Are You WGU? The WGU Experience

Your WGU Student Experience

At WGU, the student experience is designed to meet your needs—so you won’t have to choose between work, family, and school.

How You’ll Complete Your Degree

Some aspects of your WGU student experience will be quite similar to what you’d expect at any college. You’ll study, write papers, complete projects, and take tests. You’ll interact occasionally with your fellow students and more frequently with faculty (although at a distance rather than in a classroom). Other aspects, such as the way you decide when and where to study, are quite different.

You'll Focus on Demonstrating Competence (Not Class Attendance)

We don’t ask you to spend time in class; we ask you to develop competence—proof that you understand concepts and can translate this understanding into usable knowledge and skills.

There are many advantages to this approach. Here are a couple:

  • You'll schedule your own study time. You decide when and where you complete your schoolwork. It could be after work. After the kids are put to bed. On a quiet Sunday afternoon. There are no scheduled class times, no lectures to log in to, no grades based on attendance.
  • You and your faculty members choose the learning resources you need. How you develop competence is up to you. It could be an online study group, an online learning community, textbooks, or other resources. You have the guidance of a Program Mentor to set your path to success; the steps you take are your decision.

You’ll Take and Pass Assessments

Often, we find that adult students like you have already developed many of the competencies needed for degree completion. So instead of making you attend classes and relearn what you already know, we ask you to prove your knowledge through assessments. Here are some examples of assessments from various programs:

  • Assignments involving problem-solving (e.g., science, information technology, etc.)
  • Computerized exams consisting of multiple-choice, matching, or other question types (e.g., mathematics)
  • Projects requiring the student to design a lesson plan (e.g., teaching)
  • Essays reflecting on case studies (e.g., MBA)
  • Research papers on particular topics within the field

How Our Competency-Based Approach Works for You

Success in your career is based on what you know and what you can do. With WGU’s competency-based approach to education, success in your degree program will be similar.

As a student, you will demonstrate your mastery of the necessary competencies by completing challenging assessments. An assessment may be a traditional test, a project, an essay, or another practical demonstration of a required skill.

You won’t just be competent in your field; you’ll also be a well-rounded, capable communicator and problem-solver prepared to take on life’s challenges.

Your Experience Can Help You Accelerate

Our approach allows you to leverage the skills and knowledge you’ve already acquired through job experience and prior college to your benefit. Since we don’t ask you to attend class but instead require completion of challenging assessments, as soon as you feel ready, you’ll be able to do just that.

The faster you can complete your assessments, the faster you’ll graduate. And since you pay tuition per term instead of per credit, the less time it takes you to graduate, the more money you’ll save.

What You Learn Is Relevant to Your Career

WGU provides you with an education that’s based on real-world competencies—the skills and knowledge you’ll need to be successful in your career. Each degree program is developed by a council of experts in the field who help define the competencies that form the curriculum. This combination of expertise in both industry knowledge and academia guarantees that your degree will be relevant in your chosen field.

Your Personal Mentor

As soon as you become a WGU student, you will be assigned a Program Mentor who will be your partner throughout your education. Your mentor will serve as your academic advisor, your coach, and a supporter who helps guide you to your ultimate success.

As your primary point of contact, your Program Mentor will work with you throughout the duration of your program. You will interact closely with your mentor on a regular basis via phone, email, and web conferencing.

Together, you will develop a personalized Degree Plan that’s consistent with your goals, your academic background and career experience, your comfort with independent learning, and the amount of time you will commit to your studies. Your mentor will also ensure that you stay on track, determine when you are ready for the required assessments, and help you schedule them accordingly. Learn more about WGU’s faculty.

Your Personal Degree Plan

Your Degree Plan serves as your blueprint for completion of your degree program requirements. You will develop your Degree Plan in close coordination with your Program Mentor.

How Your Degree Plan Works

For your program, the essential skills and knowledge a highly competent graduate needs to possess for career success have been carefully identified and selected.

Your Degree Plan "maps out" the learning resources and assessments you need in your program based on the skills you already have and those you need to develop.

Your Degree Plan details all of your program requirements, including:

  • Requirements waived by courses you transferred into your program
  • Courses you’ve already passed, and courses you still need to complete
  • Details of your term (the amount of time you have to complete a required number of assessments)
  • Assessment type, status, and associated learning resources
  • Required completion dates (deadlines you set within proper guidelines for completing assessments)

Your mentor will work with you closely on establishing a plan that works around your busy schedule.

Your Learning Resources

As a WGU student, you’ll use a variety of learning resources to acquire the skills and knowledge you need to complete your assessments. These learning resources come in a variety of forms, including:

  • Electronic textbooks
  • Web-based tutorials
  • Simulations
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Student learning communities and discussion forums

The majority of these learning resources are included in a flat learning resource fee.

Connecting with Other WGU Students

Even though you are at a distance, at WGU we make sure you always feel supported and connected. There is nothing else like our mentoring program in all of higher education, and you will appreciate how connected and important WGU mentors make you feel. Plus, you’ll be able to interact with other WGU students and become part of an online community in your specific area of study.

Online Student Portal and Communities

As a WGU student, you'll have access to the student portal, which will be a gateway to student communities designed to give you the communication and connectivity you need to be successful in your degree program. These communities offer you support and the opportunity to interact with mentors and other students. They give you the chance to bounce ideas off others going through the same course you’re going through. Share insights, ask questions, seek guidance and solicit support. Cheer each other on. Learn together. Every course has a learning community dedicated to one thing: you passing that course successfully.

Social Networks

WGU is on all the major social networks. We have public and private communities that let you like, follow, favorite, pin, link, and post to your heart’s content. The social scene is active, and you’re invited!

Support from the University

When you enroll at WGU, you become so much more than a student. You become part of a community of students, faculty, mentors, and staff all united under one common goal: your success.


We won’t leave you on your own to figure out what resources are available to you. You’ll have a dedicated partner in your education: a Program Mentor committed to connecting you with what you need to succeed. There is nothing else like our mentoring program in all of higher education.

Student Support Center

If you find yourself having any issues that can’t be resolved by your mentor, WGU’s Student Support Center is there to help you. You’ll find you always have an advocate for your success throughout the duration of your degree program. Learn more

IT Help Desk

WGU’s IT Help Desk is available to help you resolve any technology problems you come across as you complete the requirements for assessments. The Help Desk is open morning, noon, and night (weekends, too). Learn more

WGU Student Assistance Program

WGU has partnered with Student Resource Services to provide WellConnect, a free, voluntary, and confidential service that offers counseling and support services to students. WellConnect provides support with a live clinician by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Learn more

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