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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pros and Cons of Schools/Programs

Spent a fair amount of time yesterday researching AIHT (see Going Back To School) and looking online at other programs and options. As I compare and contrast, I'll place my own personal pros and cons about what I find on this "ongoing" post. Check back if you're interested in what I find out about other schools and programs.

A woman, turns out to be a "faculty" member, answered the phone when I called AIHT. She told me that I'd need to talk with my "admissions adviser," who was in a meeting at the time and would call me back. When she called that afternoon I found out that the original woman who answered the phone was the instructor for the Parapsychic Science program I was interested in...the ONLY instructor for ALL the classes offered in that particular program. A big red flag went up in front of my eyes when I heard that.

My own personal pros for AIHT:
  • Beautiful hard-copy (paperback) catalog; aesthetic, purple, textured cover with lovely pics throughout; impressive-looking
  • Interesting class titles offered in 5 exciting disciplines
  • Interesting class titles offered in Parapsychic Science (the program that caught my eye)
  • Overall cost for a Master's degree and/or PhD seems low compared to other programs I've seen advertised online and elsewhere
  • Reasonable payment plan options
  • Books are included in tuition fee
  • Ability to work from home at own pace

My own personal cons for AIHT :
  • There is just ONE instructor for ALL the classes in my chosen discipline. Geez, what if we don't get along? What if we saw things differently? The adviser assured me this never happened. That answer itself posed problems for me.
  • The adviser kindly e-mailed a few syllabi to me when I requested to see them. The books that would be sent for the given class were listed in each syllabus. What was expected to be learned from these books was generally included. The expectations didn't seem challenging enough for me. The learning was to come primarily (read: only!) from the books the school chose. No handouts were discussed. No CD's nor DVD's. No teleclasses. No least not teaching the way I understand teaching...from the instructor.
  • I copy and pasted the 3-4 books for each of the classes (the adviser e-mailed me, as examples, 3 Master's class syllabi and 3 PhD class syllabi) to see what each class offerings separately cost on Amazon. Generally, all the books for a said class could be had for $40 in or under in total. So, since there are about 10 courses (including an elective) in the entirety of the Master's degree for Parapsychic Science, the school is out conservatively $400 for the books (students pay the shipping)...and no doubt this figure is much less because they probably get a wholesale or educational deal on books. Which leads me to...what is the student paying for with the $4000 Master's degree tuition? Well, tests are given for each class and sometimes a project or paper is assigned, so the instructor would have to grade these. THAT'S PRETTY MUCH IT!! Well, that and the final piece of paper saying I have a Master's degree. Again, for the cost of $4000...which is sounding very expensive for what is being offered, the deeper I delve.
  • When I asked if I'd have contact with any other instructors at all, my adviser seemed vague but I gathered that the one-instructor-who-does-it-all is it. The adviser did say there was an online forum they provide so students can chat with each other. Hmmmm. I can find such forums without being in school.
The bottom line: I'll pass on AIHT and keep looking.

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