How I discovered the University of the People
I always wanted to study Computer Science, and here in Porto Alegre has one of the best courses, but I never felt capable enough. Besides not feeling able, I still suffered from anxiety and panic attacks, which made me give up everything I started: college, courses, jobs.
Then I got pregnant and I had Giovanna, the most wonderful daughter in the world, but it made it even harder to fulfill my dream because I needed to work all day.
I gave up. It was not going to be in this life. I settled.
In May of last year (2017), in a Facebook group, I discovered the University of the People. You can not describe that moment. When I clicked on that link and entered that site my life changed! After I read everything to make sure I could go to college, I started to cry! I did not believe that I was going to finally realize a dream that I had already given up!
But what is UoPeople?
The University of the People, affectionately known by UoPeople, is an international university, 100% online and low cost. It can be taken from anywhere in the world.
It has the same process as other universities: the student makes the registration, pays the registration, waits to be accepted, when it is accepted makes the confirmation of the university registration, has the process of registration in the discipline(s), deadlines, evaluations, grades, final exams, sending documents to the university, etc.
The university website has all the information about it, disciplines, values, dates, deadlines, etc.
Anyone interested in the university I recommend to enter the site and read everything. In the university catalog you have all the information.
But since I am a cool person, I am going to answer the most common questions I get when they want to know about the university.
How many disciplines can I do per semester?
UoPeople does not work per semester, but per term. Each term in the university lasts 9 weeks, approximately 2 months. Of the 9 weeks, there are 8 weeks for content and activities — with weekly deadlines — and the ninth week is reserved for the final exam. There are 5 terms per year.
As the terms are shorter than a normal semester, the ideal for a term, according to the university, are up to three disciplines.
The number of courses allowed will also depend on your current accumulated grade, if the grade accumulated in the last courses is too low they will not allow you to enroll in more than one course, but if the grade is high, they will allow you to enroll in 3 disciplines per term.
How are the classes and how are the assessments done?
Each discipline has 8 weeks of content, ie 8 units. Each week the corresponding unit with unit readings and unit activities is available. Each unit starts on Thursday and ends on the Wednesday of the following week. All activities have delivery deadline that week! If you miss the deadline, there will be no grade for that activity.
The materials are usually in text, to facilitate for those who do not have a good internet access or who accesses by the cell phone.
There are several types of activities during the unit, in some of them students evaluate each other’s activities, but always with the supervision of the instructor of the discipline.
Each discipline has its activities with its corresponding weights. When the student has access to Moodle, he/she will also have access to the syllabus of each discipline, containing all content, content of each unit, activities and their respective weights, as well as the passing grade of that discipline.
It is important to reserve time in the week to take the readings and activities in a calm way, since the course is well-drawn, and it is good not to leave for the last hour, to avoid being unable to finish in the deadline.
How much is the tuition?
There is no monthly fee. The university tries to keep donations and volunteers to keep it at a low cost. The only charge is for the final exam of each course, which costs $ 100 each.
If it is made a discipline per term, the cost will be $ 100 every 2 months or so.
How much will I spend during the course?
The associate is composed of 20 disciplines (between required and elective), which can be completed in up to 25 terms, so the total cost of it will be $ 2000.
The bachelor is composed of 40 disciplines (between required and elective), which can be completed in up to 50 terms, so the total cost of it will be $ 4000.
Do I need to be fluent in English?
It is not necessary to be fluent, but you must have a minimum of knowledge of the language to be able to read and write in English, even if it is initially with the help of external sources such as Google Translate, Grammarly, etc.
If the student does not have an IELTS or TOEFL certificate, they will automatically take the English Composition I discipline for language leveling. It is a prerequisite to being effectively enrolled in the university.
This discipline is very good, it forces us to read and write a lot. I am reading and writing in English more naturally after it, and each time I need less help from outside sources.
What is this proctor?
Proctor is nothing more than a person who will accompany the student during an exam to prove that it was made without the use of any kind of help.
The proctor is needed in some university disciplines, not in all of them.
You have the option of online proctor and offline proctor.
Proctor online is through a website where the student makes his/her registration and schedules a time for a person to access his computer and his webcam at the time of the exam.
Proctor offline is a person who will accompany the student physically at the time of the exam, not being able to be a family member, nor any person who can have any gain with the result of that exam.
I did a summary above, to learn more about the exam with a proctor there is a text of UoPeople itself explaining about it.
How is the university admission process?
