Networking Strategies for Online Students
You’ve probably heard that it’s not what you know, but who you know. And while that’s not entirely true – the knowledge you gain while studying in college is vital to your career – networking is a big part of the college experience. It has been found that up to 70 percent of all jobs are landed through networking. If you’re an online college student, you may be wondering how it’s possible to make new friends and acquaintances with your peers and professors while you’re miles apart.
It’s best to approach your education at an online college in the same way you would approach attending a college on campus. Your success will depend on your ability to regularly show up for classes and participate in discussions provoked by your professors. In fact, many online classes revolve around student participation to ensure that students grasp the material. If you effectively prepare for classes and add to the discussions, not only will you be more likely to earn a better grade, but you’ll earn the respect of your professors. After class, e-mail them when you have questions about the material; that’s when you should take the opportunity to get to know them better. These are perhaps the most important people with whom you’ll network in college, especially the ones in your discipline because they know the leaders in your desired field of work. When you apply for jobs or internships, they’ll provide glowing letters of recommendation because they’ll be familiar with your strengths. It’s also important that you get to know your classmates early in the semester. As soon as you can access a class roster, correspond with them so that if you’re unable to participate in class time, you can get the material you missed. Cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with your classmates is a major part of the college experience – even at an online college. Don’t hesitate to friend them on Facebook like you would with any other person you meet. In the future, they might provide you with job leads and vice versa.
Most colleges provide numerous networking opportunities for their students by hosting events that include employers and leaders in their fields, and provide career-related advice. Although hosting such events is a difficult task for online colleges, many are finding ways to bring their students together in an effort to improve their chances of finding a fulfilling career. For example, Strayer University hosts a Career Power Workshop; the most recent of which gave students insight into using online social networking to build relationships. Usually these kinds of events are free and prove beneficial if you can make the trip to attend them. As an online college student, you’ll find that networking isn’t nearly as difficult as it seems. Make use of your opportunities and you’ll reap the rewards of having strong social ties.