Correspondence courses provide an alternative to regular classes

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For students who dread 8 a.m. courses, long commutes and the crowded on-campus environment, there is a way to work toward a degree from the comfort of home. The SHSU Correspondence Course Division offers students an alternative to the more traditional classroom setting.”Right now we offer a total of 79 courses by correspondence,” Correspondence Course Coordinator Gail Wright said. “There are a variety of classes available in several different subjects.”According to Wright, correspondence courses are becoming more widely used by students and have grown in popularity in recent years.”I would say correspondence courses are pretty popular, and have become even more so recently,” Wright said. “Our figures show that around 50 percent of all students at SHSU take a correspondence course at some point in their college career.”Wright said students make use of correspondence courses for various reasons. “When a class is closed they can get it though us, seniors who find their graduation will be delayed without taking one more class can usually find one here,” Wright said. “We can also help students who need to take a semester off, but still want to work toward their degree. They can take a class or two from home,” she said. “Really I think being able to take a class that is closed is the most common reason students take correspondence classes.”Students who have experience with correspondence courses said they enjoyed them, sometimes even more so than those held in the classroom.”By doing it yourself you cut out all the busy work, you just have to do around 10 lessons and take a final,” senior Kim Hoesel said.Wright said students should be aware of the pros and cons of taking a class on your own.”You have to be self-motivated to succeed in a correspondence course, there isn’t a professor there to set due dates on when things need to be done. That can be hard for some students,” Wright said. “On the pro side, however, you get to work at your own pace and in your own time.”Students who have taken correspondence courses echo the belief that leaving the structure of a classroom for the convenience of home can have both advantages and disadvantages.”I think for some people it can be a lot quicker to take a class by correspondence,” Hoesel said. “It wasn’t for me, I ended up doing most of the work in the last two weeks.””I missed the deadline to sign up for a class I wanted to take for upper level credit,” senior Dustin Cole said. “I’ve heard correspondence is a good way to earn credits so I plan to try signing up next semester.”The Correspondence Course Division offers courses that may be taken online as well as those whose lessons must be done by hand and taken to the correspondence office for grading. Students who sign up to take a correspondence course have one year to complete the allotted lessons and take a final exam. At the end of the one-year period, students may request up to a six-month extension. The registration fee for each correspondence course is $189 plus a non-refundable administrative fee of $25, totaling $214 for each course.Students said although self-discipline is required correspondence courses are worth the price.”I think correspondence is a good way to work even harder for your degree,” Hoesel said. “I would take one again.”For more information about the Correspondence Course Division contact its office at 294-1005. Information about available courses can also be obtained online by accessing the correspondence Web site through the university fast links section of the SHSU home page.