Registration at the university can be done at any time, but it is always good to follow the admissions calendar, not to miss the deadline to start in the next term.
I will list the main steps:
- Application: In this link, you will find the explanation of the application process which consists of filling out the form with your data and pay the application fee, which at the time of this post is $ 60. At that moment the student has to check if they already have some proof of English proficiency, this link has the possible ways to make this proof.
- Acceptance at UoPeople: After the application comes a tricky part, withstanding the anxiety until you get some response from the university! It takes a little bit, sometimes it takes a bit, but the positive response comes!
- Confirmation: At some point, before you no longer have nails to gnaw or hair to boot, the email arrives notifying you that you have been accepted into university, with a link to click and confirm entry into UoPeople!
- Scholarship: There is the possibility of obtaining a scholarship to finance part of the value of the exams. At the time of confirmation of admission to the university, you will have an option to click if you do not have the financial conditions to bear the costs of the exams. At this point, I ask everyone to take an examination of their conscience and see if they can not afford it at all because there are people all over the world who want to take a course in higher education and often in a situation much worse than yours (refugees, women in situations of domestic violence, street people, among many others), who will be competing for the same scholarship.
- Beginning of classes: After the registration, acceptance, and confirmation you need just to wait for the classes to begin. For the first term, the university that enrolls the student in the discipline(s).
Those who have not demonstrated their proficiency in English will take English Composition I, which is a prerequisite to being effectively enrolled in the university.
Those who have demonstrated proficiency in English will go straight to two basic university disciplines, also automatically enrolled by the university.
- Sending the documents: When the student is enrolled in these two basic subjects it is now the time to start translating the high school certificate/history to send to the university.
The documents must have a notarized translation and can be sent (original and translated) by email to the university.
More information about sending the documents in this link.
Remembering that in any of these phases the university will send e-mails reminding of deadlines or warnings, and any extra questions the student has can answer these emails asking. They sometimes take time to respond, because they are all volunteers, but they always respond.
My first 5 months at the university
Summary: I am happy and fulfilled!
Now let’s get to the facts.
In my first term, I made the required discipline English Composition I. I read a lot, I wrote a lot, learned to do essays, learned to make in-text citations and references in my writing, and each time I needed less the help of Grammarly.
At the final exam, I was extremely nervous, not so much about the content of the exam, but because the exam was with an online proctor, taking care of me all the time, and I was afraid that my daughter and my father, whom I had asked to go out, enter here in my room. I was nervous from start to finish.
Even so, I did not find the exam difficult. They say that the exam has nothing to do with the content of the discipline, but for me it has. The discipline has a lot of reading, a lot of writing, which makes us practice grammar a lot, consequently. The exam is practically only grammar. So for me, it’s all about one thing with another.
In the second term, after passing the final exam of English, the student is enrolled in two disciplines by the university, I was enrolled in Online Education Strategies and Globalization. I thought that I would not be able to take the two disciplines with good grades, and since Online Education Strategies is a required discipline and prerequisite for all the others, I canceled Globalization.
Note: To cancel a course without appearing as a history drop, the cancellation must be done until the first week of the term.
Online Education Strategies is a very interesting discipline, it leaves you on top of all the teaching processes of the university, gives you many learning tips and has a lot of reading and writing practice. It’s one more discipline that, knowing how to take advantage of, you can take very good things out of it.
I just started the third term. From the third term, the student can make his own enrollment. I enrolled in the first discipline of Computer Science: Programming Fundamentals, an introductory course using Python!
The student does not start programming right away, there is a lot of theory and a lot of history before that, which I think is great!
I’m just in the third week of this term and I’ve learned a lot! And of course, I keep writing a lot!
I do not recommend this university for those who do not like to write, to read, to research and to reason. There we have to use a lot of logic, argumentation, research, learn to structure a text well, make citations correctly, and use that throughout the course.
We also have to be able to read and interpret the texts of colleagues, we have to know how to respond and evaluate without personal judgments, but rather evaluating the text, the argument, the structure, and responding correctly, in the same way.
I recommend, first of all, to read the information on the university website, download the catalog and read. It has everything there. Here I summarized some information, but I recommend starting to practice reading in English by looking for the information in the catalog.
UoPeople also has a blog with several very interesting articles for those who are entering or wanting to enter university. I recommend reading!
If you do not have the habit of reading and writing, but you want to start: go deep! It’s an apprenticeship that will take you a lifetime!