2017 University of the People reviews: How 94% of graduates achieved their goals (including jobs & promotions) & their advice to help you do the same.
If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you know we’re deeply committed to staying in touch with our students and graduates, including understanding the unique experience our university provides for each person, and making changes when necessary to improve what we offer, so that we can continue to serve our students better.
So once again, we talked to our graduates to see how University of the People made a difference in their lives. This time, we also asked the graduates for some advice for our newest students, so whether you’re new to our family or considering joining, keep reading to hear what our graduates have to say.
Meet the Graduates of University of the People
As always, before we dive into what the graduates had to say, let’s learn a little bit about them.
According to our survey results, two thirds of survey respondents graduated with a bachelor’s degree, and about a third with an associate’s degree.
Business administration was our most popular major, with 75% of our respondents graduating from this program.
Our university is most popular in Nigeria (which is responsible for 25.81% of graduate responses), Haiti (almost 10%) and the United Kingdom (almost 10%), and the rest of our students are spread throughout many countries across the world.
University of the People Graduates are Lifelong Learners Who Set Goals and Achieve Them
As you’ll see later in this article, our graduates love to learn new things. In fact, 38.89% of surveyed students testified they already had another undergraduate degree, yet were now looking to earn a degree in a different field.
Other two popular goals were to get a job and to advance in their current career.
Did they achieve their goals?
94.44% of our graduates gave an unequivocal “yes” to this question, which, to be honest, makes us very proud.
We can give you all the tools and knowledge in the world, but of course, it is up to you to make the time, do the work, and dare to implement it in the world. Our graduates are proof it can be done, and if you’re reading this, chances are you have what it takes, too.
How the University of the People Helped Graduates Grow as Professionals and Individuals
As with every graduating class, we were humbled and thrilled that almost all of our graduates were satisfied with their studies at the University of the People. This year’s exact number was 94.44% – and we took some time to understand what contributed to that.
We understood that they mostly appreciated being able to register for courses online, the appropriateness of instructional materials, overall quality of instructions, clarity of program requirements, breadth of offering within their programs of study, and responsiveness to administrative questions and requests.
In other words, they appreciated our efforts to make their higher education as simple and accessible to everyone, and as respectful as possible to cultural differences around the world.
We were also happy to see that graduates felt that their studies at University of the People contributed to their knowledge, skills and personal development.
Mostly, graduates felt they developed their ability to learn on their own, develop global awareness, grew more open to having their views challenged, and developed self-confidence and self-esteem.
Other skills many of our graduates felt they developed included judging the merits of arguments based on their sources, methods and reasoning, as well as evaluating and choosing among alternatives.
This is a partial list, of course, but these were the skills the majority of our students developed or improved throughout their studies.
How is Online Higher Education Perceived in the World?
Survey responses came from graduates from all over the world, so it was important for us to explore how they perceive the global trend in online higher education now that they’re out looking for jobs and promotions with their online university degree.
While 25% of respondents said their governments don’t recognize online degrees yet, there is definitely a shift in the world.
59.38% of respondents said they see more and more people taking online courses and degrees, and 31.25% said more and more employers are recognizing online degrees.
What are University of the People Students Doing Now That They’ve Earned Their Online University Degrees?
69.70% of respondents said they work full time for pay, across a rich variety of professions.
When asked about employment and internship sectors, the most popular industries were business, education, retail and merchandising, and technology.
15.63% of students said that they already received a salary increase, 9.38% already earned a promotion in the organization they’ve been working throughout their degrees, and 18.75% managed to break into a new field thanks to their University of the People degrees.
What about future plans?
We didn’t call our graduates lifelong learners for no reason.
84.38% have long term plans to pursue additional degrees, and over 30% of them are already doing something about it – either applying to a master’s of PhD program, or are already master’s or PhD students.
University of the People Graduates are Already Working Toward Making This World a Better Place
While it’s not the first time we see this happening, it always warms our hearts to see our graduates as committed to making this world a better place as we are.
We’re proud to say that 34.38% of our graduates engage in volunteer work or community service, and another 37.5% plan to. That’s a total of 71.88% that want to give back, even though they don’t have to.
Another way graduates want to contribute to the world is to help spread the word about University of the People’s tuition-free, online degree programs, that are US accredited, where you get to study from the same professors that teach at universities like NYU.
In fact, 81.25% said they’d be willing to help us promote UoPeople, and 75.76% would be willing to serve as mentors to other students.
University of the People Graduates’ Advice to New Students to Help Them Succeed
Our graduates now have a lot of experience making an online university work for them – remember, 94.44% of them achieved the goals they set for themselves for these degrees – plus experience using these degrees in the offline world.
So what would they advise people just starting out with their online higher education?
Our survey was anonymous, so we don’t have the names of graduates who were willing to share advice, but we’re grateful for each and every one of them.
These are their words.
How to Achieve Work-Life Balance
“Plan your time,” said one graduate, and another emphasized you should make an effort to “avoid course overload.”
Another graduate recommended that you create a detailed breakdown of your “study schedule, choose specific days to focus on studying.” Another graduate agreed that it’s important to “set aside time for studying, and never mix it with work or family time,” and advised that, even though you can set your own study schedule and prolong the degree beyond the suggested timeline, you should set “yourself a timeline for graduation,” and work hard to meet your own deadline.
Stay Focused and Consistent in Your Studies
Staying focused and consistent was the most popular advice graduates gave new students. Here’s some of what they had to say:
- “Recognize that, just because it’s online does not mean it’s [an] easy job. You have to be dedicated and want to earn the degree.”
- “Take it seriously from the start to the end because UoPeople is [a] life changing experience.”
- “Take small steps and study regularly.”
- “Consistent, hardworking and determined.”
- “Be focused.”
- “Determination does it all.”
- “Be focused, determined and have an open-minded and positive attitude while pursuing [your] studies.”
Keep a Positive Mindset, Enjoy the Road and Remember Why You’re Working Toward this Degree
“My advice to the new incoming students is to be patient, have a positive mind and [stay] very focus[ed] on the courses, which will help them succeed at the university,” wrote one of our graduates in the survey.
Another graduate reminded you to “enjoy your study,” and another recommended that you always think of the bigger picture of getting your degree.
“They should always have at the back of their mind that education is the best legacy for life. According to Nelson Mandela, ‘education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,'” the graduate wrote.
Thank YOU for Helping Us Make Higher Education Accessible to Everyone, Everywhere
As always, thank you to all our graduates for taking the time to share these insights with us. We appreciate beyond words your dedication to yourselves and your dreams, as well as your willingness to help spread the word and make higher education more accessible around the world.
Hearing what you’ve overcome and accomplished gives us courage to keep fighting through challenges and keep breaking down barriers, until we can, as our founder Shai Reshef said in his TED talk, “open the gates to higher education for every qualified student, regardless of what they earn, where they live, or what society says about them.”
If you’re a new student or considering joining us, know that we have seen enough evidence, all over the world, that your dreams are possible, even when sometimes they might feel like they’re not.