Fast Train — Sallie Mae scam
This comes from my personal experience in the 12-month MIS program. If you are going to do this you should know that the program is set up in a way that makes it almost impossible to acquire all of the certifications. It is purely a course designed for those who either do not have to work, or for those who work part time. This is totally opposite of what I was told because they claim the program is designed for anyone who has to work regardless of your hours. You decide...You work full-time from 9 - 5, and then class is from 6 - 10. You only have the weekends to study, and you have to balance that between family and Church. Now on top of that, add to the mix that you only have three weeks to complete each of these massive technological, detail heavy courses. The courses consist of Intro to computers, A+, Network +, Microsoft XP, MANY Microsoft Server 2003 courses, Security+, Wireless, CISCO, etc. The books from each course ranged between 436 – 916 pages, and came with CD ROMS of information. Needless to say that none of the courses ever completed the books. We were told that since the books are ours we will always have them as reference. Now this is not to put the school down. This is to help anyone who is considering this course to make an educated decision. I graduated, and passed these courses because some of my classmates and I got together and decided we were not going to allow this to defeat us. I have 100’s of hours worth of study material, practice exams, lab simulations, etc., and that is how we got the most out of this. However, you should understand that all of the material I have was not provided by the school. I had to acquire them myself. So please do not misunderstand. This is a great program in the sense that it will expose you to a lot of material that you will need if you plan to go further. You must, however, figure out how to navigate through the mess that they lay out in front of you. The “time frame per course” is a ridiculous joke. You must be very strong and maintain that strength.
I never attended the intro to computers class. I told them I was already familiar with computers, they gave me a test, and I passed it.
When you get to the A+ course they tell you that you will learn how to dismantle, a computer and put it back together. Unfortunately the instructor apparently never knew this because every time we asked a technical question he stated, "Google it"! He even went as far as to tell us that he is not here to hold anyone's hand. Most of it consisted of him breezing through 6 - 12 pages per day, and telling us to study for the quiz. Nothing was really taught in class. We had to take it upon ourselves to dismantle some of the computers, and put them back together. The second half of A+ was much better. A new instructor who understood how to impart knowledge to others took over. He actually had to go back over the first half, then his own half. He prepared us for the certification, and three of us passed the certification exam a week after the A+ portion ended.
The Network+ course is where things begin to get heavy. This is a very detail oriented course. There are a lot of things in here that would have been easier to follow if the labs were actually in working condition. (more about that later) We were able to get through it, but only because the instructor had to bring his own material which was outside of the course curriculum. We did appreciate it though because his material actually helped us through, and it made it easier for us to understand the course material. Two of us passed the N+ shortly thereafter.
Microsoft XP and Server 2003:
Microsoft XP, and all of the Server 2003 marked the beginning of the decline. As techs know, and will tell you the best way to understand active directory, and all of the permissions in these programs is to actually do it hands on. From the first week I had to reinstall the OS, (Operating System) almost every day that I was in the 270, (XP), and 290 (Server 2003 Management) courses. As the courses went along we discovered that their entire network is infested with viruses, and malware/spyware. When I questioned how a school with an IT program cannot eradicate these infestations I never got a straight answer. Instead, I had to use one of my flash drives ONLY for the school. Now with these courses the wealth of information is so massive that it was not possible to “appropriately” prepare in 1 ½ weeks for the mid terms, and then 1 ½ weeks for the finals. We retained the same instructor, but he also stated that the school needs to rework the program to allow for appropriate time to retain all of the information. At one point we had a meeting The Security+ was pretty simple, and was very informative. You will realize that all of the Microsoft courses are tied together, and knowing one will help you in the other. For example; if you get a grasp of active directory it carries over into all of the MS courses. The major issue with the MS courses is the fact that we had no labs due to the equipment being faulty the entire time. No matter how often we complained, the school did nothing to rectify the situation. Once again the instructor had to find other ways to teach the lessons, and bring in materials from his own training and office.
Wireless is the simplest course. Some of you will no doubt find familiarity with many of the technologies just from what we are exposed to everyday. The instructor was good, and he gave us class projects to make certain the lessons sank in. We were not able to have any labs due to the equipment being faulty.
Cisco is what I called the “big dog” course. This was broken into two segments. This course is immensely detailed, and 6 weeks was nowhere near enough time to begin understanding the tremendous weight of Cisco. We did class projects, and a lot of interaction, but the main problem was that none of the Cisco equipment was operational. The instructor had to bring in software from when he attended a Cisco University in the Caribbean. That is a damn shame because that proves the school did not prepare us at all for Cisco. This instructor was excellent. He even had jobs outside of school that we could go on to utilize the skills in the real world.
Job Assistance Program:
This is non-existent. The commercials are flat out lies. They claim to have a job assistance program, but this is not the case. Consistently over 80% of the jobs listed on the board were for things not even taught at the school. Other than that the few I did see for the IT field were for people with extensive experience. This kind of makes it impossible for a student to get one of these jobs don’t you think? They called me ONCE for a job after I completed the year long course, but that never came through.
All in all this school can be better. If they would repair the labs, and actually have equipment that would function so the students can receive the hands-on they were promised it would not be so bad. The fact is the system is set up like one big deceptive trap. They deceive you in the interview telling you about the wonderful programs, and promising job assistance, but fail to tell you there will be ZERO labs the entire year because they are all defective. The amount of viruses/spyware in the school network is reminiscent of the black plague. I do not understand how a school with an IT program has an endless issue with viruses. We complained, we wrote letters, and they did nothing. Once towards the end one of the directors came to the school telling us he understands we have issues. Well aside from ignoring the students concerns, he did very little to change anything. Funny enough we were told constantly throughout the year that we should really try to visit the Kendall campus because they have state of the art labs, and have all brand new computers. Apparently our money was helping fund the Kendall campus. This is not worth the $17, 000 they charge each student. We receive no hands-on unless we go out and do it ourselves. They did not even make an attempt to repair any of the labs, and they took accepted no responsibility for misleading, and deceptive practices to lure students into complete and utter nonsense. Just to give you an idea; some of the computers still had the Windows 98, and Windows 2000 labels on them. This was in 2007 people. Those programs are outdated, and obsolete so what did they do? They tried to install Windows XP on those systems. Ask anyone who has done the same, and they will tell you that it runs slow, and seems to either freeze or have a lot of errors. The humorous thing is that in the MS courses the books tell you the minimum requirements for Windows XP, and a lot of the equipment didn’t even meet those requirements.