Sunday, June 21, 2015

3 Things to Check before You choose an Online University!

Thinking of earning a degree online? Then there are things you need to consider first!
While earning a degree online is more prevalent than ever before, there are still some prejudices about their validity. Some employers and HR/Screening Professionals are concerned that an education earned solely online doesn't carry the same weight as one earned in the "traditional" way. That is why it becomes vital that when picking an online university that you choose wisely!

Your Online Degree is equal to a "traditional" degree!  “Tweet This”

The reality is, if it wasn’t for the availability of online classes, many would be unable to pursue a degree at all.  

The high cost of education makes it necessary for some to hold down a full time or at least a part time job in order to pay for it. Online classes offer these students the only viable option to fit it all in.

There are also times when other responsibilities, like having a spouse or children, can make it hard to fit traditionally scheduled classes into their lives. Even the commute both to and from school can be a challenge.

And in the time of a pandemic, choosing to attend a university online may be the safest way to go!
Due to business closures, lay-offs, and cut-backs, many adults have either lost their jobs or see little hope of being recalled. And even if they do go back to their previous employer, they may be facing decreased hours or less favorable schedules. These factors may lead them to consider a career change.

Choosing to go back to school is often a great option for gaining new skills, brushing up on existing ones, or even exploring new fields. Online classes are perfect for these “non-traditional” students.

For these types of students, the flexibility of earning an Online Degree shines.  

Despite the obvious plusses of earning a degree online, there still exists the question of whether they are really as good as a more traditional degree. And worries that they are not respected by employers are not completely unfounded. 

The bottom line is, not all Online Degrees are created equal.

This is where being diligent and doing your homework before you apply to any online university is crucial. Finding an online university that fills these 3 Criteria is key. 

Thinking of applying to an Online University? 3 Questions You need to Ask Now!

Is your choice of school an Accredited Institution?
This is Number One for a reason. Where you get your online degree matters. Only fully accredited institutions carry the weight necessary to garner respect and get you the job you want.

Before applying, you should be absolutely certain to verify (ideally through the department of education) that your school has been accredited. If not, don’t apply.  

Only schools that are accredited have successfully fulfilled all the strict standards necessary to earn that status. They have been evaluated on their mission and goals, admission requirements, education quality, faculty, and student services. They are also subject to peer review for renewal of that status.

Going to an accredited school protects students and graduates. Students know that they are attending a reputable school. Graduates have earned a degree from a respected institution that can lead to better employment opportunities. 

Accredited schools carry with them a measure of credibility and a stronger reputation.

These same benefits apply to an accredited online degree. And it should not matter whether you earn your degree from a solely online institution or one that is attached to an existing “brick and mortar” school.

Your school being accredited is what matters. In our experience, most employers do not focus on how you earned your degree (online or not). What is important, however, is the university’s reputation and quality. Being accredited goes a long way towards establishing this.

That is why doing your research before applying will save you from problems later.

Will your Online Degree be Easy to Verify?
If your online degree is difficult to verify, it can be frustrating to employers, background check providers, and even to you.  When you apply for a job, often the first impression you make is through your resume. Having information that is easy to verify is a great start to impressing your potential employer. Discover more about Making Your Resume “Background Check Ready” here.

Before you enroll in any online university, make sure there is an easy way to contact them online and by phone. Ideally, there should be a dedicated Registrar, or equivalent, that will handle verification and transcript requests.  

Attempting to validate a degree where there is no clear contact information to be found causes problems. In fact, employers may simply move on to another candidate when this occurs.  

After all your hard work, losing a job because of this makes no sense. Once again, do your homework before you apply! 


Does your Online University Fit Your Goals?
No matter what kind of degree you pursue, whether it is online or traditional, make sure that the school you choose specializes in programs that will help you to reach your goals.  

Just being a good school is not enough. You need to know that when you graduate, you will have the strong skills you need to get the job you want.  

This is even more important to non-traditional students who are often older and more focused on what they want to achieve in earning a degree. Meeting those goals should be your ultimate priority.

This is really what employers are looking for. They want to hire candidates that bring with them the initiative and dedication it takes to earn a degree and the knowledge and skills necessary to excel at their job.  

That is why graduating with a degree that helps get you there makes sense.

Did you know that according to a U.S. Department of Education study, online education can actually be more effective than "face-to-face" learning, especially at the college level?

In “Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies”, it was discovered that; 

1) Distance higher education is more effective and than traditional face-to-face learning; 

2) Distance higher education combined with some traditional learning (blended or hybrid learning) is the most effective; 

3) Face-to-face learning alone is the least effective method among the three types studied.

In addition, online education can often take a higher level of motivation and discipline than traditional education. Having to work on a degree in addition to meeting your “real-life responsibilities” is hard. Being successful at it should be respected.

The truth is, Online Education is not a thing of the future. It is the reality of the world we live in. More and more of our lives are “online”, from our work to our personal lives, so why wouldn’t education follow suit?   
As long as it is from an accredited institution, Your Online Degree counts and, if you do your homework, it will be given the same respect as any other degree earned. You can learn more about the validity of Online Degrees in "Online Degrees ~ What You need to Know Now!".
Good Luck!
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