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The Online Degree That’s Right for Me

November 16, 2010 By: Category: Choosing a College, Distance Online Learning

Today we have a guest post from Kimberly Bowen from NorthOrion.

You’ve known yourself your whole life, but it’s very possible you don’t recognize what makes you unique. You may assume your interests and talents are things everyone can do when, in fact, they are skills that can set you apart in the workforce. So, if you do have this unique set of skills and qualities that can help you be successful, how can you determine what they are and translate them into a successful career? These tips may help you find your passion and select a career that incorporates them.


Photo by Edyourdon

Stop & Listen to Yourself
You can learn a lot about yourself if you will take the time to stop and observe who you are. Set aside time to think about what you enjoy doing and what you consider are your talents. During times that you have not specifically set aside, if you find yourself distracted by something, think about what it was. Does it play into what you enjoy? Oftentimes, what you think about is your passion. So, try to consider how you might work this passion into your college degree and future career.

Ask Others What They See in You
Sometimes, other people see our blind spots better than we can. Ask those who know you well what they think are your best talents. While it is unfair to expect someone to tell you what to do with your life, you can ask for their opinion about your strengths and weaknesses. Requesting and graciously accepting input from others can be hard at times but it helps to remember it is coming from someone you trust because they care about you. Listen to suggestions and comments, and then take from it what you feel is realistic and constructive. Don’t allow harsh or insensitive comments to squash your goals.

Explore Your Options
While there are only a certain number of majors and departments in school, jobs and combinations of necessary skills are practically limitless. Choosing an online degree wisely can help you hone your skills and prepare you for employment. Many jobs can be done well with more than one type of online degree. Look at the online degrees that people with the type of job you want have. Or, do the reverse. Look at the types of jobs you can do with the degree you want. Talk to an academic advisor or find out if your school has career counseling. Talk with people who have your dream job or individuals who work in the industry.  Ask them for advice on what degree to pursue and learn how they reached their positions. Then, focus your efforts on emulating their education and career path.

If you are not certain you have found your passion, look to the community for ways to try out your passion. Find a way to share your passions with others through volunteer efforts or take an internship where you can work on those things that interest you. An internship or volunteer opportunity can help you discover what you want to do, and give you some experience and networking contacts. If it’s not what you want to do, you can move on without deviating too far in the wrong direction. And, as an added bonus, providing community service makes you feel good and looks great on a resume!

Assess Where You Are Currently
Once you have determined what your passions are and what online degree matches those interests, take time to honestly evaluate your motivation and abilities. Come to terms with the level of effort you will need to devote to your success. Don’t be afraid to try something new and be willing to grow through challenging opportunities.

Form a Network of Success
Once you have determined which online degree you want to pursue. Start developing a list of individuals who will support you in your success. This support group can be helpful when you feel discouraged or overwhelmed. They can help you to remember why you are challenging yourself.

Make a Plan
It’s very important to write up a formal plan of what you want to accomplish and how you will do it, so you can stay on track. It also helps to write reasons why this is a good plan and something you are committed to, in case you become discouraged later and need a reminder.

In choosing an online degree, remember to plan for success by making your goals realistic and finding something you enjoy. If you are happy in your work, you will be more likely to succeed. Take time to determine your passions in life first and then turn them into a successful career.