Online Degree Reviews Logo

Unbiased Online Degree Reviews Since 2006

Empire State College, State University of New York

3.1
95 Reviews
5 21 
4 33 
3 9 
2 9 
1 23 
0 0 

Empire State College, State University of New York Reviews:

B.A. CULTURAL STUDIES

BA in Arts - June 5, 2015
  • Materials:

  • Teachers:

  • Institution:

  • Support:

  • Value:

  • Use of Technology:

I completed my BA in Cultural studies in 2010. My overall experience was positive. I did have a couple of problems with individual professors, but that is the case with most schools. I was able to design my own courses to pursue my specific interests through independent study. Approximately 40% of my courses were online. I found the online work less challenging than the independent studies. It is important to realize that ESC is a school designed for the adult learner, they do not offer prescriptive programs and expect you to carefully research and plan out your degree to fulfill your needs within a fairly loose framework. I was so pleased with the school I am in the MALS program and my daughter is about to complete her BS in Management and Economics. Empire is not for everyone, but it is a great school for self motivated learners.

Was this review helpful?

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful

Ups and Downs

BA in Arts - January 23, 2015
  • Materials:

  • Teachers:

  • Institution:

  • Support:

  • Value:

  • Use of Technology:

Everybody has different ways and speeds of learning and this is a school that caters to that. I read on here and on other websites that people prefer the traditional college route and if cookie cutter works for you, more power to you. With that said, I was never really well off in grade school and I barely got by in high school. While I'm in my first semester here, I feel a whole lot different about the prospects - and actually see a degree in my future. How valuable an ESC degree is in the real world remains to be seen, but when you don't have one at all, it can't hurt to have it. Added to that, there was a comment on here about someone who was put off by how bad many of his peers were at math - this is one of the hardest subjects for many people and a reason why they never went off to college in the first place. ESC is trying to cater to those people and help them understand where their grade school teachers failed. I find the faculty quite pleasant, except at times I do get annoyed with them. You can't enter any of the buildings without the receptionist butting into your business - "can I help you???" they always ask, every time in their usual tone. In that way I always feel a bit unwelcome and annoyed that I'm expected to explain myself, every single time I arrive for a class, workshop or just to use the computer lab. A personal story related to a certain professor was that I had been e-mailing with her a bit before I registered and I was really excited by the communication I had with her and after I registered for the class she recommended for me, I never heard from her again. On the first day of class when we were all introducing ourselves, she seemed to have no idea who I was and then later on in the class she wanted to address me and asked me to repeat my name for her. This was the blow that made me realize just how many students these people go through every single week. Me, you, our peers - we're cattle and the key is to do the work the best you can because in the end, they're not looking to network with us. The most off-putting thing is the school's push for PLA and boy do they keep pushing it! It's a fight not to be brainwashed into going that route, but if you can get your credits through actual classes, then *new* knowledge is more valuable. Why does ESC need to confirm you know something anyway?

Was this review helpful?

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful

Mixed Experience - 2 semesters

BA in Arts - December 7, 2012
  • Materials:

  • Teachers:

  • Institution:

  • Support:

  • Value:

  • Use of Technology:

I've attended ESC for almost 2 semesters and I have mixed feelings. I was strongly recommended to take Degree Planning 1st semester and I quickly chose a concentration, just for the sake of choosing a concentration. I went through the work of comparing my chosen majors requirements at 3 colleges (an exercise I thought was really stupid. Why doesn't ESC simply have its major requirements in the catalog????) Anyway, so I chose a major - in something I have a "new" interest in. I never took any courses in it. 2nd semester I took an Intro course (in the Independent Study format - which means meet with a mentor once a month.) My mentor for this course is so apathetic. My assignment is to do a summary of each chapter (20) in a BORING text, then meet with her and talk a little about the boring chapters. Then I have to ask, how am I doing? She says "C-ish" I am bored out of my mind, but I did put in a lot of effort. Anyway, I told my primary mentor that I wanted to change my major and THEN he told me - I would have to take the DP course over again (which is SOOO boring) and pay a fee!!! At NO Time was I told this!!!! Yes, it's in the catalogue, but not PROMINENTLY written. Why couldn't my mentor VOLUNTEER this info right at the first??? Why don't they TELL you this info at Orientation?? I like my on-line course - the activities are good, text is EXCELLENT and the mentor is bright, interested in her students and provides interesting commentary. My other two courses were with the same mentor - good courses and she is good. From now on I will be taking all online courses - I feel less "lonely" doing that and less pressure as I can see other students do the work. Anyway, Degree Programming, what a shock!!! Never knew that my program was supposed to be "permanent"

