Alumni Networking for Online Students
- School Message Boards
- Digital Q+A Sessions
Academic networking very heavily relies on face-to-face contact and attendance at in-person events, so online students are frequently placed at a distinct disadvantage in this arena. Being able to put a face to a name is still a vital part of successful networking, especially for recent graduates with online degrees who are searching for work.
Thankfully, a tremendous variety of methods are available to online students to network with one another, with their instructors, with potential employers, and alumni of their alma mater – sometimes bridging online networking to in-person networking. Here are five ways online students can network with alumni.
School Message Boards
Most online institutions feature student portals, forums, and message boards where students, staff, and alumni can communicate with each other – sharing information, making suggestions, or posting job leads.
Message boards are a great place to begin the networking grind – and some school message boards will have a very active crew of alumni who will answer questions, offer guidance, or even offer Q+A sessions to current and prospective students.
Related resource: Top 25 Most Affordable Online Business Graduate Degrees
While school message boards should be treated as a jumping-off point for networking – especially for students about to graduate – they are well worth the time investment.
Digital Q+A Sessions
Some online institutions offer online question and answer sessions with school staff, instructors, and alumni to assist students in everything from deciding on a field specialization to the best ways of generating job or business leads after graduation. Students whose schools offer these sessions shouldn’t skip out – not only do they provide valuable information, the individuals conducting the sessions can turn into valuable professional network connections, especially if they remember particular students based on insightful or unique questions.
LinkedIn is easily the foremost professional and academic networking site of the twenty-first century.
Via LinkedIn, you can search out any alumni you may have been introduced to, including those who may teach or work at your institution. LinkedIn Groups may well offer some fruitful opportunities to network – institution-specific groups abound on LinkedIn, and students enrolled in online programs will likely find several groups related to both their institution and their major.
Meetup is where the digital translates into the physical. Meetup hosts hundreds of thousands of groups worldwide with a huge variance of subjects and interests. A great deal of academic groups exist on Meetup, and students may well find groups specific to online learners – or to their school in particular. Even if an online student joins a more general group, they may well meet other students or alumni from their home institution.
Twitter is an excellent professional tool for many reasons, but first among them is the way it suggests people to follow. Students who follow their classmates and instructors on Twitter will generate more follow suggestions from the same field or institutions, enabling them to more effectively network with alumni and potential employers. Additionally, students can peruse their institutions list of followers to find alumni to network with.
The information age has generated a great many tools for students pursuing online degrees to network, excel, and succeed in their subsequent career paths. By utilizing as many of these tools as possible, online students will be able to generate substantial professional networks with their fellow students and alumni – resulting in greater opportunity for career development, skills advancement, and financial success.