Kaplan University ads

If you haven’t seen them yet, here are two ads currently being aired by Kaplan University. They come out pretty strongly against the traditional postsecondary paradigm. What do you think? 

30 Responses to “Kaplan University ads”

  1. These point out that all traditional educational institutions Pre-K – PHD will need to acknowledge they are less and less monopolistic.

    Do we stay “traditional” and accept that many students can and will go elsewhere? Or do we try to become more things to more people?

    Nice to see an increasing number of choices for learners today!


  2. I LOVE the 1st one. I believe that schools need to incorporate more “Technology” into the teachings… NOW IS THE TIME to switch from traditional to more advanced/ Technology learnings b/c Technology is what is going to happen in the future.

    • This commercial is a perfect example of the misleading tactics Kaplan uses. They do NOT have video lectures, as of 7/24/10, they have not even integrated audio for all professors in their seminars. I am a student there,unfortunately, and I asked them about why they advertise false information- I was told that it is Kaplan’s “vision” to integrate these things in the future, but do NOT have them as of yet.

      They spend huge amounts of money on both advertising, and “sponsoring” search results so that it is practically impossibe to actually find reliable information online. When I was rearching schools, I found that even the so-called “unbiased, real student reviews” were doctored. The same overwhelmingly negative reviews, were word for word repeated on multiple different schools’ review boards all with tsimilar replies, advising readers to “just look at the spelling and grammar of the negative posts and you have to question them. It takes a lot of work to do distance learning, and these people obviously don’t put in the effort”

      And this is repeated in the reviews of ALL schools, a little too “coincidental” if you ask me. I am getting out of Kaplan as soon as I can, it is the worst value in terms of actual learning to cost.

  3. The fact that this is part of the for-profit Kaplan test-prep company biases me against them.

    A quote from the fine print on their website:

    “About Kaplan Higher Education and Kaplan, Inc.
    Kaplan Inc.’s higher education division, including Kaplan University and Concord Law School, is comprised of 68 campus-based locations in 16 states. Kaplan Higher Education offers master, bachelor and associate degrees, as well as certificates designed to provide students with the skills necessary to qualify them for employment in the fields of business, criminal justice, education, fashion and design, healthcare, information technology, legal and paralegal studies. Kaplan, Inc., which has been helping people achieve their goals for 66 years, provides educational and career services to students, schools, professionals, and businesses worldwide. Kaplan is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO). For more information about Kaplan, Inc., please visit http://www.kaplan.com.”

  4. I would have to say that the ffirst one is really good, the second one is a little too much but still good.
    What do I know, I have no idea where to go to college, these adds are very good, it gets the messege by but it does not take a while to figure it out.

    I really liked them

    🙂 Karen 🙂

  5. Interesting and thought provoking commercials for sure. Great work with them…. It pushes a number of important questions about what the future of education will look like. Will the role of the teacher becaome more important? Will who you studied under be more important than the name of the school on the diploma?

  6. I like the message. But I’d like to know more than a pitch, such as what Kaplan does that is really different other than the media. Also, I’d feel better about them if they weren’t the object of several legal actions.

  7. It looks to me like Corporate Education.

    Are those much different than these:



    Beware of big marketing budgets. They can hide the truth.

  8. I saw the first one on a television somewhere and the opening remark caught my attention. I knew it was a commercial but I thought it could be almost any education system in the US that could be apologizing for not encouraging the sharing of talent. I am not sure if a couple of Kaplan ads are enough to shift the paradigm…but it should spur some conversations

    I remember when the Army first launched eArmyU in 2001. The eArmyU network of education partners is comprised of 31 institutions of higher education that provide approximately 145 degree or certificate programs to eArmyU students. The eArmyU education partners have extensive experience and proven success in online learning. They have delivered more than 3,000 online courses to more than 250,000 students. This program allows many US Army service members to continue education even while deployed in support of worldwide missions.

    Just glad to see people have more options for higher ed, wish the options were available for all students regardless of age and assigned grade. I am sure Kaplan will gain a few more students but I also believe it will spur discussion amongst those who are thinking about returning to school through online options and those who are attending or have attended a variety of online learning environments. The longest journey begins with one step…maybe conversations will support the forward movement in the paradigm shift?

