Teaching online has exposed me to a variety of obstacles faced by students. Cycling power outages, walking long distances to Internet Cafes, having to juggle children and work with being a full-time student are just some. One of the most alarming I learned about recently. The Nigerian government passed a law that prohibits using online degrees to find work or advancing to earn a Master Degree.
A student wrote to ask if it was worth continuing to pursue his Bachelor degree with the University of People (where I work). He had tried other avenues and was even admitted to a university in the USA. The cost of education there is high and he could not fathom a way to afford it. To get accepted to a Nigerian university is also a number’s game. Nigeria is a country with such a large college-age population, even the highest achieving students do not find acceptance. Many make sacrifices, sending students to the United Kingdom, where a diploma runs at around $50,000 — give or take.
For students who want to use online technology to bypass these barriers, I have exciting news: there is light at the end of the tunnel!
The University of People is rigorous and respected. We have partnered with some of the world’s top universities and have just recently implemented a plagiarism program that seamlessly runs checks on everything students submit. (I am sure there are many wonderful online programs out there, but I am really writing this for my UoPeople students who, bring Nigerian, are in a tough spot). Here is my advice:
- Finish — or start — your online degree. Communicate with your instructors. Ask questions. Do your work and do your work well. A high-Grade Point Average (GPA) is worth its weight in gold.
- Decide what you want to get your Master Degree in and start google searching (or use the links I have provided on this website) a variety of universities BEFORE your graduate.
- NOTE DEADLINES! Get your application ready early — ask an instructor to read it over for editing and ideas.
- Strongly consider looking in Germany and Scandinavian countries — many universities charge no tuition in these countries and offer an excellent education. France is good, too (the fees are nowhere near what they are in the USA and UK). The University of Poitiers (also where I work) is close to Paris but far enough away the cost of living is cheaper, plus the campus is lively and friendly and has a diverse student body.
- Keep track of what instructors you get along well with and ask a few of them if they will be willing to write you a letter of recommendation on your behalf. Give them an outline of your plans include your hoped-for course of study and what you hope to do once you have earned your MA or Ph.D.
Armed with an MA will open doors to work opportunities — and will make it more difficult for businesses in Nigeria to turn you away. Even if they do, with a foreign degree, you can think about working in any number of countries in a field that you enjoy the most.