Maybe you’re thinking about earning your degree online, or maybe you’re already pursuing a long-distance education.
Either way, there’s no doubt that online classes can be a practical and cost-effective way to learn the skills you’ll need for your dream job.
But every education is an investment, and to make sure you get a good return on yours, it’s a good idea to make your online education as valuable as possible.
There are lots of ways you can give your degree a boost and increase your odds of landing a great job afterwards. Here are six things you can do to increase the value of your education.
Choose a Practical Field of Study
Let’s face it – today’s job market is highly competitive. If you want to land a great job, you’ll need to stand out and have a strong set of qualifications. So don’t major in English literature or ancient history, as much as you might love those subjects. Choose a field of study that will give you a work-ready skill set. For example, an online business degree is almost always a worthwhile choice. Many high-quality business programs are offered online, and – unlike some other fields – employers in business tend to value online degrees just as highly as ones earned in person. Nursing and programming are a couple of other fields in high demand right now.
What if you really want to earn a degree in something impractical? That’s a tricky situation. You might be better off attending a brick-and-mortar school in that case, since humanities degrees tend to be worth more when you earn them in person. But if you really must earn your degree online, the next tip will help you stand out.
Put in the Work
Many new students mistakenly believe online classes are easier than in-person classes. This is not the case. Distance classes are just as demanding as in-person classes, and sometimes more so. It’s important to understand this and be prepared to work hard. Plan to study a little bit every day. Give yourself enough time to finish homework assignments before they’re due, and don’t procrastinate. If you fall behind, it’s hard to catch up. Don’t be afraid to talk to your teacher or your classmates if you don’t understand something. When you take your classes seriously, you’ll learn a lot more, and you’ll be better prepared for a job later on.
Get to Know Your Teachers
Your teachers can open doors for you, so make an effort to get to know them. This can be tough when your only contact is through a computer screen, so you’ll have to make an extra effort. Get in touch with your teachers when you have questions, don’t understand something, or want to discuss something interesting from your reading assignments. They’ll notice how engaged you are, and they’ll be better prepared to write you letters of recommendation later on.
Supplement Your Classes with Your Own Learning
Once you know how to study online effectively, don’t be afraid to branch out. There are tons of free and inexpensive resources (like massive open online courses) that you can use to supplement your learning and build a stronger skill set. True, self-directed study won’t show up on your transcript, but you’ll still gain valuable knowledge. Some courses will even give you a certificate to prove you participated.
Consider Pursuing Graduate Education
Want to make your online education extra impressive? Consider adding a master’s degree to your list of achievements. Completing an MBA or a similar program will make employers take you more seriously than someone who only has a bachelor’s degree.
Online education is a great way to switch careers or enrich your mind. If you’re working on an online degree (or considering it), these tips will help you make the most of your education, so you’ll be able to enjoy the payoff of your hard work for the rest of your life.
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