Ashford University
2.4 of 5 237 reviews
ashford.edu San Diego, CA 1000 to 5000 Employees

Ashford University Reviews

Updated Apr 22, 2014
Ashford University – US – “Cubicle life”

All Employees Current Employees Only

2.4 237 reviews

                             

41% Approve of the CEO

Ashford University President Richard L. Pattenaude

Richard L. Pattenaude

(76 ratings)

30% of employees recommend this company to a friend
237 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "The company offers relatively good benefits"
    in 25 reviews
  • "Great benefits package with vacation/sick/holidays; they offer overtime frequently"
    in 14 reviews
Cons:
  • "The company will tell you it's not a sales job, but the environment is very high pressure"
    in 14 reviews
  • "High-pressure, no job security, sales tactics"
    in 9 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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1 person found this helpful  

Incompetent management, who cannot lead

Institutional Research Analyst (Current Employee)
San Diego, CA (US)

I have been working at Ashford University full-time for more than 3 years

ProsThe only pro is the paycheck; other than that I cannot think of any redeeming qualities that this institution has.

ConsMiddle management does not take ownership of the mistakes that they make; rather they use their team members as the "fall guys". Also, there is no sense of team development. Stressful environment to work for - the only focus is on the bottom dollar and making a profit. Little to no disregard of the employee's well-being.

Advice to Senior ManagementI would recommend that all directors and above read "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" as most are not qualified to lead effectively.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Getting Better But Definitely Room For Improvement

Admissions Counselor (Former Employee)
San Diego, CA (US)

I worked at Ashford University full-time for more than 3 years

ProsDecent starting pay, good benefits, and you meet some of the best people you will ever work with. In the past year with the addition of a new President and the departure of certain long term executives, the atmosphere overall has improved.

Cons- Micromanaging
- Dwindling resources
- Misaollocation of resources
- Career advancement limited (if you're Admissions)
- Internal politics
- Unfair advantages given to a selected few (to this date, most Admissions Counselors are still not aware of what the criteria for becoming a Live Chat Operator exactly are as Directors and above have never posted or formally announced such criteria).

Advice to Senior ManagementWhile over the past several years there have been many strides internally; the Admissions Department is still stuck in the same mindset of the good old boy system promoting people who are either under-qualified, not ready professionally or both as well as favoring a select few by providing them additional resources under the table while everyone else struggles.

I understand for legal reasons that you cannot say that the Admissions Counselor/University Advisor role is an Inside Sales position but be honest to candidates and to your own people that this job has aspects of it (i.e. call volume, talk time, the results of what happens if you don't meet your monthly minimum expectations).

Admissions Counselors/University Advisors are not stupid and do see the short comings of most Admissions Managers and Directors as well as what the job and internal poltics really are. Put competent, experienced (i.e. managerial experience), responsible people in these positions...not your buddy or favorite yes man/woman.

Finally, recognize that many of these people have career aspirations; work with them to help them achieve those goals...not hinder them and box them into being an Admissions Counselor/University Advisor....you'd be surprised how much experience in different areas there on the Admissions floor; it should be Talent and Acquisitions first stop.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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3 people found this helpful  

Try the Cool-Aid, Cult of Online Admissions

Admission Counselor (Former Employee)
Denver, CO (US)

I worked at Ashford University full-time for more than 3 years

ProsPeople do succeed by getting degrees here others not so much.
The two week paid training was a good experience. Good place to start your life after college, and you might actually help a few people get a degree and make a better life for them. On-going training is always good, it is a transferable skill. You can make some good friends and contacts here if you put in the effort. Nice looking people overall and enroll in a Masters program while you are at it. If you are hungry and have a sweet tooth then look no further, plenty of junk food to make your day a little more tolerable. Managers will splurge by opening their $$ deep pockets and buy bagels for their team. Thanks guys/gals!

ConsI didn't like the Cool-Aid they made us drink. It is clearly brainwashing mental warfare getting you to believe in something that is simply not the reality of Online Enrollment. Managers will force you to enroll a person with no money to their name, no computer, no car, no credit, nothing, into a $56,000 degree program and think this is ethical.
They legally say there is no sales quota, but it is painful to watch the managers tip-toe around the subject, it leads to a lot of creativity in manipulating performance of the teams.
If you are a seasoned professional or been in the workforce for a few years, I highly recommend you continue your search elsewhere, every review on this company has truth. Please, just do your due diligence and understand fully what you are getting into when you sign your name on the bottom line. Good Luck!

Advice to Senior ManagementI was inspired to get to listen to the CEO speak, wow did I want to go out there and make a difference! Then listening to the President of the Denver office speak and I was still inspired to make a difference....and then there are the managers. Yes there are some true leaders 20% while 80% are inexperienced, never worked a day in there life, communicate better to a digital device..a major disconnect of mission. I was very saddened by this and no amount of money would have made me stay at Ashford University. Don't groom your rookie managers and future leaders at the expense of your employees because your system has left a bad taste in mouths of the great workforce who call Denver home.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Enjoyed working there but it could be better

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Ashford University

ProsSchedule was great usually. Overtime was mostly optional. Pay was good. Benefits were good. People you worked with are usually great. It's a great stepping stone job. Lax dress code.