  9. The philosophy being articulated in the ads is excellent (especially the first one with Uncle Phil http://budurl.com/svdq 🙂 but I don’t have a whole lot of respect for Kaplan as an educational institution. For one thing, a large chunk of their profits over the past few years has some from after school tutorial programs paid for by schools under NCLB sanctions.

    Those programs are extremely traditional and have proven to be very ineffective. I just don’t see them doing anything more innovative at the college level, other than putting it all online, of course.

  10. I am in favor or looking to technology for improving the quality of education. I just question how you can get a master’s degree without ever having to have met as a group of graduate students. The strength of both my masters program was the cohort approach and the conversations which were generated from our growing relationship. The CAS program I am now participating in also operates on a cohort model and although we communicate a great deal via e-mail, I am not sure even this blog format could replicate the conversations we have. There is something to be said for face to face interactions, particularly when engaged in philosophical debate. I have also been called on the carpet several times about both my tone and my body language which has made me a much better educational leader and facilitator.
    The other concern I have concerning online learning is the oversight of the learning. How do you even know that the student gaining the degree is even the person doing the work.
    I personnally think that although some quality learning takes place in a variety of ways, independent study courses should not be the only means. If there are not opportunities for learners to share their thoughts and get feed back from peers, even if it is via a blog like this one, then it is not nearly as effective.

  11. Okay.. I’m a cynic… but kids with money go to college.. kids without get online degrees from start up universities all cashing in on the ultimate academic cash cow… everyone wants a future.

  12. The videos are very thought provoking. I think some of what is said is very true and can be applied to the education system, as I feel that there needs to be a switch in traditional didactic instruction. A change needs to happen not just in education, but also in the perception of what a “online” degree is equal too. That being said there is little worse than for-profit education like Kaplan and the former Hamilton Business college.

  13. The ads are intriguing. I’m starting to realize that some of the things they suggest and some of the things I strive for in my class are not just about doing things with new tools (like computers, or cell phones) but about totally changing the way you teach. Instead of the teacher telling the kids the way it is, he’s setting up ways to explore and discover the way it is. Much harder, but if you can do it (and you can’t always) I think it stays with the kids longer.

  14. I saw the Uncle Phil ad on the tele and my first thought was, “Holy crap, that’s Uncle Phil!” On one hand, the aspect of massively incorporating technology into education is certainly a good message, umm, duh. However, I question the “system that changes to meet your wants” paradigm–the Burger King Philosophy. Doesn’t this me-centric approach lead to a me-centric generation with far more self-absorption than we really need? “Don’t worry–can’t work with the system in place? Then the system will change for you individually because you and your needs are the most important things.” While there is something to be said for mass individualized education, isn’t there also something to be said for a system that has an aspect of mass awareness and doesn’t always meet you on your ground?. . I can’t make this make sense without sounding like a blind conformist, chew-em-up-and-spit-em-out-of-the-educational-machine person. I guess that I see tons of evidence in my school and classroom of this 60 minutes piece about the millennials (generation we?) that portrayed a generation of people who think about only themselves well before anyone else:

    Biased–granted. But I think the question is: does this individualized approach to education create a generation that isn’t able to function as well as a community? Are we headed there regardless?

    On another note–While watching Jim Leher News Hour, I saw a story about DC city schools and I was struck by the fact that they’re using chalk boards. True story: I’ve taught for 9 years and never used a chalkboard; I would also be lost without my projector connected to me computer. I am a wimp. I don’t know why this struck me, but that and the ancient relic of a television on the wall that probably wouldn’t support a DVD player much less a BETA made me question the whole “the education system doesn’t need more money” crowd. There’s some truth (more money certainly doesn’t fix it all), but really? Money for technology wouldn’t benefit those schools? Having a functional multi-media classroom wouldn’t help?

  15. I agree with you Chris, but even if we are technology rich and don’t put it in the students’ hands, how is it any more effective. A teacher who shows powerpoint slides which students are to copy might as well have a chalk board. One is just cleaner that the other but no more effective. Students need to use the tools they are proficient in and prefer to use to aid them in learning and demonstrating what they have learned.

