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Defending Your Degree

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This empowering post comes from the experts at eLearners, “How to Defend Your Online Degree.” In special cases some people need to stand up for the degree they earned online, mainly because it’s still a relatively “new” method of attaining education. The following tips are great to use when discussing your education on your resume with a potential employer, or casually chatting to family or friends about why you chose to earn your degree online.

Repost by: eLearners.com

1. My online school is accredited.

Online colleges and universities who are accredited by an accrediting agency are
required to adhere to the same standards (and a few extras) as traditional,
campus-based schools. Human resources (HR) departments routinely establish
institutional accreditation as a fundamental requirement when evaluating and
accepting an individual’s academic credentials.

A school’s accreditation is an important factor for HR, whether reviewing a job
applicant’s resume or approving a request for tuition assistance/reimbursement.
Accreditation separates legitimate schools from diploma/degree mills. Because
accreditation distinguishes your school from a diploma mill, let people know
your degree comes from an accredited school!

2. I can manage my time effectively.

One of the most important skills online learning teaches you is how to manage
your time effectively. It is advantageous for employers to have individuals on
their team who know how to manage their time effectively.

Illustrate how you were responsible for managing your time by prioritizing and
meeting the deadlines set by your professors. Demonstrate how applying effective
time management practices was the only road to success by explaining how much
advance planning and time was required to complete the coursework.

3. I have a lot of experience with new software and software applications.

List all the computer skills you have acquired from your online degree program,
including troubleshooting your PC. Highlight the software programs you have
utilized, like Microsoft® Office, and your familiarity with posting in forums
and discussions, chat rooms, and synchronous meetings. These skills can be
directly applied to any work environment.

In a global economy, computers are the lifeline of business, and meetings are
often conducted by teleconference, video or web conferencing. Having experience
and familiarity with these types of technology can set you apart from your
peers. You bring experience from your online coursework and know the various
forms of etiquette of these types of communication require. Be certain to
highlight your experience in the area of computers, software applications, and
related technologies.

4. I have excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Every organization value the ability to read and manage the emotions,
motivations, and behaviors of oneself and others in a social-interactive
context. During interviews and reviews, companies must assess and measure those
skills in a candidate or employee. You can demonstrate the strength of your
interpersonal skills by talking about:

  •  online teamwork and the frequency of group projects in your online courses;
  • crafting messages in order to express, clarify or persuade others of your
    ideas;
  • and maintaining regular contact with your peers and professors online.

It takes a lot more effort to communicate ideas effectively without being able
to rely on body language. Highlight how you have successfully been able to work
with others without depending solely on physical cues. By working effectively
with others online, your degree is proof of your excellent interpersonal skills.

5. I have proven leadership skills.

Online classes frequently include a group component in the coursework or
syllabus. Not only does this allow the students to learn from one another, but
it also helps develop a sense of community. Most online students will have had
the opportunity to lead an online team. Highlight that experience and the
leadership skills utilized in order to effectively lead a team. Most likely, you
used a combination of:

  •  Communication
  • Decision making
  • Running meetings
  • Reporting out
  • Project planning

Because of your work leading an online team, know that you are prepared and
capable of leading in today’s business environment, which increasingly must deal
with technology and remote workers.

6. I know how to take initiative and stay motivated.

You may find yourself in front of an interviewer who believes that online
degrees are easier to obtain and require less work than campus-based degree
programs. This is an opportunity to highlight the time and personal effort that
you invested in order to obtain an education.

Consider how much initiative it took for you to start your online degree program
as well as the endurance, discipline and self-motivation you needed as you
worked towards the completion of your degree. Remember, excelling in an online
degree program illustrates your initiative and drive.

7. I have excellent reading comprehension skills.

Online learning depends a great deal on reading text and understanding. Most
online students see a marked increase in their reading comprehension through the
process of obtaining a degree because they are constantly using these skills and
practice makes perfect.

You have learned to read text online and convey the meaning from your readings
in short summations or comments (what you do in discussion postings or chat
rooms). These skills transfer directly to the work environment where keeping up
often means reading and comprehension.

8. My online degree program helped me develop a strong work ethic.

You’ve spent a few years taking courses online, you’ve set up a schedule and for
the most part followed it regularly. You have learned to work hard and keep
things in balance. You understand the value of a job well done and the sense of
satisfaction you get from doing it without being recognized in real time. Your
commitment to your learning is totally driven from within, so you can truly say
you have a strong work ethic.

9. My online education skills are directly applicable to the work environment.

Think of all the skills you have gained from being in an online degree program.
You had to learn, practice and develop many new skills, such as: computer
skills, information literacy, researching, writing, time management, and reading
comprehension.

Graduates of online degree programs are often self-reliant and can master new
software rather quickly; are especially good at navigating the Internet; and a
strong work ethic. These skills have direct importance to a company. When
organizations are evaluating potential employees, they look for the ability to
learn new skills, time management, communication, and you have succeeded in all
these areas.

10. I succeed in diverse environments and work well with others.

Most people are used to working with others face to face. After taking courses
online, you have learned to work with others in a whole new way.You have learned
to work with a host of differently skilled people: some know how to use a
computer; some are just learning; some need extra help. You’ve learned to work
around other people’s schedules when working to complete a group project. You’ve
learned to respect other people’s time by refraining from excessively emailing
your professor. You’ve practiced patience with your team members, your
classmates, and your professors since you couldn’t shoot up your hand and be
recognized immediately. And you have probably experienced a whole host of
different cultures, abilities and backgrounds in the class, which has added
fairness and culturally awareness to your repertoire.

If you encounter any negativity or bias against online degree programs, you
should still be proud of your accomplishment. Earning a degree online tests your
ability to adapt and succeed in a different environment and once you do that,
it’s easy to apply those lessons to any new situation.

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