New York University

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NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies

Mar 31, 2006 (Updated Apr 7, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Price, flexibility of schedule

Cons:disorganized, beauracratic

The Bottom Line: Did not meet my expectations. Needs to get it together and cut the fat; lots of potential, but at this point, just not there yet.


Having taken several classes in this particular division of NYU, I can only hope that the other divisions of the university are nothing like SCPS. This being my first real experience with NYU, I have unfortunately been greatly disappointed by it.

Background

I have recently received my Bachelors degree from Barnard College at Columbia University. Being an Economics/English major at college, my employer sent me to take some accounting classes at NYU's SCPS. The reason for doing this at NYU as opposed to other schools in New York City were as follows.


The Pros

First of all, SCPS offers a broad range of courses, ranging from rudementary to very advanced topics in any department. In other words, depending on your needs, it is possible to find exactly the kind of course you need, tailored to what you are looking to get out of it and implement in the real world (your job).

Second, the schedule of SCPS classes is very flexible. A basic course such as Accounting Principles is offered several times a week, including weekends. For many working people, this is very helpful because few other schools/university offer weekend classes.

Third, NYU definitely has the reputation of being more than your average CUNY (City University of NY). In the City, it is second only to Columbia -- and their Continuing Education classes cost nearly triple SCPS's! By reputation, I am including the faculty, the facilities, the caliber and rigor of the coursework, and all the other great things that are usually attributed to NYU.

Thus it was decided - I would take several courses at NYU to get me up to speed and fill in the gaps.

The Cons

Unfortunately, SCPS does not live up to NYU's reputation.

First, the school's organization is absolutely awful!! I know what university beauracracy is all about, but this was just ridiculous!


Here are several examples:

Example 1
Somehow, NYU had my maiden name on file (I have never before taken any NYU courses or submitted a completed application for admittance, nor have I ever provided my maiden name when signing up for the classes at SCPS). After calling to inquire about why my last name was incorrect, I was told that I could fax in my marriage certificate and the matter would be taken care of. Once classes began, I brought it my marriage certificate, and was then told that this is not good enough. I had to obtain an Affidavit of Name Change and get it notarized -- something that was not necessary for me to change my name at the DMV on my driver's lisence, my social security card, or my credit cards! After talking to many and getting the same dumb answer, it was weeks before I finally got through to someone who agreed to change my name in the system!

Example 2
One of the courses I took was a one week crash course in Financial Statement Analysis. Being that the course was only 5 days long, it was imperative that we get the book around which the majority of the coursework was centered. The first day of class, the professor announced that the book could be purchased at the NYU bookstore downtown (even though our class was being held in Midtown). Half of the class ventured downtown only to be told that they don't have the book. Not only was the book unavailable there, but it was also not available in a single bookstore in the city -- one or two people managed to grab up the last copies of the book at a Barnes & Noble downtown, and a couple of people ordered the last 2-3 copies of it from Barnes & Noble online NJ warehouse, and were able to get the book overnight. I am not blaming the professor, who claims that he did everything in his power to ensure that the books would be in. However, as a student, I really don't care whose fault it was -- my experience suffered greatly from being unable to do a big chunk of the classwork and the homework.

Hence, I think that these incidents should be attributed to the beauracracy and lack of organization of SCPS. Even when I was so outraged that I tried to see the dean of the school, the receptionist pointed me to an empty room of where the dean "used to sit." What a mess!

Second, the caliber and rigor of the courses are certainly not what I expected. It seems that the professors teaching just don't really have much else to do, so they teach. Perhaps they're too old or overqualified to compete in the private sector, so this is what they are doing instead. The classwork and the assignments were just too basic, with the professors mostly talking about their own experiences and repeating the same stories during each class.

Third, there is a serious lack of technology. The professors use transparancies (rather than powerpoint), which I have not seen since freshman year of college! It is nearly impossible to find information online (you can't even find professors' email addresses!) and everything is so convoluted that to this day, I still don't know how to get to my NYU account online (this is not just me; from speaking to my classmates, I found this to be a common problem). And the worst part is, there is no one to ask!

Overall, this is really not a good place to study. I am sure that this does not go for other divisions of this huge university, but if you are looking for courses in continuing education, I would advise you to look elsewhere - at least until SCPS gets their act together!


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