Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you've decided that you want to return to school and complete your degree, how do you choose which school to attend? There are many possibilities: some cost more than others, some promise a degree in 16 or 24 months, some operate on a campus, some conduct classes at various locations, some are large and well-known, some may be new to you.
Going back to school requires an investment of both time and money, so you should carefully consider your decision. This page answers some of the more frequently asked questions and is intended to provide a starting point for gathering information about the academic programs that interest you.
What is Accreditation? Is it Important?
WASC, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, is the accrediting organization that
sets the standards for institutions of higher education in California. By periodically reviewing compliance with its standards, WASC assures a high level of quality at the institutions it accredits. Colleges and universities are also evaluated by various independent organizations, such as US News and World Report. What track records have been established at the schools you are considering? Do current students and graduates recommend the program? What problems have they encountered? Talk to them if you can.
La Sierra University is accredited by WASC. The B.S.W. program is also accredited by the Council for Social Work Education.
Are You Meeting Your Goals?
Does the degree offered fit your needs, interests, and career plans? How do you intend to use the degree? What are you hoping to learn? How interested are you in the subject matter?
At La Sierra University we regularly evaluate our degree programs so that we may offer the highest quality education. You can request to meet with an Academic Advisor at any time to review your needs, interests, and career plans.
What are Your Costs?
In addition to tuition and books, what other fees are assessed? Is the tuition charged per course, or are you obligated for the cost of the entire program when you enroll? How much will travel time and expenses add to the cost of the program? What kind of financial assistance is available? Will your employer provide tuition reimbursement?
At La Sierra University your expenses will be the cost of tuition and books, plus a one-time application fee. Payment is due once the quarter begins or can be divided into monthly installments. The University will bill approved organizations directly. Federal and state financial aid programs are available. Remember, the expense of a degree is an investment in your future that will pay rich dividends.
A campus parking permit is required for all vehicles driven on University property. DCS students enjoy a reduced rate of $12 per quarter or $34 for the year (Fall, Winter and Spring). Summer is not included. DCS students taking summer classes will need to pay another $12.
What Courses are Required?
How many courses must you take to earn a degree? Must all major classes be taken even though you previously completed an equivalent course? In addition to major classes, what other courses are required? Are all of the classes that you need offered on a regular basis through the adult program? Does the estimated time for completing your degree include time to complete all general education requirements?
If La Sierra University determines that you have successfully completed an equivalent course at another institution, you will not be asked to repeat that course. We do not hide from you any required courses outside the major. Elective courses and most general education courses are also available in the evening.
What is the Length of the Program?
Accelerated programs are popular with some adults, but not all. Will the rapid pace provide you with in-depth learning? Will the pace allow for your special needs? What happens if, for any reason, you can't keep up?
Our students set their own pace. Some take a full academic load per quarter. Others take only one class at a time. The most common load is two classes (eight units) per quarter, but the choice is yours. Many students make a timid start and finish with a mad dash to graduation. Two courses (a minimum of 6 units) per quarter are required to receive financial aid.
What About Transfer of Credit/Withdrawal
What courses are accepted for transfer? Is there a time limit on transcripts (five or seven years, for instance)? Can you enroll concurrently at another school or take correspondence courses to meet some requirements? Can you adjust your rate of progress or are you locked into the schedule of a group?
What are the consequences if you have to withdraw from the program? Are the units transferable to other institutions? Are the course content and format so unique that the credit earned will not fulfill the requirements at other schools?
La Sierra University accepts transfer of college-level, non-remedial courses taken at other accredited institutions with no time limit. We also allow students to continue taking courses at other institutions provided they are pre-approved and LSU residency requirements are met.
The Division of Continuing Studies consists of standard university courses. Should you find it necessary to withdraw, the college-level courses completed here transfer to other colleges.
Are the Faculty Qualified and Experienced?
Who are the faculty? Is teaching their primary focus? What applied experience have they had? Do instructors consider the knowledge and background returning adult students bring to the classroom? Can you contact instructors outside of class time?
The Division of Continuing Studies uses a combination of full-time La Sierra University faculty who are accustomed to teaching working adults and qualified, degreed professionals in the discipline. Most instructors have flexible office hours or can be contacted via email.
How Many Students are in Each Class?
What is the average class size? Will you receive personal attention?
We recognize that small classes give you the opportunity to get to know fellow students and to form study groups. A typical Division of Continuing Studies class consists of 10 to 15 students.
What Support Services are Offered?
How accessible are the library and computer facilities? Are advisors and tutors available? Are there additional charges for these services?
At La Sierra University, support services, such as the library and computer facilities, are readily available because we operate on University property. Academic advisement is provided through the Division of Continuing Studies. Individual tutoring may be available through the Learning Support Center (951- 785-2453). Students with physical limitations or learning disabilities are accomodated per ADA.
Do You Still have Questions?
No program is right for every adult student, but we think La Sierra University merits your careful consideration. We offer our programs in the environment of a high quality private institution. Your experience, perspectives, and values will contribute to that environment. We think that you will find our caring and sensitive staff at the Division of Continuing Studies an asset in guiding you through your program of study. At La Sierra University, you will know that you are part of a real University that is devoted to your educational needs. Before you select a program, consider all the options, know what is available, and make an informed choice.
We invite you to come into the office for advisement or give us a call at 951-785-2300, or toll free at 800-874-5587, ext. 2300.