NCU’s Rigorous Curriculum Helps Students Prepare for Licensing Exams

Jennifer Weniger, PhD

Choose an Education That Helps You Think Independently and Critically

For many, the decision to complete an advanced degree doesn’t come easy. Considerable time can be spent examining academic and professional goals and weighing them against time and cost. Then the search begins for an accredited institution with a degree program that aligns with goals and life factors.

It was certainly not a decision Jennifer Weniger, PhD made lightly. In 2001, her search for a doctoral program that would prepare her for the California psychologist’s licensure exam led her to an online program that was newly established and unaccredited. She believed that the curriculum would adequately train her for the exam and at a reasonable cost.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Although the program met California’s state requirements Dr. Weniger still did not feel prepared. “I had to study 250 hours to pass my licensure exam,” she explained. “I passed because of my efforts, and not because of the program.”

Dr. Weniger understands the challenges of academia. She started college when she was just 14-years old, taking community college courses while still enrolled in high school. At 16, she began full-time as a college sophomore. This part-time college instructor, researcher and doctoral candidate (again!) knows what it takes to get ready for an exam.

NCU’s Academic Quality Provides Applicable Knowledge

After graduating in 2003, Dr. Weniger, a licensed psychologist and MFT, practiced and supervised clinical staff, but then discovered she could make a bigger difference as a teacher. Today she teaches college students part-time and conducts research on suicide assessment, risks and protective factors.  

Dr. Weniger decided to earn a second doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution to keep up with the rapid changes in the mental health field. This time, she is pursuing her Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology at Northcentral University.  NCU’s relevant and rigorous coursework and feedback met Dr. Weniger’s standards.

“My NCU classes required a five- to seven-page paper each week. That level of rigor keeps you engaged and focused,” she said. “The feedback I get is a higher level of critical thinking and is much more constructive.”

She explained that the educational platform focuses on the student and challenges them to think about complex issues on their own. “The professors provide good, critical feedback,” Dr.  Weniger said. “Instead of providing an answer, it’s ‘go out there and think about it, research it and come back to us.’”.

When choosing a PhD program, Dr. Weniger advised selecting a rigorous university that meets your budget. “NCU is competitive, but some schools are much more expensive. I see a lot of students choosing expensive degree programs and getting $150,000- $200,000 in debt. It hurts my heart to see good, educated people accumulate such debt. Borrow responsibly and choose a competitive school.”