This article was last modified on September 21, 2010.

Gavin vs. University of Phoenix

I made the mistake of clicking on a Facebook ad for online master’s degrees. By doing so, this sent a message to University of Phoenix telling them I was interested in their program, which I was not. The following is an exchange between the “enrollment counselor” and myself.

August 4: John to Gavin

Hello Gavin,

Are you still interested in pursuing a degree with us?

Please let me know so I can update your file. If you have any questions regarding our programs, feel free to contact me anytime!

Thank you,

John Genovese, Enrollment Counselor
University of Phoenix | Online Campus |
3157 E Elwood St. | Phoenix, AZ 85034
phone (602) 387-3074 | fax (602) 308-4222

August 5: Gavin to John

After careful consideration, I have changed my mind.

August 5: John to Gavin

To what?

August 5: Gavin to John

I must turn down University of Phoenix.

August 5: John to Gavin

Ohhhh!!! OK… Thanks for letting me know! Perhaps if you have time, you can let me know why you’ve decided this?


August 5: Gavin to John

Well, to be perfectly frank with you, University of Phoenix is thought by many to provide degrees of very little value. As a corporation rather than a public university, their focus is as a business and not necessarily in the highest standards of education.

I have a 3.2 GPA from my undergraduate college, as well as excellent marks on my GRE. I could likely be accepted to a variety of graduate programs throughout this country or abroad, and to acquiesce to UPhoenix would possibly be seen as a blight on my record by future schools or employers.

August 6: John to Gavin


I appreciate your “frankness”. However…. I do believe you have the “value” part wrong. I congratulate you on your 3.2GPA (and GRE). You sound like you are a serious and “educated” student.

Therefore, you would probably know our University is governed by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools AND “regionally accredited” by The Higher Learning Commission. (Same accreditation as Harvard and Yale). So? the “Highest Standards of Education” as you say. Whose? Yours? Ours? Or, those independent boards that determine the academic “content”?

Fact is, we have close to half-a-million students enrolled with or school. For most of these students, there is no other option. We have both ground and, of course, Online modalities. These students come to us because we offer an education they wouldn’t (or couldn’t) achieve elsewhere. Most all of my students tell me their experience here “far exceeds” their previous encounters with a learning body. When students receive 100% attention, counseling and support, they end up completing their degrees. And this is a “bad” thing?

I know you really don’t care about what I have to say. I don’t hope to change your opinion. However… not everyone has the “options” you may have. As far as a “blight” on your record? Hmmm…. Perhaps in your spare time, you can call the White House (yes, that one) and inquire about the recent hire of one of OUR graduates. He graduated from OUR school and is now the Chief Cyber-Security Coordinator for the White House. Gee? Imagine that. That “blight” must have been overlooked.

Good luck in your endeavors.


August 7: Gavin to John


I do not mean any disrespect and, believe me, your words are to be taken quite seriously. I fully understand your position and I understand that the school is fully accredited and a path that many have chosen and will continue to choose.

I was merely pointing out that the general perception of UPhoenix is of a “diploma mill”. Whether this perception is accurate or not, I do not know, but I am aware that people’s perceptions are what makes a great deal of decisions in the work force. I graduated from UW-Green Bay. The degree I earned is equivalent to a degree from UW-Madison or any other undergraduate institution. However, an employer will certainly favor Madison over Green Bay on a resume before even calling me.

The Cyber-Security job you refer to is held by Howard Schmidt. To use him as an example is disingenuous. He has been working with computer security ever since his time in the Air Force in the 1960s, well before he graduated from University of Phoenix. His degree, as you know, was in organizational management, not any computer security field. It was his experience — over 40 years in government security — that got him the job, not his degree from Phoenix or any other university.

Regardless, my background is in philosophy and linguistics. As Phoenix does not offer either program, it does not coincide with my desired educational path.

I’m sorry you found my response to be disrespectful or condescending. That was not my intention. But what I said is true, and there really is no denying that.



John sent some nice words after that which I cannot seem to find in my inbox…

Also try another article under Personal
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

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