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Author Topic: Does Concord's quality justify its high cost?  (Read 3338 times)

vEsq

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Does Concord's quality justify its high cost?
« on: April 26, 2005, 03:39:39 PM »
I've done quite much research to justify whether I should enroll with Concord or other correspondence schools.  I've already started the process with them.  If you're currently enrolled with Concord, please let me know how your experience is.

Disclaimer: This analysis is to help me or anyone who is trying to determine if Concord makes sense.  It's not meant to put down any school. If you find Abraham Lincoln or NWCU works out for you, then please feel free to add your opinion. 

I compared it with Abraham Lincoln and NWCU.

Cost
Abraham  $5,750
Concord  $7,895
NWCU     $2,850

Concord's cost is the highest of all correspondence school that's why I'm trying to justify it.  I hope it's true that "You get what you pay for" but at the same time not all expensive things have high quality.

Requirement
Abraham--at least two years of college (and exam?)
Concord--at least a bachelor (GPA 3.0 is desirable) and 15 questions exam
NWCU--60 college units (I think that's two years)

Concord has the toughest requirement so far.  That MAY explain why their bar passage rate is higher.

Bar passage 1st time (starting Feb '03)*
Abraham   22.0%
Concord   47.9%
NWCU      24.4%

*Even though Abraham and NWCU have info before Feb '03, Concord   did not since it was new.  As a result, I only used the data that date forward to have a somewhat fair comparision.  If you want to verify my numbers, please visit calbar.ca.gov and do your own calculation.

Accredidation
Out of the three only Concord is accredited by www.DETC.org.  That's supposedly recognized nationwide.  Of course there are other schools that is DETC also like www.taftu.edu but I'm only comparing with a small sample.  I wonder if the high cost justifies a school being DETC.

Format
Abraham   Physical/Online
Concord   Online only
NWCU      Physical/Online

This is the thing I wish Concord can improve on.  Somehow "Online only" doesn't sound good to me.  It sounds like one of those spams that say you can buy your degree online.  I'm somewhat disappointed that a school costing so much doesn't have a physical facility for its students.

Web sites
Abraham   www.alu.edu
Concord   www.concordlawschool.com
NWCU      www.nwculaw.edu

I thought NWCU's site was a little tacky probably due to low budget.  The other two schools probably charge more to maintain their professional sites.  Now you know where the money goes.

Media Exposure
I originally heard about Abrahm Lincoln through an ad on National Public Radio www.NPR.org.  I also received a few calls from them since I was registering for the LSAT.  When I decided to attend correspondence school, I found out about Concord and NWCU through articles posted on their site. 

I've done internet searches and found more instances of Concord than the any other virtual law schools even though it's the newest.  Concord's parent Kaplan/Washington Post probably have some influence in that.  Afterall, it's a news company.

They also hired a famous Harvard professor and even "persuaded" the ABA official who criticized them in the first place by making him dean of Concord.  (Very clever move.  I think that contributes to the high cost also.)

Conclusion
If my research is accurate, I would get my money's worth.  I hope their stringent entrance narrows those who would do well with this type of school to maintain a high bar passage stats.  If the stat stays up then employers would set its students apart from other correspondence schools.

I hope Kaplan's experience add value to the quality of Concord's material delivery.  I hope the attention received from Concord would help me stay on track and perform well on the bar.  I hope Kaplan/Washington Post continue to use its influence and network to make me proud of being a graduate from Concord.  If all those hopes come true then the high fee is justified.

But when it all winds down, passing the bar is the ultimate goal regardless of what school.  Although it may not have a prestige as a traditional law school, I anticipate any virtual school to be as challenging.  If you don't get good training then you can't pass the bar.  I'm shooting for whichever school that can help me achieve that in my current situation. 

law543

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Re: Does Concord's quality justify its high cost?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2005, 03:03:27 AM »
I did all of the same research you did...and almost went with Concord until I got snooty, rude treatment on the phone from them when I was simply making inquiries. They acted as if they didn't like my questions and quickly dismissed me, getting me off of the phone quickly.

Additionally, I *never* received the information package in the mail...NOBODY ever called me back when they said they would...and I was very polite in my inquiries. As I recall...I sent them 3 emails over a year period...and never got an answer to one. Never.

I just thought they were a bit too high and mighty for being little more than a correspondence law school.

Then I began to realize this: Even with the DETC accreditation...that distinction does nothing for your chances at big jobs. Nothing. At best, it might tell you something about the value of the education. But I see no reason to think that, besides the higher  bar passage rate. Still...you are not a statistic...you are an individual.

I pay just over 2 grand a year for my education. When I graduate law school...Concord graduates will be in no better position than I will be...and they will be more than 12 grand further in debt than I will be.

I then turned to William Howard Taft Law school...then finally settled upon NWCUL after speaking directly with the academic dean for nearly an hour on the phone. She was very straightforward...very honest...didn't blow smoke at me...and completely made it a realistic choice, laying everything out as it actually was. They've been graduating law students since the early 80's...they have a track record, even if it's not the most prestigious.