ConsThey think of you as a number. I was there for years and moved for the company. They fired me out of nowhere and gave little explanation. False promises are regular with management who is usually inept. Very much a who you know job. Relationships between management and people working for them are common. They generally start you at 38k which is underpaying drastically if you do average.

Advice to Senior ManagementActually look for leadership qualities before promoting someone. You need leaders not managers. If you don't know the difference I'm not surprised.

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I have been teaching at Ashford University for 2 years and I enjoy the experience

Online Adjunct Instructor (Current Employee)
San Diego, CA (US)

I have been working at Ashford University part-time for more than a year

ProsGood pay, curiculum provided, responsive staff, good website - easy to use, embraces technology

ConsCan become monotonous, some problems with non-native english speakers.

Advice to Senior ManagementKeep on the current path. This is a good University with a great staff. The other instructors are very knowledgeable.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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1 person found this helpful  

I would rather not say how my experience was working for Ashford University.

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Ashford University full-time for less than a year

Prosvery nice co-workers, made a lot of networking contacts.

Consmanagement could careless if you were successful or not

Advice to Senior Managementnone

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Soul-sucking job from ......

Admissions Counselor (Former Employee)
San Diego, CA (US)

I worked at Ashford University full-time for more than a year

ProsGreat people. Some of the most fantastic people I've ever met worked in the trenches with me. Once you've survived this job, you will truly appreciate just about any other position you land.

ConsWhen I interviewed, I was assured repeatedly that there would be 6 weeks of training, and that it was a service job, where I would be responsible for enrolling students and then shepherding them through their first course with the university. This is not inaccurate. What they don't tell you is that 200-500 outbound calls a day is EXPECTED, and that you are essentially a telemarketer whose employment is tethered to the number of people you enroll and keep in school. Though once a student is enrolled, you are not permitted more than an hour a day (spread among ALL enrolled students) to act as their advocate and cheerleader.

I was pressured on a frequent basis to act in a manner I considered to be unethical in order to get potential students to enroll. This was described as "not taking excuses". People who refused to do this on a regular basis were terminated, while others who were blatantly engaging in sexual harassment or on-site drug use were protected because they were 'top producers'.

My first day of work, I walked into orientation, and there were 125 people there. Of those, more than 100 were Admissions Counselors. A year later, I think 35 or so were left. Those who weren't enrolling were let go. Even though it wasn't a "sales" job.

Advice to Senior ManagementUpper management in this company is pretty well blinded by greed - there are some people who want to see change happen, but while the student loan gravy train is available, there's no incentive for change to happen. It's a real shame, too - there are some INCREDIBLE people working at AU.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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3 people found this helpful  

Horrible culture, immature, good benefits

Admissions Manager (Current Employee)
San Diego, CA (US)

I have been working at Ashford University full-time for more than 5 years

ProsBenefits, the people that you work with are awesome, you learn a lot about yourself and you really develop your strengths

ConsHR, They treat management like children, they motivate with scare tactics, directors gossip with managers, managers gossip with their employees. Daily SOP change weekly.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Great employer. Very attentive to online instructors.

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at Ashford University

ProsSupportive staff and strong staff community.

ConsA little disorganization for new hires, but nothing major.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Horribly managed and very much a boiler room sales environment if you're working in admissions.

University Advisor (Former Employee)
San Diego, CA (US)

I worked at Ashford University full-time for less than a year

ProsIf you're on a great team with a good manager then the work environment can be fun. I was a University Advisor (UA) and was paid pretty well but there were also Admissions Counselors (AC) who did essentially the exact same thing I did and were very often paid much less. As a UA you had some leeway in terms of when you could come and go but that was also dictated by the team you were on. We were also paid hourly which was great because we received overtime for working weekends and past eight hours in a day.

ConsYou are under constant pressure to meet your quota of two students a week. That's just sales and goes with the territory but in this job it's only part of the story. Once you have a student, you have to make sure they submit all their proper forms, meet deadlines, are qualified for financial aid, etc. and many of those factors are out of your hands despite your best efforts. You can meet your number in terms of enrollments only to lose a bunch of enrollees for various reasons, subsequently causing you to fall short of your goal. In addition, there are a select few people on each team who benefit from a source of leads who are proactively looking for info about the school via the school's website. The reps who receive these leads essentially become order takers who have a much easier time hitting their number and rarely do any real prospecting and yet everyone on each team is judged according to the same standard. There is also the matter of the compliance department who monitor calls but seem to only go after low-performing admissions professionals and turn a blind eye to the folks who often play fast and loose with their verbiage but are left alone if they're meeting or exceeding their quota.

Advice to Senior ManagementManagement is a big part of the problem at Ashford. They should step aside and hire outside consultants to evaluate the business processes at Ashford and find real talent with the right expertise to rebuild the institution into one that has a chance at staying power.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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