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Correspondence Study Pros and Cons: Can You Handle it?

Updated on April 23, 2015

When I left high school, I must confess that I had no intention of going back into a classroom environment ever again.

I had read up about a certain correspondence college in the local papers and magazines and I decided that I wanted to learn more. So I sent off for some brochures and price-lists and I took the plunge and decided to try it.

Others were sceptical about the choice, as they said it would be very different and would require a lot of discipline to accomplish ‘part-time' study. Some people use it because they are frequently on the move all the time and can't afford to keep changing schools and enrolling with the possible rejection of their applications. Others, like some child stars or TV presenters have also used correspondence study because they were too busy holding down their jobs or travelling to stick in one place and keep at it full time like everyone else.

I received my books a few weeks later by delivery and found that they were the wrong books, and so I had to go back and fetch the proper ones.

So far I was a little rattled.

The first day seemed okay. I sat down at my desk and started reading and found that I got much further than I would in school. But as everyone should know, reading is different from studying, and reading a lot of work means more and more revision instead of doing it piece by piece.

So I was going at my own pace, and making my own timetables. I still studied for an hour per subject. This continued for about the first ‘term', even though there are no real terms in correspondence study.

I started to slack off for about the next few months, as I would start doing other things, like going out with friends or just sleeping the whole afternoon as I would get bored just sitting there.

Eventually when I reread everything in my course material, I discovered that I had a whole lot of assignments to send in that I hadn't even gotten around to.


It was time for me to start picking up the books again, and I worked so damn hard for the next few months, and submitted my tests for marking before the end of the year. I continued with correspondence study after that year, because I learned that if I wanted to go back to a school, I would have to repeat the year I had just passed, unless I went to a private school, but the fees were just too high.

I made it through matric and got an endorsement, not faring badly in the final exams. Grade 12 was a lot harder to do, since the exams at the end of the year are the only marks you get. There is no year mark like with previous grades.

After matric I took another course at the college, with my parents pressuring me to take something. I hated that course and I was glad when I got my accreditation, but otherwise it was a complete waste of a year, and not to mention money.

"Some child stars or TV presenters have also used correspondence study because they were too busy holding down their jobs or travelling to stick in one place and keep at it full time like everyone else."

Those used to regular classroom environment with people around will find studying via correspondence lonely.
Those used to regular classroom environment with people around will find studying via correspondence lonely. | Source

The Pros and Cons of Correspondence Study:


• You can study at any time, in any place, setting up your own study timetable.

• You can take frequent breaks.

• You can study at your own pace.

• Your tutors are at hand and will communicate with you over e-mail or phone.

• You can go to the online forums and communicate with other students.

• You can have the option of receiving all of your course material at the same time or you can have it sent to you in bundles.

• It's cheaper than mainstream colleges and schools.

• You can be any age.

• You don't have to have grade 9 in order to take up your academic grade 10 equivalent.

• Not all courses have examinations.

• Great if you travel a lot and you need to have your material with you.

• Great if you live far away from any schools or tertiary institutions.

• Great if you have a job and you can't go to study full time at a college or university.

• You can submit your material from anywhere in the world.

• You can be more flexible with your work.

• There is more allowance for creativity and individuality.

• There are less strict requirements or qualifications needed for some courses.

• The course material is usually valid for two or more years so you aren't rushed to finish. You can take Grade 10 and 12 over two years each.


• It requires an extraordinary amount of determination, motivation and discipline.

• You can become lazy quite easily and procrastinate.

• It is more solitary, unless you contact your tutors for help, or join up with fellow students online of start a group with someone in your city or area.

• You can feel helpless and isolated.

• You have to make sure that you are eligible to write your exams at some sort of community hall or school, and that can be distressing.

• You have to make sure if it's required that you send in all your assignments, otherwise you risk not being graded and receiving your certificate, diploma or degree.

"Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other."

— Kurt Herbert Alder

Have you ever studied via correspondence?

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© 2008 Anti-Valentine


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    • Anti-Valentine profile image

      Anti-Valentine 8 years ago from My lair

      I've sent you an e-mail as you requested. :)

    • profile image

      Tigerlily 8 years ago

      Hi! Love the article, I went through this - twice! - and I'm only working my butt off this year coz I want matric. You mentioned an online student support forum, where can I find this?? I'm doing cambridge HIGCSEs and there's almost no info about it online and absolutely no support for it. I'm really freaking out coz I'm writing my last paper - Maths - tomorrow and I feel like I know nothing... Can you mail me at do0mkitty at yahoo dot com please?