looking for NROTC and can get in, Notre Dame is about as kick-ass as you can get. I think they graduate more Naval officers than anywhere but Annapolis. However, while they do allow sabbaticals at Notre Dame and have no problem with part-time students, you won't find many online courses, they don't take a ton of transfer credits in most cases, and the campus is geared towards full-time, in-residence, traditional students.

However. If you want to take a "sabbatical" from the Navy and come out the other end with a traditional college degree from a top school and an officer's commission from an extremely Navy-friendly campus AND a top university, for very little money because NROTC pays, Notre Dame is the place for you.

If you want to be part-time and online while continuing your Navy career, you might look at state university systems, especially Directional State Us which have gone in more for online classes than Flagship State Us tend to have. Community Colleges, as well, have a great many online offerings and part-time and intermittent attendance is normal. Per credit hour costs will be much lower at State Us and CCs AND the CC I teach at has an Office of Military Student Affairs or something like that and they come down LIKE THE WRATH OF GOD when the systems screws with active duty, reserve, or veteran military members. You don't get delayed bills or penalized for deployments because there's an entire office dedicated to ensuring that all laws related to military students are followed and that their special needs are respected. They're fast, they're efficient, and they're a tiny bit scary.

Also, many (most?) of our military students (active, reserve, and vet) attend free or partly free because of military benefits. I don't know that much about how they work, but I know they completely cover our per-credit-hour cost in most cases and they get free books too. So definitely look at state universities and CCs (from where you can generally transfer credits to the state U with little difficulty) ... they're cheaper, and much more respected than University of Phoenix, and may have special programs for military students.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:49 AM on March 2, 2011

Fayetteville State University
posted by JesseBikman at 6:07 AM on March 2, 2011

Fayetteville State and Methodist University are located in Fayetteville, NC, adjacent to Ft. Bragg, and both schools make a strong effort to be military friendly.
posted by reverend cuttle at 6:39 AM on March 2, 2011

You may want to look at Texas A&M University? We have the Corps of Cadets and what not, though I don't know how well this would translate over into what you're looking for specifically. But if any administration is going to be sympathetic, I would imagine we'd have to rank pretty well.
posted by SollosQ at 9:26 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

The University of Phoenix is not a diploma mill. It is pricey and it does have a bad reputation in terms of academics (which may be unfair) and their marketing tactics (totally fair). It used to be one of few options for distance learners but that's no longer true.

Most for-profit schools are not diploma mills either. You are receiving some bad information here.

You want a school that is comfortable with their online programs and recognizes the needs of students like you.
posted by Danila at 1:25 PM on March 2, 2011

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