5 Easy Ways to Spot a Diploma Mill

by Michael Delgado - Date: 2006-12-16 - Word Count: 563 Share This!

You may not know this, but there are licensed schools that exist for the sole reason of giving academic diplomas to anyone who will pay for them. These types of schools are sometimes called "diploma mills" because they will award anyone a degree in practically anything for the right cost.

Imagine receiving a Bachelor's or Master's degree in Business Administration with little or no training or education. It might sound attractive, but the unethical and sometimes criminal results can only lead to problems.

Not only is this type of degree granting unethical, but it's often criminal to claim these degrees as legitimate on a resume. And even if it's not a crime in your state, many companies will research the schools you've listed on your resume. Once they find out you went to a "diploma mill," you're chances of getting the job (when a degree is necessary) will be slim.

So how can you protect yourself from joining a diploma mill?

Here are 5 warning signs that the "school" might be a diploma mill:

There are many legitimate schools that will let you earn your degree at home. You just need to be extra cautious when you hear this language advertised because it's a trademark ad slogan for diploma mills. Diploma mills are experts at selling online education or correspondence classes. They work hard to fool you into thinking you'll be earning a real degree.

One way to detect whether the school is a diploma mill is to ask the "school's" representative if they have a campus location that you can visit. Diploma mills might have an office, but they don't have a campus filled with students. Any accredited online school should be associated with an on-ground campus.

If you ever read the words: life experience will take the place of coursework; or life experience can grant you a degree; you know you've found a diploma mill. This is very common language found on diploma mill websites and diploma mill junk mail. You can be fairly certain that this type of school is passing out fake degrees.

Many diploma mills are online universities or correspondence schools. They don't have a campus address, and they don't publish a school catalog (it's only available online). These diploma mills probably will not publish a list of the instructors or types of degrees the instructors have.

Any school offering a Bachelor's or Master's degree for under a thousand dollars should sound highly suspicious. Diploma mills make money because they offer degrees for a very low cost.

You may have to buy some books and pay some registration fees, but overall the degree could cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars. You might even find some diploma mills charging up to $15,000, but that is very rare.

Many of these "schools" will proudly proclaim they are accredited. They might even have an "international accreditation" to sound impressive. The problem with many of these accreditations is that they don't mean anything. Spend time researching the school's accreditaiton and find out what it means.

Some of these "schools" have very impressive names that might trick you into enrolling in their program. But, if you do the research, you can avoid enrolling in one of these unethical institutions.

Related Tags: education, training, career, college, school, diploma, accreditation

Michael Delgado is a freelance writer.

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