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Correspondence courses

Everyone can benefit from some type of education, whether it's education in a career skill or a new hobby. Thousands of courses exist, ranging in topic from Greek philosophy to gardening. However, attending classes can be a financial and logistical strain on most people. Commuting to class takes time and money for gasoline and vehicle maintenance. When the weather is bad, commuting can even be dangerous. On-site courses are also usually more expensive due to the contact with the instructor and the use of the educational facility's classrooms and equipment. Correspondence courses are a good alternative to on-site courses that require you to attend class at specific days and times each week.

Correspondence courses defined
A correspondence course is a distance learning course that is sent to students and completed at their discretion. Correspondence courses differ from traditional courses in several aspects. The major difference, of course, is that correspondence courses can be completed at home while traditional courses are completed in a classroom. In traditional courses, assignments are completed and handed in to the instructor during class. Correspondence courses allow students to complete assignments and submit them via postal mail or fax.

Types of correspondence courses
There are several types of correspondence courses that you can enroll in if you are looking for additional education. Some correspondence courses lead to a diploma or certificate and can be completed in as little as a few months. Others lead to an associate degree and may take several years for you to complete. Common degree correspondence courses are in medical billing, accounting, office management, and technology. Some correspondence courses are simply for learning a new hobby, such as woodworking or gardening, and do not lead to a certificate or degree.

Benefits of correspondence courses
There are many benefits to completing correspondence courses if you cannot attend traditional classes. One benefit is that they can be complete from the comfort of your own home and on your own schedule. If you work night shift or have family responsibilities to take care of during the day, you can work on your assignments when you aren't as busy. Taking correspondence saves you from making a daily or weekly commute to a campus, cutting down on gasoline expenses and giving you more time to concentrate on your coursework. Correspondence courses also give you the opportunity to work at your own pace. If you are going on vacation for a week, you might have a hard time getting caught up in a traditional class. With correspondence courses, you can just work ahead before you leave for vacation so that you're on track when you return from your trip.

Disadvantages of correspondence courses
While correspondence courses have many benefits for students, there are also some disadvantages. Because correspondence courses allow you to complete classes from home, you don't have the benefit of interacting with instructors and other students. In a traditional classroom, this interaction can help you to better understand difficult topics. Another disadvantage of correspondence courses is that they may not be accredited. Accredited courses are eligible for financial aid, while non-accredited courses must be paid for out of your own pocket. It's also difficult to assess the quality of correspondence courses that are not accredited. Because course materials must be mailed or faxed back to the school, you may also incur additional expenses beyond the costs of course registration and materials. If you have a problem with one of your traditional classes, you can always visit someone who can help you on campus. You don't have that benefit when you enroll in correspondence courses. If you encounter a problem, you may have to spend time on the telephone in order to track down someone who can help you.

Carefully weighing the benefits and drawbacks of correspondence courses can help you decide if they are the right educational option for your specific learning needs.

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