  16. The opportunity for more people to access learning in a variety of ways is always a positive for me. The opportunity for people to “buy a degree” concerns me. Without some of the traditional checks and balances, I believe that we are opening ourselves up to that potential. Then again, hasn’t it always been there?

  17. During the Cardinals game today I saw this Spring Blackberry commercial for this first time. Since I’ve got TiVo I don’t usually see many commercials. I’m glad this one caught my eye. Maybe people will start thinking that we do need to run our schools as efficiently and with the same advanced technology we use in business.


  18. correction – “Sprint Blackberry commercial for the first time.”

    Giddiness from the Cardinals win hindered my spelling.

  19. The commercials are well done, more thought provoking than most of the educational related ones I have seen in the past, the notion that traditional higher education is changing is accurate. Honestly, why shouldn’t it, our world has been shaped by technology for centuries, the way we are educated should be too.

    Kaplan is a large corporation with many educational divisions, some traditional some cutting edge. The idea that they are any less an educational institution because one of their divisions is profitable from providing NCLB sanctioned education in a traditional manner, is far stretched. We can’t expect every area of education to be accepting of innovative ways of teaching, no less then we can expect everyone to agree that the non-traditional way Kaplan University provides education is the future.

    The reoccurring phrase used to describe schools like Kaplan; “for-profit” education institution, is an interesting one since most educational institutions strive to make a profit in some form or fashion. Kaplan University is owned by a large media organization and sure it does make a profit however if this profit makes how and what they teach any less valuable, someone needs to show me the statistics.

  20. @ Steve

    So if the “delivery industry” is so effective, how is it that we lose packages and/or can’t track them (as is suggested in the commercial)? By the way, lose one of those “packages” of the student kind, and it’s over – one and done – no excuses, no second chances!

  21. The first thought after watching the Kaplan ads “Wow”. The ad pulls you in without pitching Kaplan but pitches Kaplan very effectively through the visualization in the ad. Great visuals, flow, and message. If only we had the ad money to pitch our school. Kaplan really knows how to hook their customers, they are not hooking the students going to a traditional four year college they are hooking all those on the fringes. Is this bad…not if the courses are quality and deliver what they promise.
    After reading about Kaplan problems I wonder? Cigarette commercials used to be great and promised a lot of things also finding out later the promise also included cancer.
    On-line classes … some are fantastic some are not..depends on the university and the instructor. I will say one thing about on-line classes without a component that includes face to face interactions and experiences.
    You can learn to swim on-line but when the course is completed I sure wouldn’t jump in the lake with out a life jacket.

  22. Online Education is awesome- especially for us with crazy lives. However, I wouldn’t push Kaplan on anyone. I attended a year and it was problem after problem. Not because of no money- my tuition was paid for by VA- and that in itself was an issue. Kaplan thought they had a nice fish on the line they could keep reeling in. Well now my complaints sit with the Dept. of Ed; State Attorney General’s office; State dept. of Ed; and my Senator. There was one thing I learned in their legal program…CYA and I did! Everything Kaplan says they did not do to me I have emails from them saying they were/are doing it to me. 🙂

    Any attorney’s out there looking for a nice big class action?

  23. I think the commercials are poignant and effective to the audience Kaplan is targeting. Many advertisers try to appeal to people’s emotions and these ads are not much different. I agree with some of what is said (technology in education, adapting teaching styles to better suit the needs of students, and encouraging students’ talents), but the overall mantra is a bit shady. Kaplan claims to be a school that meets the needs of each individual, changing and conforming to each student… but is that really wise? Students who are used to a system that “comes to them” will expect no less when entering the work field. I can’t think of a single corporation that will change its policies or expectations based on the individual needs of their employees. I understand that Kaplan is attempting to think outside the box, but until society and business are willing to be so flexible, we would be setting students up for failure.

  24. It’s interesting to see Kaplan branching out with TV ads. This is something I have not seen.

    I graduated from Kaplan in 2008 with my BS IT Degree in Web Development. I disagree with some posts here. I had an income and also a way to have part of my higher education paid for by my company.

    I went to school online because it’s convenient and fitted into my schedule, not because I was poor and couldn’t afford going to school on the ground.