Was this review helpful?

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful

BA in Communications

BA in Arts - November 20, 2012
  • Materials:

  • Teachers:

  • Institution:

  • Support:

  • Value:

  • Use of Technology:

I received a BA in Communications from Empire State College in 2009. I had previously done college coursework at two other institutions (University of Houston in Houston, TX and El Centro College in Dallas, TX). Since these are accredited schools and I received passing grades in my coursework there, I was able to transfer my credits to Empire State College. Empire State is geared towards adult learners, like me, who may have been away from school for a while and may also have applicable life/work learnings that can be used for college credit. I did not pursue the life/work learnings track but did find out about how this credit works. The key is the credit is for life "learning", not experience. You can work somewhere for 20 years and have lots of experience, but if you cannot articulate, through the examination process, key learnings from that experience then you don't get the college credit. For me, I had a substantial amount of college credits and actually wanted to complete the required coursework for my degree so I didn't take any of the life learnings exams. When I first enrolled, I was paired with a guidance counselor/course advisor named Dr. Nataly Tcherepashenets. I don't know about anyone else's experience with ESC guidance, but Dr.Tcherepashenets was excellent. In our initial conversations by phone, we discussed my educational and career goals and she helped me understand the degree requirements and how my previous coursework fit into my degree plan. Before each sememster, we discussed my progress and she was available to answer my questions. When it was time to work on my final essays, etc. to submit to the degree department, she gave me guidance on how to make the very best submissions and worked as a communications liaison with me and the board to make sure my degree plan was accepted and that I was approved to be awarded my degree. This process took place over about 18 months. As far as the coursework, I found it engaging and fairly rigourous. Of course in any classroom situation, there are those who are not as engaged and can find ways to skate by. However, my experience was that in every class there was a core group of students who were engaged and made the online discussions and group projects part of a valuable learning experience. Most of the professors were also very engaged and provided lots of feedback to discussion posts. They assigned challenging assignments most of the time and were available, mostly by email, to provide feedback on those assignments. Each professor has their own teaching style and some were less demanding than others, but overall I can say that the coursework at ESC provides opportunities for intense learning and development of critical thinking skills. Online learning is what the student makes of it. You have to be self-disciplined and self-directed to be successful in this environment. If you look at education as both an opportunity for personal growth and an investment, you will take it seriously and get the most for your money. This means reading the assignments, getting engaged in the learning discussions, and putting your best work in for the assignments. Forget about the skaters and be about the business of learning. When it's time to pay back the loans, be sure you got the most for your money! I have been able to leverage my ESC degree into a promotion at work. I also went ahead and earned an MBA from another institution, which took me to another level. I had a job before and now I have a career. ESC was a big part in helping me transition to a new career.

Was this review helpful?

