When I attended Carrington College it was known as Western Career College (You Can Do It!). Attending this college was the worst mistake I’ve ever made.
Fresh out of high school, and barely eighteen years old, I began researching colleges in the Sacramento Area, and received numerous phone calls from different trade schools as a result of my internet search. The most persistent was Western Career College (now known as Carrington). The “counselor” (better known as a recruiter), called multiple times a day and finally convinced me to come in for a meeting, despite how many times I told her that I was uninterested in joining the medical or dental field; needles, blood and gore freaked me out. “Oh, but we have so many other programs available” she insisted, and I caved.
The “meeting” to discuss the programs was actually more like a pressure sale, similar to buying a car. The counselor, swore I’d just be great in their Medical Billing and Coding Program, which would teach me to be a medical coder and making $60,000 per year to start. She promised a fast track to financial comfort, as the program was only a year and a half long, and she guaranteed placement outside of the program. She shoved me in a room to take a placement test, which was the easiest test I’ve ever taken, had me signed some papers and said I’d be starting on a month, provided I could get my parents to co-sign on a loan.
Two days later my mom came with me to the “college”, she was skeptical and asked all the right questions. Her worries were erased when they told her that they were in fact an accredited college, and that all units were transferable to other schools. They promised an associates degree in a year and half for a small cost of $27,000. Unfortunately, they talked my mom into it as well. The papers were signed, we were approved and I was set to start school.
My schedule was Mon-Thursday 6:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. Two hours in a “general education” course and then two hours in my medical billing and coding course. Except, on the first day of school my classmates (many who’d been there for months already) warned me, you’ll learn no coding at this school. Many warned me to drop it now while I still had the chance to get my loan refunded. Medical Billing, they told me was all I’d be taught and that was something you absolutely didn’t need any college for. I immediately questioned my counselor about it and she insisted that was ludicrous and to wait it out a week and see how I’d like it. I did, but in the second week of school my medical billing teacher was fired, and they brought in a medical assistant teacher to teach our class instead. I realized quickly that this school was unorganized. I tried to drop out then, but my first loan payment had already been dispersed and was “non refundable”. “You might as well stay until the next course, since you already paid for it”. The third week of school they hired a new teacher who was more versed in medical billing, and I asked him “when will we be learning about coding?”. His response was this class actually doesn’t teach you to be a coder, but instead just prepares you for it. You don’t get a certificate like they promised we would instead, we’d be “prepared” and we could then decide to further our education and receive a certificate. Many girls walked out that day. I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt since my money was already spent.
I stayed at the school for five months. During that time I finished a full nutrition class and a psychology class along with two billing classes. I was midway through a math class and another billing course when I hit my breaking point. My teacher was consistently not arriving to class, which was irritating because I had a very long drive to school only to be turned away at least once a week. My nutrition teacher quit, and was taken over by the psychology teacher, then when they couldn’t find a math teacher to teach our class, they had the psychology teacher do it. She started the class by saying “I honestly don’t know a thing about math, so this should be fun for all of us”. I felt like I was wasting my time.
I quickly made an appointment with the dean of the school to discuss my concerns. She said that she would look into it. She did, and said I had nothing to worry about that I was still going to get my degree. I wasn’t learning anything, my teacher’s weren’t showing up. I wasn’t getting prepared for the career I was promised. I was wasting $27,000 on a school that was just willing to give degrees to students who aren’t learning anything. I told her I planned on dropping out and wanted to know how I get my transcripts for the classes I had taken. She told me that their “units” were not the same as other college units and therefore another college would not accept the classes as units. I couldn’t believe it. I had been promised the units would transfer, and I had been wasting my time. I demanded a refund of my student loan, I told her that I hadn’t received the services I paid for. She, laughed and said there was nothing they could do for me, that I signed a contract and the money was dispersed.
In five months I learned nothing, I spent more money than I could possibly afford to pay back, and got nothing in return. The classes I took were useless. The time I dedicated showing up to classes that the teachers didn’t show up to was pointless. The entire school was a joke. I fought hard to get refunded, I threatened a lawsuit, they told me they have more funding than I could dream and their lawyers wouldn’t even have to blink to shut my lawsuit down. I am, to this day paying on a loan for a school that was a complete scam. Carrington College was the worst mistake I’ve ever made.