    I’m currently back at Kaplan with a 4.0 in my Master’s degree program. Please show me other students on the ground with grades as high as the ones in my current classes.

    • Th only thing you have to do is the work to keep a 4.0 at Kaplan, and considering that every sinle class I’ve taken so far, (I’m in my 4th term, so 8 classes) as been uter nonsense. They are geared toward people who, for lack of a better word, stupid. I personally did NOT go to highschool, but I did attend my local community college for a while. Lack of transporation led me to online education. In theory, the way Kaplan delivers their education might actually work, but when the discussion boards are consistantly filled with posts that lack anything close to proper grammar, punctuation, or anything resembling independent thought, the whole thing becomes a waste. I have not learned anything that I hadn’t already, either in middle school, or at the community college. For example- both College composition I & II, there is only ONE essay written the entire 9-wk term. When I took this class at the other school, we had 5-6 full essays, each of a different type(informative, persuasive, etc). Kaplan charges over $3,000 to learn how to write an informative essay! And even that is just substandard, as not a single student in my class exhibited college level writing. I am disgusted, and agree with a previous poster about a class action. How, if the quality is so LOW, can a degree frm them have ANY value post-graduation, let alone cost upwards of $30,000 for an associate’s degree? (BTW, when I enrolled, I had been unemployed for nearly 10 years, am on SSI, permanently, yet have been rather forcefully encouraged to take on MASSIVE debt, go figure)

  25. Wow! Really appreciative of the comments I’ve read. I am Jamaican and I recently learnt of Kaplan. I am considering to pursue a Master of Public Health with them. Do you think it is a wise investment? Please advise. I would also like to hear more stories of success though. Thanks in advance.

  26. Just another quick point…This MPH is not very cheap either; when converted to our currency, it would be over 2million dollars! I was told, however, about a “buddy” system which would afford me to do the programme with others at a reduced cost (50%). Now of course, that’s music to my ears, and pocket!!! But are these claims true? How am I protected? Please, please advise. I would love to take this route as it is far more convenient! I already know they’re accredited…I just don’t want to resort (one day) to any legal wrangling!!

  27. Before my last term at Kaplan University I contacted Kaplan about my financial aid situation. I asked them for a loan. The man stated that I could get a Kaplan loan if I applied for a loan and gave them to denials from a loan institution. I did all the things I was supposed to do. After turning in the loan information I waited. No one ever contacted me and i weighed in my concerns. I was then contacted by an Ombudsman. I told her that I would need a loan for my last term since I was only taking 3 credits. She stated to me that I did not need a loan. She said to correct one of my sheets of paper and to turn in a educational expense aplcation. I told her that if I could not get a loan I could not finish school. I had to wait till I got a job so I could pay for the last term payment of $1300. I explained to her more than once the amount of credit hours I was going to have. She had my information right there and knew I only had one class to take. She also had my inforamtion about how many credit hours I had left to complete school. I filled out the paper work that she told me to. She stated that I was APPROAVED for $1994 for my first term in the year and an additional $1995 for the last term. I asked her how this was possible and she said it is because I changed the paper and accounds for funding were now based on yearly instead of by term. Ok, so got all the paper work and the money started coming. I recieved x amount of dollars. Then go to find out that I did not get approved for any of the money. I went from a balance of $0 to $2800 because your institution sent back money I was supposably approaved for. How is it that an employee of your could lie and sceam so much? Could it be possible this is how your company tells them to do it when a students says they need a loan or want to take a leave because they cant pay for the last term. I want my degree and the money taken off. If someone makes a mistake then it is their responsibility to fix it. I did not want any money i could not pay and I made this clear. Your ombudsman said It was mine and everything was approved even after the fact I only had 3 credit hours left. I left my trust in you so knowldgable staff. I have tried to get this fixed and all I get is “I am working on it.” After three years with this school I passed my academics I did my part. Now I want the degree I worked so hard for and I want my account cleared. Why shoul me and my family suffer for a mistake on you employees part?


  1. Should I go to Drexel University and take psychology program online ? | World University Information - May 26, 2010

    […] Kaplan University ads | Dangerously Irrelevant […]

Leave a Reply