What Employers Think of Online Degrees
Distance education has been around for several decades now. Since the 1800s, growing technology has allowed students to earn their education from the comfort of home, from correspondence schools to lectures shown on cable to the fully online programs of today. Notably, the pandemic sent almost all schools and colleges virtual for a limited time. Even though they have returned to in-person classes, many continue to offer their online degree programs as it allows them to reach more students.
Over the years, faculty and students have grown more comfortable with schooling moving online. Most expect to submit essays virtually these days. However, there is still some stigma around getting an online degree.
Many misconceptions have cleared up over time, but some believe in-person is best. They feel that online school is easier, worth less, and even a scam. This misinformation is often based on stereotypes or a general misunderstanding of online schooling. In reality, many students struggle more with virtual classes than in-person classes. Indeed, students must be self-motivated, self-disciplined, and expert problem solvers. They must hold themselves accountable as if they don’t log in, there’s no one to blame but themselves. Additionally, these students must know how to ask for help, which many of us struggle with.
Today, most employers do not care if your degree came from an in-person or online campus. They mainly care that your school was accredited. Accreditation shows outside sources reviewed program content for quality, usefulness, accuracy, and validity. Basically, if a college doesn’t meet educational standards, it cannot be accredited.
In the end, students should decide what works best for them. They should attend a brick-and-mortar school if they learn better in an in-person lecture. Students who are visual learners may find more success online. Neither option is superior to the other; both have benefits and downsides. For example, in-person schools give students more chances to network and socialize, while online colleges allow students to work from home.
For employment, however, you shouldn’t worry that an online degree will prevent you from finding work.
6 Reasons Employers Value Online Degrees
Opposite of some stereotypes, there are many reasons employers value online degrees. Graduates of online colleges build different skills than those of in-person schools. Consider how much of our world today has gone virtual. Almost every job requires some use of computers or technology. As such, learning how to navigate the online space is necessary for success. Similarly, most employers don’t want someone they need to micromanage. As virtual colleges encourage self-motivation, their graduates are prime candidates for independent positions.
To get the best of both worlds, students may also consider taking a hybrid path to earn their degree. You would take some traditional and some virtual courses. Many colleges offer this option as they offer both in-person and online classes. And, post-lockdown, you’re more likely to find hybrid program offerings.
Below, we go over our top six reasons employers value online degrees.
1. You’re Still Learning the Same Content
Notably, one of the biggest reasons employers have no issue with online degrees is that graduates come to them with the same knowledge. There is no more difference in the curriculum than if you attended a different brick-and-mortar school. Accreditation helps guarantee colleges provide quality content. Regular audits ensure that any university that drops its standards loses its accreditation. Thus, you can rest easy knowing most schools will do anything to maintain quality.
If you’re earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration, the core concepts will stay the same regardless of your school. Your professors will be experts in their field with relevant education and experience.
2. You Build Stronger Self-Discipline and Time Management Skills
A huge benefit of earning an online degree is building up your self-discipline and time management skills. Indeed, you must log in weekly, watch lectures, and submit assignments on your timetable. There is often no two o’clock lecture that you have to prepare for. Rather, you must choose to log on, watch the lectures, and read the prescribed material.
Notably, some online courses don’t have recorded lectures. They’ll only have required readings and related videos up. It’ll be up to you to use that material to put together essays and prepare for exams. Traditional classrooms will show you this content in class, making it an extra effort to watch from home.
While it sounds easy to some, getting caught up with other responsibilities or social events can be easy. Students may just get distracted by other things going on in their homes. In their first semester, many students expect to have enough time but find themselves up against the deadline each Sunday. As a result, they often miss assignments or tests or receive lower grades due to the work they submit. This kind of work can impede progress as you may have to retake a class or two. Thus, you must have the self-discipline to succeed in a virtual classroom. Successful online students set time aside to ensure they can complete their work.
