Many people with college degrees would willingly trade their diplomas for ones bearing the names Harvard, Stanford, or Columbia University. There is no question of the sex appeal of a big-name university when you go looking for work. Recruiters love “name” schools. Your hiring stock will be much greater if you went to Northwestern University than if you attended, say, lesser-known schools such as Cal State Stanislaus in Turlock or Monsbey College in Watsonville.
Yet, depending on what kind of job you are seeking, your education from a little-known school may be just as good as one from Yale. Everybody appreciates a good education, even though some continue to credit degrees from name universities with a higher value than other schools.
But the world is changing. Some less-traditional colleges don’t have ivy-covered campuses or mammoth football stadiums these days. In fact, some don’t have campuses at all. Through the miracle of technology, higher education is evolving. Some universities–including some very prominent ones–offer online classes for their students.
A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management shows that 49 percent of human resource professionals prefer degrees from name institutions over online universities even if they are both accredited. Even with that discrimination, 79 percent of companies said they had hired individuals with degrees earned online over the past year. And the study found companies are more willing today to hire those with online degrees than they were five years ago.
“As traditional schools continue to open online programs and online schools improve their reputation, we will see an increasing acceptance of online degrees in the workplace,” says Mark Schmit, director of research at the Society for Human Resource Management. He adds that a growing number of companies see courses taken online as equally credible to those taken at traditional universities.
It is ironic that the very companies that have benefited from university research to create a technological revolution over the past three decades are the same ones to discriminate against education that is done outside of the classroom because of that technology.
The Society for Human Resource Management also found that 60 percent of human resource professionals favor online programs from well-established schools compared to newer or lesser-known online universities.
“It’s becoming harder to distinguish the online degree because some online programs are adding physical locations, and traditional brick-and-mortar schools are adding online programs,” says Schmit. “Not only is the industry going through an evolutionary period, but it is making an online degree more acceptable by creating a mix of class and online experience.”
Online college courses are increasing dramatically because the technology now allows it and because universities–both traditional and nontraditional–have found ways to teach effectively over them. Most colleges currently have some sort of online learning component or are planning to add one in the near future.
But when 60 percent of human resource professionals still believe that education best happens in a campus classroom despite similar accreditation, they are showing that they are the ones who need to go back to school and learn something.