How to Spot Diploma Mills on a Resume

The Federal Trade Commission defines Diploma Mills as institutions or a company that offers a “degree” for a flat fee in a short amount of time without, strictly speaking, a lot of course work or class assignments. They tend to use hard sale advertising to try to attack new “students,” being more interested in charging fees than giving an education.

The so-called degrees that these shady businesses offer are not legitimate. It is not recommended that anyone who is serious about pursuing a professional career use one and certainly no company should hire any applicant who lists a diploma mill on his or her resume.

A prospective employer should check whether an applicant’s educational record is legitimate by pursuing the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs maintained by the United States Department of Education. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation also maintains a database of legitimate schools of higher learning. There are a small number of legitimate institutions of higher learning that have not pursued accreditation, but these can be checked by contacting the school itself and seeing if they have the before mentioned signs of being diploma mills.

Some diploma mills use “sound alike” or impressive sounding foreign names to mask their true nature. A good way to check whether the college or university is legitimate is to contact a local institution of higher learning and ask the registrar whether it would accept transfer credits. A state Attorney General’s office would also be a good source to make certain that the educational institution is on the up and up.

Contact us for additional information or to discuss your screening needs.

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