Kaplan University was initially established as the American Institute of Commerce in 1937, after which it became known as Quest College. When Kaplan Inc. purchased Quest Education Corporation in 2000, Quest became known as Kaplan University. Today, Kaplan boasts more than 61,000 students, 11 physical campuses, and 200 academic programs. Through its traditional campuses and renowned online programs, Kaplan issues associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees and certificates.
Kaplan’s programs encompass all spheres of the academic curriculum and include disciplines in arts, sciences, humanities, business, nursing, legal studies, technology, and more. Kaplan is always evaluating the job market and designing new programs to match demands. In April of 2011, it added an online master’s program in finance to its already stacked pile of programs. The school provost Geri H. Malandra said that the school is determined to meet the talent needs of employers in high-demand fields.
“Kaplan University’s outcomes-driven curriculum is designed to provide students with the skills they need to compete, whether they are entering a new career field or seeking to advance within their current field,” said Malandra.
Kaplan is also one of the few schools that can lay claim to a Web-based law program, which they offer through a partnership with Concord Law School. Their four-year, part-time Juris Doctor program satisfies the legal education requirement of the State Bar of California.
The school also boasts a widely revered criminal justice program. In May 2011, the program teamed up with the Royal Bahamas Police Force for a “lunch and learn” seminar to encourage police officers to further their education and skills. Executive chairman of the Police Staff Association Dwight Smith expressed delight at the prospect of retaining their staff while their key workers enhance their education.
“What we are trying to do as a police department, and extending it to the wilder community, is to educate to the point that we are able to compete for top positions,” said Smith.
Those who want to compete for top positions in their field of employment have an opportunity to do so by furthering their education at Kaplan. While online colleges like Kaplan offer flexibility, the time frame for completing degree requirements is largely consistent with brick-and-mortar programs. A bachelor’s degree at Kaplan typically takes about four years to complete, while graduate degrees may take anywhere from 9 to 18 months full-time. Lectures delivered by top-notch professors, accompanied by countless hours of assignments, imbue Kaplan’s online education with an intensity that school officials claim rivals the rigor of brick-and-mortar programs.
The Student Experience
Classes are administered online via lecture notes, forum discussions, and visual learning materials. Students must be able to log in at least four or five times a week to check on projects, lessons, and more. Students can connect with each other via message boards and email.
Kaplan prides itself in an interactive online community powered by advanced education technology. Owning a reliable computer is imperative to success. Before enrolling, students will have to demonstrate their ability to communicate with faculty via email, create and save documents in Microsoft Office formats, browse the Web, download and install plugins, and configure applications such as antivirus software. Students need a PC or Mac with at least 10 GB of hard drive room available. Speakers and microphone may be required for selected courses.
Every student is assigned a unique ID and password combination, which is necessary to access the online portals. Web field trips and lessons are only a mouse click away. If you run into a stumbling block, a technical support team is always on stand-by to answer your questions via phone or email.
The most notable perk of a Kaplan education is the huge library available to students. Through the Kaplan Online Library, students enjoy access to more than 50,000 e-books and scholarly articles. The library includes delivery services and reference assistance via phone, email, and live chat.
Kaplan students come from all walks of life, and the students claim that the diversity contributes a great deal to their overall experience. Mark Saltzman, a recent graduate, said that getting to know his classmates was one of the most memorable things at Kaplan.
“When I was studying with Kaplan and conversing with my classmates, I felt that was a community there,” said Saltzman.
Kaplan recently introduced a program that allows new students to test-drive their classes for five weeks before signing on as a full-time student. During this time, students take real classes for real credits and get a close look at what a Kaplan education entails.
Teaching at Kaplan
Kaplan faculty members have advanced degrees, real-world experience, and proven leadership skills. The team of leaders at the school includes Frank DiMarino, a former assistant U.S. Attorney in Miami. Sara Sander of the College of Arts & Sciences has spent the last 10 years in online education and teaching. The School of Legal Studies is headed by Karen Evans, a long-time online educator who teamed up with a number of universities to develop master’s programs and courses. Students can rest assured that they’re dealing with faculty members who understand the challenges of online education.
Kaplan Graduates in the Real World
Upon graduation, Kaplan has a program in place to ferry its graduates to the waters of employment. Academic advisors and faculty mentors not only offer a helping hand throughout the course of your study, but they also promise to help you explore professional opportunities. Kaplan’s Career Services Advisors are on hand to help you write a quality resume, search for vacancies, and prepare for job interviews.
Kaplan also has a large alumni program, complete with post-graduation career services, forums, and more education opportunities. Once a student graduates, he or she can still count on Kaplan to provide support.
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