The Online University Shattering Stereotypes

Can students at an online, self-paced, nontraditional university be engaged by their school and challenged by their studies? Can they feel connected to faculty and emotionally attached to their alma mater? Will their degrees reflect hard work that’s respected by employers, earning them great jobs and helping them live great lives?

Can competency-based distance learning be as good as traditional education?

In a word: Yes.

NSSE Survey results

In two words, “overwhelmingly yes,” according to the data.

Not just “as good as.” More like: “significantly better,” in many cases.

If you’re a current WGU student or an alum, you already know that. You’ve probably even tried to explain it to incredulous family and friends, colleagues and coworkers.

If you’ve considered enrolling in WGU to complete that bachelor’s or master’s degree you’ve dreamed of for so long, it’s probably because you’ve heard rumblings of an innovative, nontraditional university that somehow manages to channel an outstanding, flexible learning experience into superior career and life results for graduates—all costing you less time and less money.

Well, those rumblings are true, and two recent studies help confirm them:

First, from to the Gallup-Purdue Index:

  • 79%: That’s the employment rate for WGU alumni who have graduated within the last five years—easily besting the national average of 66%.
  • Employee engagement: WGU graduates are more likely to be engaged employees—15% higher than the national average.
  • Well-rounded lives: WGU alumni are at least twice as likely as graduates of other institutions to be thriving in all five elements of well-being—purpose, social, financial, community, and physical.
  • School pride: WGU alumni are almost twice as likely to be emotionally attached to their university than alumni from other types of universities—proof that personal connections are possible in distance learning.
NSSE Survey results

Then, there’s the 2013 National Survey of Student Engagement, in which students rated WGU significantly higher than the national average on:

  • Quality of interactions with faculty: 9% higher
  • Challenging coursework: 14% higher
  • Hours spent studying each week: 14% higher
  • Quality of academic support: 9% higher
  • Acquisition of job-related knowledge and skills: 9% higher
  • Would attend the same institution again: 28% higher
  • Overall rating of entire educational experience: 19% higher

Are you a student? Do those numbers back up your experience? Let us know in the comments below.

Are you a prospective student, thinking about enrolling? What questions do you have? Drop by our Facebook page and ask current students and alumni whatever is on your mind, get in touch with an enrollment counselor today!

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