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Correspondence education is also referred to as distance education and there are also many online courses available. Over the years I have successfully studied many courses via correspondence. I now also work as a tutor for a college offering correspondence and online courses.
One of the main challenges when studying on your own at home is to stay organized and motivated. In this article I will reveal tips and hints to help you succeed just like I did and the hundreds of students I tutor.
Over the years I have completed studies in psychology, theology, interior decorating and interior design via correspondence. My venture into this mode of study was due to the fact we moved every year/eighteen months. When we did stay in a city for a number of years I was able to attend college and university where I complete studies in interior design, public and community health and workplace training. I love to learn new things and continue to study.
You can work at your own pace
There are pros and cons to studying by this method. You can arrange times of study to suit your schedule and lifestyle. You can work quickly through the material and assignments or take a slower pace. In the winter you can do your study in the warm comfort of your home. In hot summer weather you can stay home and stay cool. There are no transport costs. You do not need to worry about special clothing. There are many advantages.
Select your course of study carefully
The first thing to do is to choose your course careful. Make sure you really have a passion for the subject you plan to study. Things to consider are the college's reputation, the length of the course and the cost. It pays to shop around and pick a course tailored to your needs and budget.
Work out a study schedule and write your goals. Written goals with a time frame are motivating
If you haven't studied by correspondence before it may be wise to try a short course or a few subjects first. It took me a while to enjoy studying this way. All steps towards learning are positive so even if you are unable to complete the course you will have made some positive approaches towards achieving something. I am a tutor for Australian College QED .... Students have three years to complete their course.
People often have the wrong attitude about learning. All attempts at learning are positive steps. Money is simply a means to get you there. When you do complete a course you have achieved your outcome. But you don't have to stop there you can keep going. The confidence gained will help you toward more positive outcomes.
Read the first lesson in one sitting
It is so exciting when the first study pack arrives. This is the time to work out a study schedule. Be realistic. My advice; don't bite of more than you can chew. A few hours a week often works better than a whole day of study once a month. Although this may be your only option if you only have one day free try to do some reading of the material before your planned day of study.
Read the assignment and make notes on what you need to know
Read quickly through your study material at one sitting. This will give you an idea of the material to be covered. You may decide to divide the material into topics or chapters and tackle one topic or one chapter at a time. Then read through the assignment project. As you read through this write some brief notes. The notes will answer the question ‘what I need to know to complete this assignment'. Take a break or finish for the day.
Break the lesson down into manageable segments
At your next study session read through the notes you have complied about what you need to know. Then read through the study material at a slower pace. Take notes as you go. I actually write notes in point form in pencil in the margins of the study material. Underline important points or quotes. Keep thinking about what you need to know for the assignment. Take a break or finish for the day.
Work through each segment slowly
During your next study session go to the assignment and check if you can answer the questions. Don't panic if you can't remember. Sometimes the assignment is worded in such a way we think we have not understood the lesson. If you don't understand look the words up in a dictionary. Another word can give us a light bulb moment. "Aahh" now I know what this means. During this session see if you can answer a few of the questions. If you are given a project the same system applies. The assignment will inform you of what you need to know to do the project.
Reward yourself with a coffee break, chocolate or time out in the sunshine
You may find you sail through in one session at other times it can take a number of sessions. Do be kind to yourself if you are having a bad day stop studying. It really is better to have short periods of study. Half an hour each day is usually better than eight hour days. Having said that if you find you are really flowing along and have time keep going. Sometimes a short break for a coffee in the sunshine or rewards like this can work wonders.
Read the assignment instructions carefully. Write a check list of what you need to do
When you are ready to do the assignment read through the questions or requests if it is a project carefully. I often write notes to use as a check list. I need to do this and this and this. Always take care to follow any instructions on how the assignment should be presented. Make it easy for the person marking your work. If your hand writing is messy always type your work. Sometimes it pays to write your answers to questionnaires in pencil first. This will help you to know if your writing will fit in the space provided. My handwriting tends to be big. So I type my answers on another page.
Take care to present your work to advantage
How you present your work is very important. Make sure the pages are neat with no marks or stains. Label each page with your name and student reference number (the footer in a Word document works well for this information). A title page and a contents page for large pieces of work can make it easier to mark. Place the assignment in a folder. A4 size pages are a better option when posting your work so steer away from larger pages unless instructed otherwise. If the assignment brief has instructions on how to present your work follow them to the letter. You will be rewarded for the care you take by going the extra mile.
Check your work a few hours or the next day before you send it in
When you have finished leave it overnight if you can. If you can't leave it overnight leave it as long as you can. Go and have a break. It is amazing how you can see things you were not aware of when you last viewed your work.
Some of us can tend to be perfectionists. It is better to get the work in and marked than to keep working to make it perfect. If you have this tendency do the best you can then send the assignment in. I believe if you follow the suggestions in this article you will find your study via correspondence a rewarding and successful way to study.
For students looking to study interior decorating or interior design online, visit our website, SampleBoard.com where you will be able to create digital sample and moodboards for your assignment submissions.
Author: Rosena MacFadzean for SampleBoard.com - The digital moodboard editor for the creative industries