After extensive consideration, I have decided not to attend Merrit College in the fall, and here is why:
1. The College/Department is clearly unorganized and disrespectful. To support this claim, I offer the following examples:
Their correspondence is chock-full of errors. In information about the TEAS, it says that students will be provided with “scrap paper.” Surely they meant scratch paper. Then again, do they even know difference? Directions to the college were copied and pasted haphazardly, resulting in codes of special characters (e.g., a capital A with an accent mark over it, or something to that effect). Moreover, nowhere in their correspondence did it even indicate the building/room number in which the TEAS was to be implemented.
The Department requires that acceptance forms be hand delivered to their office. This is fine with me, yet nowhere does it indicate the days and times that the office is open. Upon arriving at the Department to deliver the form, the door was locked, the office was empty, and a sign on the door indicated “On Break.” OK, fine. I walk around the campus for a while, during which time I realize how poorly kept the campus is. Upon returning more than 30 minutes later, I once again encountered a locked & empty office with the “On Break” sign in the window. Sure, people should be given breaks (it’s the law, after all), and a limited staff can reasonably result in reduced office hours. Obviously, publishing those hours or indicating when the office will reopen (i.e., one of those “we will return at” clocks or a handwritten note) is too much to ask.
2. There are innumerable horror stories about the program.
How many nursing programs have been written up in local newspapers talking about how terrible they are? Complaints run the gamut: inaccurate textbooks, a simulation lab that is only open 2 hours per day and where little if any simulation takes place, tests not related to lecture material, unapproachable and unsupportive teachers, and a system designed to weed out the vast majority of the incoming class.
3. The campus is unattractive.
While in a nice area of town, the campus is nothing to write home about. Upkeep is clearly lacking, and the attitude of the maintenance/janitorial staff seems to be in keeping with that of the administration. There is a large pile of debris in what appears to be the maintenance/receiving area near parking lot D. There is little foliage or other natural beauty to enhance the campus surroundings as can be found at most colleges/universities, even relative to the average California community college.
I have attended a wide spectrum of community colleges, including Diablo Valley College, Contra Costa College, City College of San Francisco & Mission College. Each of these institutions varies widely from one another in character, administrative standards and accountability, demeanor of staff, professionalism, and so forth. When basic standards of accountability and respect and absent, ignorance and mediocrity become commonplace. Staff is unaware of basic policies and procedures as they disseminate incorrect, misleading and ultimately counterproductive information. Consequences for ineptitude are nil, and thus the cycle repeats itself.
Meritt College has all of the warning signs of a dysfunctional institution, and I want no part of it. I am on ADN program wait lists at multiple institutions, and will probably be starting in fall, 2013. Sure, it’s another year away, but I’d rather have a much less stressful life over the next 3 years than subject myself to what is clearly the doldrums of academia.
Nursing school is going to be a major challenge, and I don’t need these kinds of distractions. I’ve been through the community college and the UC systems. Sometimes you have to fight to get through bureaucracies and red tape, but it’s important to choose your battles and stay focused on your education. I do not see how this is possible when the institution you are attending is unable and/or unwilling to inform the student body of essential information (e.g., when an office is open & where a major test will be taking place), use proper English (or something approaching it) and employ proofreading when drafting its publications, let alone lacks functional laboratories, accurate textbooks, or instructors and administrators who give a damn about being part and parcel of a dysfunctional institution.
To those that will flame me for critiquing Merritt College (regardless of their reasons for doing so, some of which may be legitimate): If merely speaking openly and frankly is to be condemned, I will not dignify your disapproval with a response. I harbor no ill will towards Merritt or anyone affiliated with it (faculty, students or staff), and I wish you all the best. Notwithstanding, I believe my critique of your institution is a reasonable one, consisting of reasonable conclusions based on first hand experience.