The desire for distance education has caused an outpouring of new online schools all over the internet. Some of these schools are legitimate and go through the accreditation process. Other schools are merely fronts for diploma mills and lackluster education. Occasionally, employers and other schools view online only schools differently than online classes taken from reputable universities. So how do you know which school gives you the best edge in life? The following advice can help you market yourself and your degree to future employers and academic institutions.
Online only schools do not have a brick and mortar school where they operate. They might have a small office in a strip mall or business center. They may have very little staff even though they offer numerous courses and degrees. However, just because there is no fancy building to visit does not mean the school cannot provide you with a sound education. When researching online only schools, make sure that they are accredited by a regional accreditation agency. Check to see if they have won any recognized awards for online education.
Click on the 'contact us' button on their website and make sure there is an email address, phone numbers and business address. Avoid any online school with only a 1-800 number or email address. After you have done some research, apply and begin enrolling. There are online only schools that offer degrees in business, psychology and liberal arts.
So why do employers view online schools differently than regular schools? Distance education is being embraced by the academic world with open arms and a big smile. To those no longer furthering their education, distance education seems too easy to obtain and not like a real college degree. Big changes always take time to adjust to and become accepted. Therefore, when employers see resumes with online only schools listed as the diploma granting institution, they are unsure about the quality of education you received. The same may be true for certain academic institutions that consider online education inferior to classroom education.
When interviewing, make sure you mention if your degree does not contain any life experience credits. Life experience credits are not as valued by schools or employers because they cannot be validated. If your degree does contain life experience credits, be able to communicate effectively why the degree granting institution felt your life experience was worth college credits. Let them know about relevant projects you worked on, associations or clubs you started or supervised and any other aspect of your education that highlights your strengths.
Overall, you market yourself to a prospective school or employer with enthusiasm and confidence. Do not let anyone make you feel that an online degree is inferior to a traditionally earned degree. Even if you run into a few people unfamiliar with online education, use it as an opportunity to show them how well online degrees prepare students for the future. The key to marketing yourself is showing them how competent you are and how well prepared your college degree has made you.