Not All Online Degrees Are Equal: How to Make Sure that Yours Counts!

Barry Lenson

Not All Online Degrees Are Equal: How to Make Sure that Yours Counts!

“Legitimate organizations are increasingly offering innovative ways of assessing the skills and knowledge that prospective students, especially working adults, already have between their ears—the human capital they’ve accumulated though past schooling, work experience, or independent study—and building on this preexisting knowledge base with carefully tailored coursework . . . One such institution is Western Governors University.”

-          “The Assets between Your Ears” by Kevin Carey, New America Foundation.

With the explosion in online education over the last decade, students have more and more options for earning their degrees online today.  There are for-profit colleges and universities that offer online degrees, independent private colleges that do so too, and even large state universities that offer some or all of their courses online.

With all those choices, how can you make sure that the degree you earn has credibility after you graduate and begin to build your career in the real world? Here are some simple steps to take . . .

  • Earn good grades. That sounds obvious. But earning a good GPA is the first step toward getting people to believe in the value of your degree.
  • Keep track of what you learned in each course you took, and be ready to describe it. When you can talk enthusiastically about what you learned in each of your online courses, they will come alive in the eyes of companies that are hiring.
  • Don’t settle for just any online college or university.  There are less-than-reputable online schools, and there are others that have established excellent reputations for innovation and good quality.  Western Governors University, which is mentioned in the quote that opened today’s post, is one of them.
  • Talk about your degree work as though it were a story. Perhaps you started college studies online while you were in the military, then matriculated at a college when you returned to civilian life, then earned your degree. Your college years are more than a diploma. They represent an important piece of your life that you can talk about compellingly.
  • Find ways to apply your learning in real-world settings.  When you use what you have learned in internships, jobs and other life experiences, you demonstrate that your knowledge has value in the real world. That can earn you respect and make your degree more valuable in the eyes of employers.

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