Did you know that you can have a college diploma without attending university? You can easily skip through the academic process and its requirements by getting an honorary doctorate degree.
Every year hundreds of people gather on school grounds to witness students officially receive academic recognition. This is a memorable ceremony called graduation. This is the moment every student is waiting for. It is the day when they will finally get to hold the value of years of hard work and dedication–to get their diploma parchment finally.
However, among the list of awardees are non-members of the student body. There are celebrities, artists, business tycoons, politicians, and other notable public figures that are waiting in line. None of them ever attended the granting university or have any official relation to the institution at all.
How come these people get to walk on stage and receive a college certificate without participating in any of the university’s course offerings? Simple. They are recognized for their notable contributions to society and their industries by having an honorary doctorate degree.
Doctorates or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees are the highest recognition people earn from formal education. But what makes Ph.D. degrees so valuable? The answer relies on the rigorous and challenging process you need to pass through to get one.
That said, the following are the common demands of a doctorate program:
Have a previous academic background relevant to your industry
A Ph.D. degree is a graduate certificate. Meaning, you cannot earn this recognition if you do not have any form of formal schooling. This is because you must have a Master’s degree or at least a Bachelor’s in order to enroll in a graduate program.
Your previous academic background will ensure the university you are entering that you have enough knowledge in your field to pursue the highest academic recognition. After all, Ph.D. programs are mostly about utilizing your expertise to produce novel contributions to society and academically document it through a dissertation.
Obtain some field expertise
In order to provide fresh ideas and discoveries in your industry, you must first have an understanding of how it works. Therefore, having firsthand professional experience is a must when planning to enter grad school.
By having field expertise, you can efficiently detect problems in your sector and therefore know how to properly address them. Aside from that, you will also have a more easy journey throughout your degree program. This is because you have enough knowledge, to begin with.
Collate letters of recommendations
Graduate schools need to be assured that you are qualified to enter its degree programs. Aside from your previous transcripts of records, they evaluate the validity of your credentials through letters of recommendations. These should be from previous employers, mentors, coworkers, classmates, or professional acquaintances.
Letters of recommendation are great to improve your application status further. This is because it offers a third-party perspective on your industry expertise. Thus, making your application more convincing.
Pass GRE exams
Graduate Record Examinations or GRE is the grad school equivalent of SAT and ACT. All of which are standardized exams designed to assess a student’s mental preparedness for the academic recognition they wish to pursue.
Universities offering graduate degrees, such as Master’s and Doctorates, use Graduate Record Examination results to supplement your undergraduate records, field expertise, and letters of recommendation. Therefore, having satisfactory or above satisfactory GRE results is a must if you wish to enroll in a Ph.D. degree program.
Submit a personal statement
Lastly, you will also have to submit a personal statement. This is similar to recommendation letters. The only difference is that you are the one writing it. Within this letter, you must include why the university should consider your application. It would be best if you also let them know which benefits you can offer, especially in research and other academic goals. And the more advantageous your proposals sound, the more chances of the university approving your application.
Aside from the strict admission demands of graduate schools, Ph.D. programs also have the most challenging coursework requirements. To begin with, there are the classes that you need to attend to learn the fundamental foundations in your industry. Then, there is the lengthy and deadly journey of completing a dissertation, an academic journal similar to a thesis, that can take years to finish.
Because of these reasons, having a doctorate or a Ph.D. degree is the best achievement you can get. With this academic recognition, you become a highly-valuable expert that many people look up to.
What is an honorary doctorate degree
Unlike common Ph.D. degrees, an honorary doctorate degree has a significantly opposite value. These certificates do not hold any academic merit at all. They serve some similarities to ornaments, impressive to have but only have a minimal function. Simply put, they are mere certificates of acknowledgment for achievements earned outside a traditional school setting.
Although mostly unheard of, these certificates have long been around the academic industry. The first honorary doctorate degree is believed to have been granted in 1478 by England’s Oxford University. It was given to a young bishop and head of the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter who is from an affluent family. This bishop, later on, became the university’s chancellor.
Since then, academic institutions have begun to grant honorary doctorate degrees to wealthy people from noble backgrounds and have enough connections. These people have the capabilities to bring advantageous contributions to the granting institution. They do this through financial, material, and expert donations.
However, in a much more modern setting, universities can grant honorary doctorate degrees to average members of society. Meaning, even you can obtain this prestigious award. Not to mention, there are thousands of honorary doctorates given out every year. And even the most elite schools are bestowing this certificate.