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful

Enjoy Phoenix

BA in Arts - October 14, 2011
  • Materials:

  • Teachers:

  • Institution:

  • Support:

  • Value:

  • Use of Technology:

These heavy handed negative reviews are ridiculous and probably written mostly by salespeople hoping students will go to some rip off for profit school. After 2 1/2 years at Empire I've seen the best and the worst, the worst experiences I've had at ESC involved disappearing or apathetic instructors and that can happen anywhere. ESC is a great school for the motivated, adult learner. Unbelievably fair tuition, most credits will transfer throughout the SUNY system. Would I go there for teaching degree or MBA? Probably not but only because I'm not already employed in those fields, it might work for someone employed in a system already and just requires further credentials. Seriously, why would you so vehemently knock what SUNY is offering adult, working students? If you need hand holding and lots of attention go to community or a brick and mortar, that simple.

Was this review helpful?

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful

Online courses were challenging

BA in Arts - December 13, 2010
  • Materials:

  • Teachers:

  • Institution:

  • Support:

  • Value:

  • Use of Technology:

I took courses at ESC online and in person in New York City to complete my degree, which I had started 25 years ago. I was very impressed (and challenged) by the rigor of the online history courses. They involved lively discussion (via discussion board posts) alot of reading and alot of writing. I got A's in everything, but I worked hard to get them, and I would NOT in any way consider these courses to be "Mickey Mouse" courses. I had attended a SUNY college 25 years ago, and I work at a private college, so I know what college courses are. And the ESC courses I took online ARE college-level courses. I did feel that one of the professors could have been more proactive in offering her comments to the students' message board postings, but her evaluations, once received, were very helpful.

Was this review helpful?

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful

Adjuncts

BA in Arts - October 4, 2010
  • Materials:

  • Teachers:

  • Institution:

  • Support:

  • Value:

  • Use of Technology:

When reviewing colleges based on tenured professors it's imperative to note enrollment has skyrocketed in colleges, especially at community and state level. It's a given an adult oriented college would be flooded with applicants. Most colleges have been hiring adjuncts, judging one college over another because of that necessity isn't reasonable. Especially when judging an institution with an open policy or geared to adults. In this climate it would hardly be ethical for ESC to reject students rather than hire more adjuncts.

Was this review helpful?

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful

Intense, but I love it!

BA in Arts - April 21, 2010
  • Materials:

  • Teachers:

  • Institution:

  • Support:

  • Value:

  • Use of Technology:

As a non-traditional learner, I can say that SUNY Empire State College (ESC) is steadily helping me to reach my goals. ESC differs in approach to learning and administration because it serves seasoned adults, not post-high school teens. Personally, I thrive on the sense of independence and am satisfied with my highly educated and available mentor. So far, each of my instructors online have been excellent, including many who are also in good standing as instructors in traditional colleges or universities. The process has been intense at times but thoroughly enjoyable as I push through. I do believe that ESC falls short in its promise to the busy adult student who will face excessive reading and writing assignments. I know that this is fine for some; however, the college seems to confuse rigorous academics with onerous expectations. In the past, I have maintained a job and social life while successfully completing courses at local colleges, so my observation is not because of laziness. As for the low rating for technology, this is because the ANGEL program used to facilitate courses can be slow or inefficient at times. The program known as Maple, used to assess students in some math courses, is also slow and on occasion is inaccurate. These problems consume already limited time. For my current needs, the program at ESC is the right choice. My diligence, combined with appropriate course texts and good instructors, results in a quality education that is being used now, before graduation. It is true that you get out of it what you put into it, but the unduly burdensome aspects and technical problems should be addressed so that students can benefit even more.

Was this review helpful?

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful

Degree planning course

BA in Arts - April 9, 2010
  • Materials:

  • Teachers:

  • Institution:

  • Support:

  • Value:

  • Use of Technology:

It's true you have to take a 2 credit degree planning course. I took mine immediately so I wouldn't waste time or money. It's an excellent course and the credits are applied to the degree. Empire caters to adult students who often have very specific needs. Students are given the opportuniy to design their own degree, within SUNY and Empire guidelines. The purpose of the course is to design the degree and then justify it, it is then submitted for approval, the process can take months. Excellent course, should be required in all SUNYs.

Was this review helpful?

