Enrolling in a Course -
Most independent study courses are open to everyone. Applications are usually
accepted without entrance examinations. Enrolling in a correspondence course
usually involves simply filling out the registration form and paying
tuition/material fees. High school students are sometimes asked to present their
current transcript and occasionally a letter of recommendation.
Time Requirements -
Most independent study courses do not run on the traditional semester
schedule. Often, you can enroll at any time during the year and your enrollment
is valid for a certain length of time (usually 12 months). You have until your
enrollment period runs out to complete all of the required course work. Each school has
their own specific policies and time limitations so check the institution's
policy before you enroll.
Transferring Credit -
If you want to apply independent study credits towards your college degree or
high school diploma, you need to be aware that some institutions have certain
requirements that must be fulfilled before they will accept correspondence study
credit. We suggest that if you wish to earn credit for an independent study
course, talk to the institution you want to apply the credit towards and make
sure that it meets their requirements. Many institutions also limit the amount
of credits you can transfer into their program
Course Materials -
Course materials always include a study guide in the packet, this is usually
provided as part of the initial program cost. Packets may also include books,
videos, manuals, lab kits, audio tapes, slides, photographs, or other materials.
The cost of textbooks is usually not included in the course fee. Some courses do
require the purchase of the required textbooks but others allow you to rent them
from the institution.
Students in Foreign Countries -
If you plan to take independent learning programs while overseas or are a
foreign student seeking to enroll in a distance program here in the U.S. there
are special considerations you need to make. U.S. students enrolling for a
course they will be taking while out of country would be wise to enroll before
you leave the U.S. This will save you exorbitant shipping fees and tariff
expenses. Foreign students can usually enroll electronically on an institutions
web site but need to read their specific policies regarding foreign admissions.
Financial Aid -
Financial aid is not often available to independent learning students.
Students can sometimes get aid from employers, unions, and federal aid but
institutional aid is usually reserved for "traditional" students.