How to get an honorary doctorate degree
There are two ways of getting an honorary Ph.D. or honorary doctorate degree. The first one is to be nominated. And the second one is to apply for it voluntarily. Either way, it is the university that will assess whether you are worthy of this recognition or not.
Those who usually get honorary Ph.D. degrees are people who have contributed significantly to their communities, especially to the granting institution. For example, they gave a hefty donation alongside their application letters. Or some simply have life-changing inputs to society, such as a novel invention or a highly-beneficial business venture.
On the other hand, people who were not handpicked by university officials must personally submit an application. Within your application, you must include:
A portfolio is a collection of documents proving your expertise. Its content varies from sample works to relevant certificates and awards from different pursuits. It is the tool that will highlight your credentials.
Some of the things you can put in a portfolio are:
- Sample works if you are an artist, musician, writer, artisan, and the like.
- Certificates of previous employment
- Research papers if you have a novel invention
- Awards and recognitions if you attended training and community voluntary works.
- Records of your previous academic background if available.
Overall, your portfolio must contain essential materials that will greatly showcase and support your expertise. Remember, it is the very basis of evaluation for your honorary doctorate degree.
Letter of recommendation
A portfolio alone is not enough to convince the panel to approve your application. After all, it is a personal collation of your achievements. In order to have a more strong claim to your credentials, your portfolio must come along with letters of recommendation.
Letters of recommendation are testimonials from people who witnessed your achievements firsthand. These people can vary from your workmates, previous employers, co-attendees of a seminar or community work, mentors, family, and friends. Basically, anyone who can attest on your behalf that your stroke of genius is indeed true.
That said, if you are interested in an honorary doctorate degree, it would be best to find ways to have a good professional network. By having a lot of acquaintances and by maintaining a good relationship with them, you will have more people to write letters of recommendation to support your application.
Again, honorary doctorate degrees are given to people who have significant contributions or provide benefits to those around them. And most of these awardees exude and maintain a positive public impression. In that regard, you, too, must have an impressive and exemplary character that can serbe as an inspiration to others
That said, those who wish to have honorary degrees must include character references in their applications. You can do this by providing a list of people who the university can contact to inquire about your personality and character background. Make sure that they know you well and have long been around you for their statements to be valid. To add to that, it would be best if these are different from the people who wrote your letters of recommendation.
Getting an honorary doctorate degree is not easy. Sadly, it is only convenient for those who already have established careers or people who have a good network to support their applications. Thankfully, there are third-party degree providers that let you buy an honorary doctorate degree online. This process is easier and more practical since the certificate will come directly from accredited universities and pass legalization and verification processes to ensure that your degree certificate will safely appear on background checks.
Honorary vs. standard doctorates
Traditional Ph.D. degrees hold a far more worth as an academic value over honorary doctorate degrees. However, in terms of convenience and ease of access, honorary Ph.D. degrees take the lead. This is because the latter is easier to obtain and only requires you to work on your experiences and turn it into achievements.
Honorary doctorate degrees are also relevantly cheaper compared to traditional Ph.D. degrees. Your only investment in gaining an honorary certificate is your expertise, contributions, and your group of acquaintances. Meanwhile, if you were to earn a conventional doctorate, you must first obtain undergraduate degrees then enroll in a graduate school, which can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The only problem with honorary doctorate degrees is the negative stereotypes surrounding it. People think that these certificates do not offer any benefit or advantage. However, they are wrong. If honorary Ph.D. degrees do not serve any value, then why is it given only to notable individuals?
That said, below are some ways on how you can use an honorary doctorate degree:
- You can use it to earn higher income potential since it is a great tool to increase your value as a professional.
- It can serve as a credential booster to achieve faster career growth, which means acquiring higher-ranking positions in your company.
- Honorary doctorates can be used alongside your traditional undergraduate degrees to strengthen your professional credibility.
- It will make your skills and industry know-how more in demand, therefore attracting a lot of better working conditions.
- Honorary Ph.D. degrees can help you easily pass job acquisition and find new employment opportunities.
However, to truly enjoy these benefits, it is best to only get your honorary doctorate degree from accredited universities or other academic institutions. And if you cannot be bothered to go through the strict application process, you can always buy one online from authentic degree sellers. By doing so, not only will you enhance the benefits of being a degree holder, but you will also fast-track your way into achieving the success you have always yearned for.