We know: All About Distance Learning and Correspondence Schools

What is distance learning?

Distance learning means courses at home using your computer or written correspondence to earn credit, usually toward a degree of diploma.

What kinds of distance learning programs are available?

You can get everything from a high school diploma to a college degree using distance learning programs, including professional and vocation degrees and certificates.

Classes include elementary education through higher education, depending on the program you choose.

How do these schools or programs work?

Many allow you to correspond via the internet and/or regular mail. You can often communicate with teachers and other students via chat rooms or special websites. And, you can do research online.

Is it necessary to live near where the school or program is located?

No, in fact, you don't even have to live in the same country. However, if you live in the U.S., you should be sure the school or program is accredited by an agency in the United States. And remember, degrees earned from a school abroad may not be recognized by some American institutions. If this is important, check first.

How can I help to ensure that the school or program is legitimate and my degree will be recognized?

Look for a school that is accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Also, check with the local Better Business Bureau in the area where the school is located to see if there have been complaints.

What are the signs a school might not be legitimate?

  • The school is not accredited, although some non-accredited schools can be fine
  • The school is accredited, but the accreditation comes from an organization not recognized by the Department of Education of the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.
  • The school claims it's accredited, but it is not.
  • The school does not have a state license to operate.
  • The school will not give you al list of faculty members.
  • The school does not have a physical address.
  • The school appears to be 'selling' degrees, by taking your money and requiring very little work.

Be sure to compare costs of distance learning programs or correspondence schools. If a school seems too expensive, or too inexpensive when compared to others, it may be a warning sign.

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