There has been much discussion between students on the VLE forums and through blog comments in regards to the status of External students and the value of award. First of all, I am pleased that students are using these features regularly to interact with each other and discuss important topics.
The purpose of this blog is to respond to a number of student concerns and we thought that the following information would be useful:
- External students are students of the University of London and as such on completion of their studies receive a degree or diploma from the University of London. Since 2007 there is no indication on the degree certificate of place or mode of study. This information is now reserved for the transcript. The University of London certificate also states that the examinations an EMFSS graduate has taken are ‘under the direction of LSE’. The certificate indicates to employers, universities and other bodies the class of degree that a student has been rewarded and informs them that the standards are maintained and controlled by the University of London.
There are a number of External students who have been academically successful, and accepted into one of the top universities world wide, since universities trust the name of the University of London and in most cases appreciate the academic challenge that a student has undertaken.
- The mission of the External programme is to enable students to study for a University of London degree irrespective of place or mode of study. This allows greater flexibility and enables students to combine their studies with work. Students study on their own, in small groups or in teaching institutions. Employers are often interested in where a student has studied and whether he or she has developed the set of skills that they require. External students will develop a number of skills that employers consider valuable, such as written communication, attention to detail, planning and most importantly great motivation and determination, particularly if students have studied and worked at the same time.
Historically, there may have been a bias against students who have studied externally, however over time this bias has diminished and External students are competing with others on an equal footing and getting into top universities and companies. Online testing for initial application amongst other things have helped enormously as students compete with others on an equal footing.
Some External students do not do well at interviews and fail to understand the motivation behind some of the questions asked. Often questions are asked about how students study and in some cases these questions may seem antagonistic. Employers want to know how students deal with such questions rather than indicating their displeasure at the mode of study. This is the perfect opportunity for students to impress the prospective employer by describing the skills that they have developed studying Externally and describing the added motivation and determination required to study Externally.
What is most important is that students do as well as possible on the External programme and gain the best possible marks that they can achieve. To do this students must work hard and follow the guidelines for study presented by the University, particularly in Strategies for Success which stresses that the way you study is as important as what you study.
We have also been working on raising the profile of our programmes and our students:
The University of London Alumni group provides a forum where graduates can network and share information about opportunities.
Information can be found here: http://www.londonexternal.ac.uk/alumni/index.shtml
The promotion materials including the web sites provided by the University indicate the nature of the programmes and we are enhancing these each year, they are useful to show to potential employers. Success stories also indicate how our students have fared and this is a great encouragement to students and to employers. We would welcome any suggestions as to how we can promote our graduates.
Looking forward to seeing many of you at the Study Weekend!