I am a recent graduate of Fortis College and wanted to share some of my experiences from during the time I attended the program. I’ll start out with the few positive things I have to say about the school. I believe anyone who can make it through the program will be well prepared for their NCLEX. That being said you must be able to teach yourself the majority of the content because there is not time in class to go over everything, and as a student you are held responsible for knowing all of the content covered in each textbook. Now I’ll address the issues I faced on a department by department basis.
Admissions- This was the easiest admissions process I have ever been through (I’ve applied and been admitted to about 10 various schools across the country). The fact that it is so easy shows that the school does not screen candidates for an appropriate fit, but just wants to increase numbers, and hey every student that is admitted makes at least an extra $5000 for the school per quarter they make it through. The admissions staff also give a very deceptive view of the program. I understand their job is sales and so this part will probably never change (it is a business after all), but that’s why I’m here to give you a more realistic view. I was told that many students are able to work full time throughout the program. This is not true. In my graduating class only one student worked throughout the entire program. I was told by the admissions staff that nearly everyone graduates, and they didn’t know anyone in particular who had failed the exit exam. I don’t know if they are just ignorant or choose not to look at the results so they can continue to tell this lie, but many people fail the exit exam (some people multiple times which extends the length of the program at least 3 months after every 2 attempts). The admissions staff make the program appear easy, and it is not. It is extremely difficult and many people fail. My original cohort had 26 students. Of the 26 only 4 remained in the program, and only 1 completed the program in the 2 years that the program is designed to take.
Financial Aide- This school has screwed up the billing and financing of nearly every student I know that attends Fortis on multiple occasions. Their system is setup to auto charge students for random things like immunizations and physicals, even if you are not having those things provided by the school. Unless the student notices these charges and has them removed from their account they are over billed. During my final week at Fortis, every person in my graduating class was pulled into the financial aid office and either told they owed the school more money and would not receive transcripts until they could pay or they were told the school owed them money. That’s great I guess if you over payed and now the school owed you money, but the fact that this happened with at least a dozen students shows serious flaws in their billing methods. These obvious flaws make it hard to trust that they are doing anything correctly with the $46000 you’re spending on your education. About half way through my program I was told I could no longer attend class because I had an outstanding balance. However, I had actually prepaid several months and was ahead but because it was inputted into the computer incorrectly I was not allowed to attend class. Not only that I was told it was my fault, and that I needed to make sure it was inputted properly to show that my balance was not past due. I essentially had to hold their hand through the process of doing their own job.
The Dean and President of the school- There is absolutely no consistency whatsoever in the leadership over the nursing program. There were 4 or more deans during the 2 years I attended (I don’t know the exact number because I lost track). How could any program succeed and grow if they are under new leadership at least every 6 months. You also have to wonder why nobody wants to invest in the school and stay for any decent amount of time. The faculty give the impression of being open to constructive criticism and are always asking for feedback, however concerns do not get addressed. Most of the issues I’m mentioning here today I was afraid to bring up for fear of being kicked out of the program. About a year into the program I had some serious concerns about a class and the way it was being ran. I brought these concerns to the teacher who did nothing. I then went up the chain of command to the dean. About a week later I was pulled into the Dean’s office and given a written warning for being a bully and told that if it happened again I would be dismissed from the program. Any concerns with the school I have had since that day I have kept to myself out of fear. Me and other students were scared into submission, and once you’ve invested $46,000 dollars I wasn’t willing to risk being kicked out for trying to improve the program for the students behind me.
General Education Instructors- The general education teachers I had were good for the most part. The only issue I had was with an instructor (who no longer teaches) that was unable to keep professional boundaries with students. She is friends with many students on Facebook, and I was very bothered when she spoke about a student on Facebook saying that she had told him that day that he would never make it through the program. She didn’t mention names, but it is completely unprofessional to have the social interactions she had with students.
Nursing Instructors- Some of the nursing staff was good, but education affiliates (EA) who owns Fortis does all of the teachers a disservice. They don’t give them any freedom to teach in a way that would be effective (this is why you must be a self-learner to succeed at this school). EA writes the syllabus for the instructor, chooses the text book, writes the tests, and provides the power points. The instructors don’t get to see the tests prior to giving them so they have no clue if the content on the test was covered in class or the textbook. And many times the test content did not match the syllabus causing many students to fail tests. The nursing faculty is short staffed (I guess that’s just part of being a nurse in any setting), but this causes teachers to not follow through with anything they say they will do. By the end of my program I took anything any teacher told me as a grain of salt, because I had been let down on multiple occasions by every professor. During the program you are treated like a high school student not an adult. You are spoke down to and belittled. Students are told on a regular basis that they are “high risk for failing”. This does nothing for the student other than demoralize them and make them feel like a failure.
I could go on and give more specific examples, but I wanted to keep things broad to give you an idea of the issues you may encounter at Fortis. Just know that every school has its problems. There is no perfect school, but be aware of the problems the school you are attending has. Ask lots of questions before attending, and be sure this is what you really want. If I could do it all over again would I go to Fortis probably not. If someone I cared about was interested in attending I would discourage them, but you have to decide for yourself. Just do your research.
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