So...I think Concord is a good choice for anyone deciding upon this route...I just don't think the choice is worth over 4 grand more a year than you'd pay at other distance education schools...not when you will come out on the other side, virtually, in the same place as the lesser-expensive school graduates.

That's my 2 cents, anyway. :)

Law543

vEsq

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Re: Does Concord's quality justify its high cost?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2005, 04:35:33 PM »
Law543

I'm glad you found the right school.  It's unfortunate that you had a bad experience with Concord.  I'm not vouching for them but my experience was good so far. The advisor answered all my email inquiries within 30 minutes to three hours. You must have gotten a bad one.

I agree that Concord may be over priced.  But I'm more concerned about quality than cost.  I still don't know how the quality is because I haven't started class yet.  At least it's not that bad comparing to a traditional school so that's an acceptable risk for me.

Actually I was debating between Concord and Abe Lincoln.  I liked Abe because of the ability to attend class in person if I choose.  I don't like the online-only concept that much.  I think Concord's insigna is making it worse by carrying that cyber concept with it's 11000111100.

I just compared the "baby bar" result for the past four years and noticed that there was not much difference in the passage rate between Concord and Abe.  However the significant difference was the number of students taking the exam from Concord.  Concord first time takers took 33%-55% of the whole correspondence population of ~13 schools!!!  I hope the popularity helps name recognition and possible job placement in the future.  But you're right, correspondence school probably all fall in the same category so it may not make much difference.  The important thing is passing the baby bar and the final bar.

vEsq

law543

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Re: Does Concord's quality justify its high cost?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2005, 05:09:35 PM »
Hi!

Well, you certainly have done your research and that is a commendable thing for this venture. I think with Concord you will get a quality education and I think Concord takes a greater interest in seeing their students succeed. With Concord, you get your own personal webpage with your assignments and other things. At NWCU, we use Blackboard, which is very similar, but not quite as glamorous as what Concord offers. I think Concord is attempting to make themselves sort of the "elite" of the online law schools...and there is nothing wrong with that. They put a lot of emphasis on the "pomp and circumstance"...very prestigious graduation ceremonies...lots of faculty and student interaction. I think you are going to "feel" much like you are going to a bricks and mortar campus...and that may serve you well.

I do wish NWCU would make a greater attempt at making their webpage look better. It's terribly bland with the browns and faded yellows...and that animated flame gif is just terrible. *laughs*

Still...they have treated me well...have helped me anytime I need it...and each time I call, they know me by name and help me out with whatever I need. I sort of feel at "home" with NWCU, as you might probably understand.

Yes, I do wish my experience with Concord had been better. No doubt, I'd be enrolled there if that had been the case. I was ready to make a decision. It just terribly alarmed me when no emails were answered...no phone calls returned...and no information packet came in the mail. Nothing, nada, zilch.

Oh, I forgot about AL Law school...yes, that had appeal for me, too. I actually spoke to the Academic dean for about 40 minutes...he was extremely nice, extremely helpful, and actually wanted me to drive up (I live in San Diego) to tour the school. I was "this" close to doing that...when I happened upon NWCUL.

I hope you stay on the board and let everyone know of your experience with Concord. Good luck!

Law543

vEsq

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Re: Does Concord's quality justify its high cost?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2005, 02:10:01 PM »
Law543--Congratulations on getting your internship.  Keep us posted on how you're doing.

After 2 1/2 weeks of the review process, Concord accepted my application to start school in June.  (The whole process--application, interview, testing, review--from start to finish took one month) 

I like the orientation so far.  The web interface was professional yet simple enough to navigate.  Since class hasn't started yet, I could only watch a few introduction videos and listened to a welcoming audio.  Although the speakers didn't speak as natural as I was expecting, they got a little better later on.  I hope I didn't expect too much.  On the other hand, they may have tried to speak slowly so that they can deliver the lower sound quality to accomodate those with slow Internet connections.

I was happy with the quick response from Concord's staff to my questions.  One of them was a detail reply from an Associate Dean.  (Of course, you can't authenticate the sender, but I'll take it for face value until I see a red flag.)  It seemed consistent with what they've been bragging about.  They also assigned someone to be my advisor.  I haven't gotten the need to contact her yet, but I have the impression that I will get more attention through Concord than other brick and morta schools.

I understand there are certain disadvantages to Concord like the lack of thinking-on-your-feet practice.  But I plan to gain that experience through externships.  Other than that, I think Concord will exceed my needs in a legal education and preparation for the Bar.  So far I'm very happy.  However, this is only the beginning so I'll just have to wait and see.

VirtualJD

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Re: Does Concord's quality justify its high cost?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2005, 10:08:57 AM »
I did much of the same research with five distance learning JD programs.  In the end, I chose Concord because I felt the teaching methods and material format was best suited to my learning style.

I've now finished my first year at Concord and do not regret it.  This past year has been one of, if not the most, academically challenging year of my education experience. 

Good luck with your studies.


virtualJD (to be)