Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) isn't your typical online college. Because of its massive advertising push in the past few years, many people have dumped this institution into the same bucket as online-only schools. However, looks can be deceiving. SNHU not only has a physical campus with thousands of students in attendance, this non-profit college may be transforming distance learning.
But if you're a student, the only thing matters to you is your personal educational experience. So is SNHU a good choice? We waded through hundred of online reviews to find out what students and graduates had to say. Here, we'll go through the pros and cons.
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Before we dive into student reviews, remember two things:
1. With any educational program, you will get out of it what you put into it. 2. There's good evidence that people are more likely to leave an online review when they're unhappy rather than satisfied.
SNHU oline appears to be an innovative program that offers solid degree options for a variety of majors, especially within the business arena. Most business students, in both graduate and undergraduate studies, reported having excellent, engaged professors who knew their subject matter.
However, we did note a significant amount of frustration among students and grads who were studying tech-focused majors. Students with prior tech experience seemed to fare better, as they were able to work more independently.
If you're interested in this school, be aware that classes run on an eight-week term with few breaks between sessions, so you'll need to ensure that you can devote a significant, consistent amount of time to your studies for several months at a time. However, people who are able to get into a rhythm with their coursework seem to do well.
SNHU has been accredited since 1973. It is a non-profit school, with 3,000 on-campus students and 90,000 online students, making it one of the fastest-growing universities in the country.
Online programs of study include:
Accounting and finance
Art and design
Health, including healthcare administration, nursing, and public health
Math and science
Psychology and counseling
You can earn associate's, bachelor's, or master's degrees. There are also several certificate programs.
Does SNHU accept Pell Grants or FAFSA?
Yes, SNHU accepts Pell Grants and all other forms of financial aid distributed through the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Now that you have the basics, let's take a look at what online students have to say in their online reviews.
Pro: Business-related programs get high marks
Quite a few business majors—in both grad and undergrad programs—absolutely raved about the program. Finance and accounting majors generally also reported excellent experiences, with most rating the program a four out of five, or a five out of five.
Pro: Easy transfer of credits from community college, plus discounts
One student noted that she wanted to keep her student loan debt as low as possible, so she attended a community college to get some general-education requirements out of the way. (This is an excellent strategy, by the way, and one we highly recommend.) The woman reported that all of her credits were accepted without a problem.
Bonus: SNHU also offers discounted tuition to community college students. This is from their website:
SNHU also has transfer agreements with many community colleges, which can make for a seamless transfer process.
Pro: Accessible, helpful advisers
Multiple students noted that their advisers were helpful and encouraging.
Pro: Self-starters do well
Many students and grads noted that you need to have a certain level of automony to successfully complete coursework. Getting on a regular study schedule, making the effort to reach out to instructors with questions, and ensuring that all online portal qualifications are met can help ease the process.
Con: Few school breaks
Rather than traditional semesters, SNHU runs on eight-week terms, with one beginning right after the next. While that may help you finish your degree faster, some students complained that they would've liked some more breathing room between terms.
Con: Less time to process material
The eight-week terms also mean that classes move fast. One mathematics major, who reported a "mixed" experience at the school, claimed that it was difficult to grasp the more-difficult concepts at the pace she was was expected to keep.
Con: Strict refund policy
Several people mentioned that they found the school's refund policy too stringent. Two weeks after a course starts, you're out of luck. However, others noted that since a course is only eight weeks long, two weeks is a quarter of the term.
Tip: If you decide to attend SNHU, make fast decisions about whether you'd like to stay in a class or not.
Con: Tech-based programs may fall short, especially for people with no tech experience
Video gaming, cyber security, and information technology students reported a certain level of frustration with their instruction. A common theme was that it was difficult to fully grasp the program materials in an online format. Another complaint was that some of the material was outdated.
One data science student, who rated the program a five out of five, recommends reaching out to professors rather than assuming they will reach out to you. Another video game major also rated the program five out of five, and claimed that people who were unhappy with the program didn't follow instructions or do the minimum amount of work.
Con: Lots of adjunct professors
There were plenty of complaints about professors who were not full-time or not invested in the students' outcomes. On the flipside though, lots of people raved about their instructors ... so take this one with a grain of salt.
Trish Sammer is Nitro's managing editor. Her work has appeared in Woman’s Day, Redbook, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and Forbes. She has also written for various corporate clients, including the tech giant SAP, The Franklin Institute, and PSE&G. When Trish isn’t busy acting as a writing ninja for other people, you can find her … well, writing about other stuff, like divorce and blended family life. She lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband, their combined brood, and the world’s laziest dog. Read more by Trish Sammer