Home Study Diplomas: Are Correspondence Courses Right for Me?

If you are considering earning a high school diploma in a distance-learning format, you should consider many factors, including your own personal learning qualities, your work environment, the cost of attendance and the technology needed for online study.

Considerations for Home Study Diploma Programs

Personal Qualities

Most high school students would jump at the opportunity to study from home, but that doesn't mean it's the best decision for everyone. Individuals who excel in home study diploma programs generally posses some of the following characteristics:


Not everybody finds the motivation to study without the structure of a traditional high school. If a student requires a bit more encouragement to get things done, they might consider either sticking with traditional high school or exploring an online diploma program that relies upon regularly scheduled class 'meetings.'

Self-Teaching Abilities

Unlike traditional high schools, finding somebody to help with a difficult assignment may not be simple. While some programs offer quality instruction options, others expect the student to find help in person. They should be sure that they have a trustworthy adult around who is willing to lend a hand when needed.


In order for home instruction of any sort to be effective, the learning environment should be neat and orderly. Any aspiring student won't want to lose an assignment or an entire workbook containing a month's worth of assignments and lessons.

Independent Learning Style

Every diploma program - whether correspondence, traditional, or online - appeals to certain senses during instruction. Some require reading, while others provide audio and video feeds. Many correspondence courses require one to learn directly from workbooks, possibly with the help of a family member or fellow student. While this may work well for some, others require a bit more visual or hands-on instruction to learn effectively.


It is also important for prospective home study diploma students to make sure that their home environment supports positive learning. Just as with any other type of diploma program, students often need some peace and quiet in order to study and complete assignments. If your home doesn't provide this type of retreat, you may want to consider other locations to work, such as a library, café or community center.

Cost of Attendance

Unlike public high schools, most correspondence high school diploma programs are hosted by private institutions, which can costs money to attend. Students may also be required to pay for textbooks and workbooks, and in non-online programs, they may be responsible for postage when mailing assignments back and forth.

While it is true that cost is not always indicative of quality, true quality programs typically cost more simply because the materials they use are more valuable. Researching a program of choice well before enrolling will ensure getting the best value out of a program.

Technology Requirements

More than ever, distance learning programs are offered online. Therefore, home study diploma students need to make sure that they have the computer hardware and software necessary to support online studies. It is important to check with the program, but some of the computer features needed for online learning typically include:

  • An up-to-date Windows or Mac operating system
  • High-speed Internet access
  • A certain amount of computer memory
  • Office software
  • Antivirus software
  • Web camera
  • Headphones and speakers
  • Microphone
  • CD/DVD drive

Home study diploma programs are a great way for independent, self-motivated learners to earn their high school diploma. Before enrolling, prospective students should make sure that they have the right technology and that they can afford any costs associated with these programs.

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