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Correspondence study is normally divided into College and University courses, and Private home-study schools, which many schools offer.

Home study courses vary in scope, level, and length. Some require only weeks for completion, while others may have more assignments and require three to four years of study.

A reputable home-study school:

- States its objectives clearly.
- Offers educationally sound instructional methods which meet the announced objectives.
- Provides adequate examination services, encouragement, and individual attention.
- Maintains adequate services.
- Is honest in its advertising and promotional materials.
- Shows ample financial resources to carry out its long-term obligations to students.
- Uses reasonable tuition collection methods and has a satisfactory refund policy.
- Maintains proper student records.

However, there are many things to consider before signing the dotted line with your future correspondence school. Fraudulent organizations do exist and are often referred to as "degree-mills". They often only require a payment for the "diploma". Most of these types operate solely by mail. In many cases, staffs and offices do not even exist. Therefore, before you sign an enrollment application, read and understand it carefully. Applications have a funny way of turning into contracts when signed by prospective students and returned to the school. Never let yourself be pressured into signing anything.

Tips to remember:

- Obtain official catalogs or brochures of the schools and study them carefully.
- Ask for names and addresses of graduates in your own community or state. Ask their evaluation of the school's courses and services. Many schools will gladly furnish names of graduates whom you can contact.
- Check with your Better Business Bureau.
- Consult your high school principal or guidance counselor for help.
- Check with your state department of education to determined if the school is licensed.
- Check to see if the school is accredited by a nationally recognized agency.