Employers Respond to Linda Christas Outreach
Education for Education's Sake Impresses
by Jeffrey Mancuso, Linda Christas College Class of '12
Recently I spent a day as a volunteer working at the Linda Christas Help Desk.
The LC Help Desk is a 24/7 service the College and Academy provides to both the general public and the Linda Christas student body.
Usually there are a half dozen or more individuals, either students or parents or just friends of the College who enjoy spending time responding to requests for information or other concerns, confusions or whatever arises in the course of a day.
Of course, with Linda Christas, imagine an educational community in cyberspace, and you will get an idea of how busy the Help Desk can become at times.
I had expected a cross section of calls, and that I got. If truth be told, that's why I volunteered in the first place, to better understand what kinds of questions the public might have regarding the schools, unique as they are.
However, what struck me particularly were the contacts we received that day from potential employers. What these businesses seemed to "get" is that it takes a great deal of maturity for a person to self manage and complete a degree online.
At a typical university, schedules are set, Dean's threaten, bells ring, social events and other things keep the student at least somewhat motivated to attend to his or her studies.
Not so with an online degree.
Although Linda Christas does provide opportunities to interact with others, and the teachers are really super caring, etc., still, one must set aside the time, and do the work without the outside prodding typically provided by roommates, meals and a hundred other things in an on-campus situation.
No parties to motivate. No basketball games and football games. No heavy institution-promoted dating or the million other distractions on-campus experiences offer. Just getting down to business and learning one's subjects, and doing that for four or more years, depending on the workload for which the student opts.
Mind you, I am not talking about taking one course as part of a larger on-campus degree program. I am talking about taking an entire degree online, at home or office. I am talking about 120+ units of college work motivated by no one other than the student himself or herself. I am talking about courses that begin where the student's skills leave off in every subject. No down time to wait for the professors to catch up to where the student is in the subject.
The Linda Christas experience, as great as it is in and of itself, requires a level of maturity and self motivation not found in most students of my acquaintance. In other words, Linda Christas provides an experience as close to education for education's sake as one is likely to find on planet Earth.
I know that, for most of my high school classmates, actually learning something was about tenth on their list of reasons they were going off to college. That just isn't the case with Linda Christas students. LC students enroll for one reason, and one reason alone......to learn. Thus, employers have discovered what I've known for the past three years, students sort themselves out, leaving, on average, only the most dedicated, mature and self-motivated opting for an online experience.
Employers are "getting" that these are the kinds of people who will work when no one is looking. These are the kinds of people who have trained themselves to keep their nose to the grindstone, and not spend more time partying than studying. These are the sorts of personalities who can be depended upon to be on task, to be creative, to produce value upon value for their business or organization.
At least that is the kind of people I have known as my study buddies at the College.
Secondly, as I alluded to above, the courses Linda Christas offers always start where the student is in terms of subject skill level. In addition to that, though, the student's learning style is known, as well as his or her interests. For example, if the subject is physics, should the student be wild about Lego or cars, either or both of those can be incorporated into a physics program, as has been demonstrated occasionally even by traditional colleges such as MIT and Berkeley Engineering.
That personalization happens at every opportunity at Linda Christas, so there is maximum interest and progress in the subjects generated by integrating seemingly unrelated topics or experiences with each student's personal interests. That's just something that cannot be done readily in a classroom situation, especially if the curriculum is pre-planned with little regard to who the students are. Pre-planning or "canning" syllabi never happens at Linda Christas. Course strategies are adopted individually only once a student is known from several perspectives.
Thirdly, and I mean no disrespect to anyone or any organization, but, employers are beginning to understand that, in traditional American classroom situations, inevitably, there are several students in every group who just are over their heads, meaning that, if the teacher has a heart, and most do, they must slow the learning process down considerably to be able to communicate even the most basic information to slow starters.
Also, there are those whose personal maturity is such that they wish to use classrooms as places to perform, and not necessarily to perform in sync with the material for which the classes were organized in the first place. This most often results in a sort of minimalist scholastic experience, which was demonstrated when, in my public school, we took any sort of comparative test. We were always drubbed by the Europeans and Asians as far as our knowledge of science and math were concerned. We just couldn't compete, not because we were dumb as John Stossel might suggest (see video below), but because the very format of our public school experience was such that every possible disadvantage was called upon at some point to cripple the final product, which was supposed to be the education of me and my classmates.
Watch: STUPID IN AMERICA:
Finally, I want to once again say that the employers who called on my line during the time I spent on the Linda Christas Help Desk were anxious to commit to interviewing LC grads.
In this current employment environment, to have employers actually call a school and ask for referrals is indeed refreshing.
Usually it is the other way around, with students having to wade through all sorts of obstacles to get interviews in the first place. Not so with the employers I spoke with. And, even though I cannot divulge specifics regarding the employers themselves, let me at least say that they weren't talking about non-professional positions. They were speaking of positions in the sciences, and with pay ranges impressive in anyone's book, well, perhaps not Bill Gates', or George Soros' books, but most everyone else's.
With employment among college graduates estimated to reach 25% and more in the next five years, it was encouraging to say the least to have voices on the other end of the telephone and e-mail stations actually being up front with their preference for Linda Christas graduates. Evidently their experience with previous graduates has been "as advertised," that is, natural self starters, rather than having to be prodded by an imposed structure.
They, the employers, said time after time how nice it is to be able to trust employees to work exactly as hard when they are not being watched as when they are; to be able to assign tasks and not have to worry that, without constant checking, work milestones would not be reached.
They told me that, with Linda Christas graduates, they, the employer, never had to be concerned that a crucial report would not be prepared on time unless the boss made it a point to ride herd.
Evidently it's a brand new day for employers and college graduates alike. I am so happy and proud to be associated with a College really making a difference.
Linda Christas keeps tabs on all its graduates. LC offers as part of the bachelor's degree program a lifetime employment assistance service. How wonderful to know I'll never be in the streets without recourse from an employment standpoint.
In Hoc Signo Vinces, the symbol of the school bell in the Linda Christas logo, a bell ringing with a brand new tone in America.