Kenyata Finley-Fletcher

Don’t assume anything about any online university. Ask a lot of questions and do online research on the school before choosing where to invest your time, energy and money.


Walden University


Master of Arts in Community Counseling, Concordia University (2009); Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Science, Chicago State University (2006)


PhD in Human Services


Public Health


Why did you decide to attend Walden University to get your PhD in human services?

I decided to attend Walden University for my PhD in human services because the program was convenient and the university has a strong social justice mission. Walden University’s human services program is geared toward individuals who are trying to make a change in the world, especially in underprivileged and underserved areas, and I was drawn to that mission. In addition, studying online through Walden allows me the flexibility to continue working.

What are your school’s biggest strengths?

Walden University’s biggest strength is that they are helpful. They are with me every step of the way. They are personable and understanding, and they are available any time I have a question. I feel that Walden takes a genuine interest in my success in the program.

Do you view Walden University as a community?

In my experience, it seems like traditional schools have more of a community feel than my online school. However, I have developed a few relationships with my peers during our residency, and I have also had classes with a few of the same people. Although I am used to more traditional school communities, I have been able to develop a support system at Walden.

Does Walden University have brick-and-mortar campuses?

Walden University has a facility in Minnesota, but I don’t know if it is actually a campus. There are no campuses near me.


How are you paying for college?

I am paying for college with student loans. My loans cover the cost of tuition, but I pay for my books out of my own pocket. If the loans equal more than my tuition costs, I receive the surplus to help with living expenses.

Do you feel like your overall cost of education is more or less than the cost of a degree at a traditional institution?

I compared the cost of Walden to a few brick-and-mortar schools, and also to 2 other large online schools. Surprisingly, Walden was slightly cheaper than any other schools I looked into, both online and traditional.

Admissions Requirements

Can you describe the admissions process from start to finish?

The admissions process at Walden University was simple and fast. I was accepted only 1 week after I applied. In my application, I included transcripts, a letter of recommendation and a personal statement. I also did not have to pay an application fee.

What did you write about in your personal statement?

In my personal statement, I wrote about my background and why I wanted to earn a PhD at Walden. I also described my views on social change and how society could be reorganized to better distribute wealth between everyone, rather than amassing wealth and resources for the benefit of a small group of people.

How many letters of recommendation did you submit in your application?

I only submitted 1 letter of recommendation with my application. I asked a professional contact who knew me personally and could speak about my work ethic and career aspirations.

Do you have any insight on how Walden University weighs the different parts of an admissions application?

No, I do not know how Walden weighs the different parts of an application. I only know that Walden looked at my grade point average, my interest in their school, my personal interests and the accreditation of my past schools.

During the admissions process, did you interact with an admissions advisor?

Yes, I was assigned an enrollment advisor based on my research interests. My advisor was extremely helpful and made sure that I was clear about the program and its requirements.

Classroom Experience

How is class material presented?

Class materials are primarily presented through online discussion boards and traditional textbooks. There are also occasional video clips to watch online. I can log in at any time, but I am required to post a certain number of times on the discussion board. There is also a resource link on the class website where I can find all of the class assignments.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of this style of presentation?

The biggest benefit to having my class materials online is that I can work at my convenience. I have taken trips to Jamaica and Florida during school periods because I can do my schoolwork anywhere and anytime, as long as I have a computer. I love the flexibility.

The only drawback is that I have to be strict with myself about time management and organization. There is no one to look over my shoulder and make sure I read my textbook or do my assignments on time, like there might be in a traditional classroom.

Are you able to stay engaged in your online coursework?

Yes, I am able to stay engaged. I feel that I am able to learn as much studying online as I did in a traditional classroom because my professors and classmates are always available via e-mail to help me out.

Do your professors encourage class participation?

Yes, students are required to participate through the class discussion boards. Professors post discussion questions and students are required to answer thoughtfully. Each student is also required to ask additional questions or respond to the posts of other students. I am able to learn a lot from my class discussions.

What method of communication do you use to keep in touch with your professors?

I usually communicate with my professors via e-mail. I regularly e-mail them, sometimes every day. It depends on the clarity of the professor. When I have professors who are crystal clear in their instructions and feedback, then I do not need to e-mail them as often.

Can you rate the faculty on a scale of Excellent, Good, Average, Poor, Extremely Poor, in terms of:

Criteria Rating Reasons
Overall Excellent My professors have provided great support.
Qualifications Excellent Professors have doctoral degrees.
Knowledgeable Good Some professors do not have knowledge of APA citation conventions.
Lectures 1) Content: Good

2) Clarity: Good

Assignments 1) Content: Good

2) Clarity: Good

Grading 1)Relevance: Good

2)Reasonable: Good

3)Clarity: Excellent

4)Assistance Provided: Excellent 

5) Feedback Given: Good

The discussions are very reasonable, and the papers vary in length.
Responsiveness Good
Reliability Excellent
Interest taken in class as a whole Excellent
Interest taken in student as an individual Good Professors seem to treat the students the same.

What resources does Walden University provide to help you succeed in the classroom?

Walden provides great resources, including an online writing center and an online library. I have dyslexia, so I constantly use the tutors in the writing center to proofread my papers. In fact, I have a standing appointment with a tutor there. She provides me audio responses, in addition to written responses, so I can fully understand what feedback she is giving me.

Walden University also provides an excellent career center to students. They help students narrow down their career interests and plan an appropriate curriculum based on those interests.

What advice would you give to students to help them succeed in an online classroom?

I would recommend that other students in online classrooms try to manage their time wisely. They should be dedicated and serious about doing the program. Without self-motivation, it is essentially impossible to succeed in an online classroom environment.


Why did you choose to enroll in your human services program?

I chose to enroll in my human services program because it is the umbrella over the field of social services. I felt that this particular program would open up job possibilities within the social services arena.

Does your program include a dissertation component?

Yes, I have a dissertation component in my human services PhD program. I am required to pick a dissertation chair, as well as a legal person to check my finished dissertation for plagiarism. I am also required to present my dissertation orally and defend it before those people in order to graduate.

Are you given an advisor to assist you through the dissertation process?

Yes, I will choose a faculty head to assist with my dissertation. However, I am still in my first year and have not reached that stage in my program.

Does your program have a residency requirement?

Yes, I am required to complete 4 residencies. I can choose from a few different locations based on my own needs. The only downside to the residencies is the cost to travel to them. The residency tuition is included in the overall program costs, but there are no campuses near me, so I need to pay for my flight, hotel and food.

I have completed 1 of my residencies already. I attended daily seminars from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. for 4 days. I also met with faculty members to discuss research and dissertation topics. In addition, there was a career services center and a writing center that I could use at my residency.

What are your program’s biggest strengths and weaknesses?

The biggest strength of the program is just the program itself. Overall, it is great. The only weakness in the program is the online communication. Sometimes, I would prefer to communicate with my professors verbally, rather than via e-mail.

If you were to do it again, would you sign up for Walden University’s PhD program in human services?

I am not sure if I would sign up for the human services program again, just because I am still deciding if it is the right program for my career goals. I am in the process of working with the university’s advisors to determine what focus I want to take in my career, because until I can put my goals into words, I can’t say if I am in the right program.


What general advice would you give to a student who is considering a PhD in human services at Walden University?

If you are considering a PhD in human services at any online university, the best advice I can offer is to thoroughly research the program and the school. For 1 thing, you should make sure the school and program are fully accredited. I have friends enrolled at another large online university that failed to notify my friends when their program lost accreditation, basically rendering their degrees useless. Don’t assume anything about any online university. Ask a lot of questions and do online research on the school before choosing where to invest your time, energy and money.