How Does It Work?
Free Online Education
Postives & Negatives
Studies show that individuals who continue their education beyond high school
earn higher wages than those who do not, and the income gap between the two
groups is widening. People who want to increase their earning potential are now
going back to school. Those who want to learn at their own pace often choose
independent study. But who is a good candidate for independent study?
Independent study programs, like any higher education experience need to be
carefully considered before entered into. You need to consider both the positives
and negatives of your decision.
Do you have the study skills required? -
Independent study requires drive and determination. It also requires a
competency in certain study skills. As most independent learning takes place
through written exchanges, good writing skills and reasonably strong reading are
necessary. While the flexibility of independent study is one of its biggest
pluses it can also be the downfall for less driven students. Being on their own,
without the teacher actually there to tell you when things are due means you
have to have good study habits, stay on task, and be able to establish and
maintain your own study schedule
Many students from diverse ethnic, professional, geographic, and educational
backgrounds benefit from independent study. Here are just a few people we think
would benefit from an independent study type program, and why we think so.
- Adults of all backgrounds - Whether you want to take a class for
general interest or are in a field that requires you to always be in a state
of flux, learning independent learning will allow you to make this learning
fit with your schedule.
- College Students - Students who are seeking advanced standing
or want to join a course that is either unavailable on their campus or already
filled may join an independent learning program at another institution to fulfill
major requirements. Independent learning also can help you: solve campus
scheduling problems, explore a new subject or change your major and still
graduate on time, study while away from campus, and restore your academic
- Elementary Students - Three institutions, Home Study International,
the North Dakota Division of Independent Study, and the University of
Arizona offer independent study courses for the elementary grade student.
- Foreign service and military personnel - Foreign service and
military personnel and their families often use independent learning
programs while stationed at remote locations where such classes are
- High school students - High school students will benefit from
having some of their core courses under their belt before entering college.
When you're doing correspondence work you realize you've got to develop good
study skills. Most high school students would benefit from taking a correspondence
course. You will carry the study skills and self discipline gained from these courses
with you into college which will better prepare you for college.
Students in small or rural area high schools seeking advanced courses often
have to resort to independent study programs as well.
- Homemakers - Homemakers who care for small children often don't
have the time to go to traditional school. With independent study they
can correspond study time with nap time.
- Homeschoolers - Homeschoolers often don't have access to subjects
their parents can't teach. Independent learning programs offer high-quality
curricular materials that families committed to homeschooling are often in
- Professional entertainers or athletes - People in the entertainment
and athletics industries often hold jobs that require long hours and
frequent travel. Independent learning goes with you when your on the go.
- Teachers - Teachers must take a number of courses every so many
years to keep their teacher certification. Independent study programs are
often a good way to complete such courses as they allow teachers to complete
these requirements on their own time.