3. You Have More Familiarity With Computers
Employers love employees with online degrees as they have more experience with computers and smartphones. Surprisingly, many workers still don’t have much comfortability or experience with simple technology. Older employees may not even have a computer or laptop of their own. So, while most jobs require fluency with software, many employees still struggle to use word processors, spreadsheets, and emails.
Undoubtedly, the next generation of workers will have far more advanced knowledge of technology and computers. They engage with it constantly between entertainment and school. Many teenagers and young adults even start careers as content creators. However, employers prefer a sign that new hires can keep up with changing software. Graduating from an online college shows that not only are you able to keep up with the basics, but you can excel in an entirely virtual environment.
4. You’re Self-Motivated
In addition to self-discipline, students need self-motivation. Truly, it isn’t easy to remain disciplined if you are not motivated to move forward. Traditional students can motivate themselves to go to class through unrelated means. Instead of looking forward to the lecture, they might stop by their favorite coffee shop on the way, enjoy seeing certain classmates, or plan a special trip afterward.
On the other hand, online students must plan those rewards ahead of time or focus on intrinsic motivation. Traditional students, of course, also strive to reach their goals. But those who study online often do work during their break, while watching their children, or in their living room. They can and should reward themselves for their hard work, but there’s no bakery on the way to their home office. Basically, they must find more motivation from their overall goals than the short-term benefits.
All students form educational goals, but those earning an online degree must find their daily motivation on their own. As a result, employers see these graduates as hard workers who don’t need that extra push on every project. They can trust their employees to take the initiative and run a project independently.
5. You Learn to be Resourceful
One of the downsides to an online degree is the distance between student and professor. While the instructors are available via email, phone call, or virtual meeting, students don’t have the opportunity to ask questions during or after class. As a result, there’s generally an extended pause between the initial email and the response. Most teachers are required to reply within 24-48 hours. Many send an answer much quicker than that, but like traditional professors, some will always push against the deadline.
While students receive the answers they need, it’s not as immediate as in a brick-and-mortar school. Thus, if you send that email the day the assignment is due, you may not receive an answer in time. Online students learn quickly that they must ask for help as soon as they realize they need it.
As a result, most virtual students become experts at using search engines, exploring their online library, and finding quality tools such as citation generators. They become more resourceful as they rely on themselves for fast answers.
Online students are never alone in their studies, but there is an undeniable distance between them and their professors and classmates. Ultimately, their creativity, research skills, and adaptability pay off as they learn to be self-reliant problem solvers. Employers value these soft skills and seek new hires who excel in these areas.
6. You Gain Stronger Writing Skills
Finally, online degree programs require much more writing than traditional ones. This requirement may sound scary to some, especially if it isn’t your strong suit. However, extra writing does not mean more essays. Rather, discussion boards take the place of in-class participation. These assignments often require you to make an original reply to the prompt and then one or two responses to your classmates. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself in deep conversations with your peers.
While some students are frustrated by discussion boards, they benefit you in the long run. Notably, you build your essay and general writing skills by being more explicit and definitive in your posts. You’ll get used to explaining and exploring your thoughts and ideas, engaging in a creative and open space. Additionally, you improve your communication skills, which is vital for success in most fields.
Regardless of your dream job, you’ll have to engage with the online sphere to some degree. You may post social media posts, create content for your company’s website, or send emails. Think of some of the more unprofessional posts you’ve seen from businesses. Their writing impacts their reputation and can result in the poster losing their job.
And if you’ve ever ordered something online, you may have needed to talk to the seller or owner of the shop. Do any of their emails stick out? More than likely, the most unprofessional ones will come to mind first.
Ultimately, knowing how to write matters after college. Employers love workers who can communicate clearly as it helps their image and ensures clients understand what the company offers. Thus, online courses can improve your writing skills more than in-person alternatives.
Lakewood University is an accredited online school that offers a variety of degree and certificate programs. We have rolling enrollments and asynchronous courses. In other words, you don’t have to worry about missing a lecture or running late to class. If you plan on enrolling in college while working, Lakewood University offers the flexibility you need to earn your degree.
Don’t hesitate – reach out to our admissions department today to learn more!