Whether an online class takes off for national holidays and breaks depends on the academic schedule of the particular school. Some online programs choose to follow the traditional academic calendar—classes operate on fall, spring and summer semesters—and others set their own.

Online schools that offer classes by semesters have set beginning and ending dates for courses and predetermined class schedules. These types of colleges are more likely to recognize major national holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Fourth of July. Assignment due dates and exams will not be planned for those days, and course work will be adjusted so students can enjoy that time off. Online schools that do not follow the traditional academic calendar generally offer classes that do not have set beginning and ending dates or predetermined schedules. In these types of programs, students have the ability to complete class work at a pace they select. With no due dates or deadlines, students are free to set their own class schedules around any national holidays or breaks they wish to observe.

Even if the online school you are enrolled at does not recognize holidays or breaks, you still may be able to arrange to take time off or go away on vacation. Given the flexibility of online classes, it is often possible to complete course work ahead of time. Contact the course instructor to notify him or her of your plans and ask whether you can turn in an assignment early or take an exam before the scheduled date. No matter what type of online course you are taking, it's important not to assume that as a distance student you have the same holidays as other types of students. Remember to always check the academic schedule of the online school in which you are enrolled.

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