How I Almost Got Scammed

About two weeks ago, in my thirst for higher education, knowledge, and credentials, I almost got scammed by an organization miles away from where I am. It’s a good thing that I had the presence of mine to have become alerted by what you would call “red flags” that would indicate a diploma mill. I thank God for having given me enough wisdom not to be ensnared by the Atlantic International University.

For those who know me, I only had private lessons as my formal training in music (piano and guitar), and everything else I know I have learned on my own through stacks of music textbooks, the times I sneaked into a music conservatory library, stacks of sheet music, numerous recordings, concert attendances, band experience, and experimentation. Such effort has led me to become the freelancing professional that I am now. However, I wanted to take this to a more advanced level, and so for years I had searched for ways where I can manage to get a conservatory-equivalent education while keeping up with the demands of daily life. Unfortunately for me, I stumbled across Atlantic International University. It was a regrettable experience to have crossed paths with them.

I made an inquiry about their online degree program in music via email. I never expected to get such a fast reply. I even received a phone call regarding getting admitted into their university. The admissions department of AIU called me up late night for an interview. What happened next made me suspicious about the organization. They said they were a university based in Hawaii.

I shot straight to the point and asked about fees, scholarships, and financial assistance. Ms. Meyers positively responded that they had a partial scholarship. What shocked me was the fact that they wanted me to either pay the program fee in full or go under a financing plan that required me to pay an enrollment/reservation fee within 24 hours to make sure that I can avail a scholarship of $1,500. They seem to be very hungry for money if they wanted me to pay immediately without any sort of competence testing for a scholarship or a more rigorous interview process.

I looked at their website and they are not accredited. I tried to see if they had a curriculum structure similar to what I see in reputable schools like Berklee; they had none. I did some more digging and I found out the sad truth: Atlantic International University is a diploma mill according to a variety of sources I have read. Its astonishing to see how easily I have been approved for a scholarship. Add to that the fact that the “university” is nudging me to pay them $150 within 24 hours sounds fishy.

To cut the long story short, I sent AIU an email stating that I wasn’t interested anymore.

If you stumble across Atlantic International University, FLEE IMMEDIATELY! You’ve been warned.

There are many times when we can get caught up in many things that we want along with the excitement that various prospects bring. Such elation can lead to rash decisions that we more than likely to regret some time later. It pays well to pause, step back, and then make a logical evaluation of things before making a decision. Most important of all is a prayer to God before making a decision. Proverbs 14:15 (KJV) says, “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” On a later chapter, Proverbs 21:5 (Again KJV) states that “The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.” We ought not to be hasty or be swayed by emotion; otherwise, we fall, and falling hurts really bad.


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