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful

It's an adult school

BA in Arts - February 17, 2010
  • Materials:

  • Teachers:

  • Institution:

  • Support:

  • Value:

  • Use of Technology:

SUNY Empire is an excellent school for the money and convenience. I noticed most of the negative reviews focused on lack of attention. I think they may have missed a main point of ESC, it's a school for busy, working adults. They have plenty of support available but not the kind of guidance found in community colleges or schools catering to inexperienced youths. This makes an Empire education and student as valuable or more so to an employer or graduate school as any other college. Trashing the school because it's classes are demanding and self directed is a contradiction to what defines a good education, the ability to educate oneself while building a decent frame of reference. Empire has so far proven to me a competent adult could not only navigate Empire's education system but appreciate the unique opportunity to develop autonomy while learning. If you're looking to immerse yourself in an intellectual environment with plenty of guidance SUNY Empire is not your school. If you're looking for a non-profit (no corporate atmosphere/motive) adult oriented, practical education to build on already existing competencies, SUNY Empire is an excellent option. I would liken SUNY Empire to a four year community school that delivers in response to the effort a student puts into their own education. I wouldn't recommend any degree program that is earned entirely online although that option is possible through Empire. Empire is very generous with transfer credits from community and four year colleges for a reason, in class time prepares a student for the rigors of an entirely self guided degree program.

Was this review helpful?

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful

ESC- The good, the bad and the ugly

BA in Arts - January 5, 2010
  • Materials:

  • Teachers:

  • Institution:

  • Support:

  • Value:

  • Use of Technology:

I am completing a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies. I am currently taking my final two classes. I have taken all of my classes online so I can't speak for the on-ground or hybrid options. The Good- The fact that this is an online program has afforded me the opportunity to finish a degree that I would not have had the time to complete otherwise. The cost is VERY affordable, even cheap in comparison to other online schools. It is a SUNY school and as a result garners a certain level of respect from other institutions. The Bad- The school claims that instructors will reply to emails within a 24-48 hour time frame. I have not had even ONE professor who did this. This is an online program, therefore students do not have the opportunity to go to a professor's office to ask questions, nor can you stay after class for clarification or details about an assignment. Thus it is very logical to assume that teachers in an online program would comprehend the great importance of being available to students in other ways. NO SUCH LUCK! Teachers sometimes take over a week to respond. I have had more than one teacher that I couldn't get in contact with for over a month. There is a LOT of work. That worked for me because I actually like learning, researching and writing. I came to ESC with 96 credits and wanted to finish as quickly as possible. I knew going in that I would be taking numerous classes at a time to finish and was willing to go without sleep for days at a time to meet my goal. However, all students are not in as much of a rush as I am. My sister also attended ESC for a time and the work load crushed her. Students should be informed when they register that taking more than two classes at a time will require a minimum of 40 hours per week for the ridiculous amount of time it takes to complete the reading and writing assignments. The Ugly- The grading policies are severely subjective (meaning if you disagree with your professor or call them on their b.s. your A+ will magically become a B- despite the grades that your work received). Of course there is a grievance/ appeal procedure but it takes FOREVER and involves more hoops than a Barnum and Bailey show. The bureaucracy at ESC is unending. There is red tape after red tape, arbitrary policy after arbitrary policy and an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. My own mentor was mildly helpful, but I have heard absolute horror stories from others. Overall- If you are looking for an affordable, flexible program from a moderately respected school ESC is a viable option. It is not at all what I would call a pleasant experience. The administration is mediocre at best, 99% of my professors have been horrendous, the grading policies are severely subjective and the workload is tremendously time consuming. But after all is said and done, if you survive it, you will get your degree.

Was this review helpful?

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful


Post a Public Comment:

Do not re-post articles, webpages or anything you didn't write yourself.

comments powered by Disqus

OnlineDegreeReviews.org is not affiliated with Empire State College, State University of New York in any way.