International Correspondence Schools...

Q: Does anyone else find that these places are very "diploma milly"??... Take the following as cumulative evidence, each piece by itself may not seem too bad... but COMBINE them and, to me at least, you've got an organization that seems pretty "iffy"... Every month or so they send you a "new" offer of tuition -- essentially they reduce the tuition a little every month to try an entice you to join one of their programs -- until after about a year, then they give up... [or they send you something saying to the effect of... "within the next 21 days get $50 off... so hurry and join!"]

A:The fact of a school advertising says nothing about its quality. Harvard advertises a lot; so, even, does Western Ontario. (How did you learn about your soon-to-be alma mater, Emir?) The flamboyance of advertising may suggest non-wonderfulness, but not necessarily. I have seen many junior or community college ads in 'penny savers' that were indistinguisable in appearance and style from the used car lots and carpet warehouses on adjoining pages. Even tuition reductions if you enroll by a certain early deadline. Probably embarrasses the faculty no end. But in the US, more than 20 regionally accredited colleges and universities shut down last year, most of them for financial reasons. Would flamboyant advertising have helped? Where is Sally Struthers now that we need her? For whatever it's worth, we did a test, in advertising Heriot-Watt MBAS courses last year, offering free airline miles to course buyers (up to 20,000 miles). The control group that wasn't offered miles bought significantly more courses than the experimental group. We cannot know why, but we stopped the promotion. Maybe ginsu steak knives? I don't know what ICS are doing on the other side of the Atlantic, but on this (European) side I'd regard them (assuming it's the same organisation) as a respectable old-style correspondence school. Many of their courses prepare candidates for exams set by other bodies: eg British GCSEs, City & Guilds, NEBSM. They also offer courses preparing people for the entry exams to certain jobs, as well as a range of non-examined courses. I imagine that they have all the disadvantages of old-style correspondence schools, especially a high dropout rate, but as far as I know they don't pretend to offer any qualifications that they're not entitled to offer. I should add that I do not have, and never have had, any connection with ICS or with any other correspondence school of that nature. I do have 20 years' experience in respectable distance education in Ireland. As this is my first posting to this group, I hereby offer to provide brief biographical information if anyone is interested. I took an electronics course from ICS while I was in the military (1988) for the purpose of obtaining "promotion points" toward E-5... It worked well for that purpose, and the military paid for it... I could not really see the information in the program being very good for anything other than personal knowledge, but when in a pinch for "points" and no time for classes, it worked well.... for those needing advanced training for a job search, this is NOT the way to go!

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