1. American Sentinel University

In 2006, American Sentinel University was founded to provide an online platform to students looking to further their education. American Sentinel came about when the following three Universities joined forces: American Graduate School of Management, Sentinel University and the American College of Computer and Information Sciences. American Sentinel does not have a campus, but is instead a comprehensive online university that was voted best online program in 2014 by the US News and World Report on MSN.

American Sentinel focuses on nursing, business and computer sciences. It is accredited by Distance Education and Training Council, Commission on Collegiate Nursing, and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. The university has over 3,500 students with a teacher/student ratio of 21:1. American Sentinel is headquartered in Aurora, Colorado. This university offers 11 programs with bachelors and masters degrees, two certificate programs and one doctoral degree.

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The Good

  • Flexible Course Options
  • Program Amenities
  • Helpful Staff and Faculty

Flexible Course Options

American Sentinel strives to create a program that offers both flexibility and stability for students who wish to accomplish a variety of educational goals. They offer frequent courses with new courses start every month and lasting only eight weeks. Most of their students are employed, so this schedule was designed to work around their busy lives.

Program Amenities

Important statistics for prospective students to note include:

  • Good graduation rate:
    • Nursing; bachelors 84%, masters 76%
    • MS Computer Science 73%
    • Information Systems Management 64%
  • Life Experience credit: students can get credit for previous course work and job experience, up to 50% credit
  • Help from professors and other students readily available.

Helpful Staff and Faculty

Current and former students were generally pleased with the professors and their interactions with American Sentinel University staff. Students were able to receive feedback and communicate with instructors through an online interface. This allowed students to improve and learn directly from educated professors without having to commute to a campus.

The Bad

  • Primarily a Nursing School
  • Program Weaknesses

Primarily a Nursing School

American Sentinel is rather specialized. They have built up the program that they offer to benefit students pursuing degrees in certain areas, but that means that the programs offered are quite limited. Nursing is a main focus for them, so if you are interested in accounting or business, this might not be the way to go. Since American Sentinel is specialized and can be expensive for some students, prospective students should compare their programs to other online platforms prior to enrolling.

Program Weaknesses

The tuition is pretty competitive with other online universities, but there a lot of hidden fees that are not included in the $400 a credit hour tuition. That means that students will need to set aside money for books and other technologically-related fees. Other complaints include:

  • Only four colleges with a total of only about 20 degrees offered
  • Inability to calculate costs ahead of time
  • Difficulty in obtaining financial aid

The Bottom Line

If you are a full or part-time student, the course set up might work great for you with its speed and frequent classes. The programs offered are limited so if you are going into nursing or some kind of computer science, American Sentinel is a great place to go. However, if you want to study education, engineering or accounting this would not be as good of a fit.

Interested students who believe that American Sentinel can provide the education they need to succeed in a fulfilling career will need to complete the following process in order to apply:

  1. Submit a complete application
  2. Include a resume, curriculum vitae or list of professional accomplishments
  3. Provide official transcripts and any other program related documents/licenses
  4. Indicate what tests/certifications you have already obtained

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