This blog on verifying all degrees is really a follow-up to a previous blog about verifying all licenses claimed by a candidate for employment. Since the first time I wrote about this topic, the playing field has shifted; and you need to know how to deal with it.
In the past, all that was required to verify a degree was a call to the registrar’s office of the college or university from which the candidate claimed to have earned a degree, asking them to verify that your candidate earned whatever degree was claimed in such-and-such year. That used to be all there was to it. Now, however, many registrars’ offices, especially at larger colleges and universities, no longer provide verification of academic credentials and have gone to an automated system provided by an outside vendor. The verification provided may or may not agree with the information provided by the candidate. A follow-up call to the university to clear up the discrepancy may result in additional information, or the college registrar/representative may simply repeat that “All verifications are completed through our automated system.” (Here’s an interesting twist on registrars’ reluctance to verify a degree claimed. A few years ago, back in the day when we could actually reach a registrar, one of our senior associates ran into an unusual problem with an Ivy League college. The initial comment by the registrar was something like, “We don’t disclose any information about current or former students!” To which our associate replied, “So, I could claim to be a graduate of your institution, and you wouldn’t confirm or deny it?” The response was, “Well, um, I guess, maybe, that might be right.”
Well, here’s what you do if need to confirm the automated system’s response and reach a reluctant registrar. Call the Alumni Office of the school and ask them to verify it for you! Part of the reason alumni offices exist is to help their graduates find employment, so verifying a degree is something they’re usually more than happy to do. Keep in mind that most colleges and universities publish directories of their alumni, so verifying a degree shouldn’t be a big deal at all. One final tip: if a candidate claims more than one degree, it’s really only necessary to check the highest one – you can’t earn a Master’s degree without earning the Bachelor’s degree first!