Some people say that when you attend high school online “the world is your oyster.” That you can attend classes in your jammies or that you’ll never have to deal with teachers again and you won’t ever have to attend a boring health studies class again. Some of these things are true, but others are not. If you want to sort out rumors from facts, here are five completely true facts about online high school.
1. VIRTUAL SCHOOLS vs. “REAL” SCHOOLS
Let’s start with the totally wrong idea that online school is somehow not as “real” as a brick-and-mortar public or private school. The truth is, almost all virtual schools are also fully accredited schools. (For an excellent example, visit International Virtual Learning Academy at: https://internationalvla.com/ .) Accredited online high schools offer the same, or improved, standards-based curriculum in all the core courses required for graduation plus a wide range of electives and CTE (Career and Technical Education) courses. As a student at an accredited online high school, you can receive a high school diploma that meets the educational requirements for your state without ever attending classes in a traditional schoolroom. Or – you can combine online education opportunities with your local high school curriculum for a “blended” approach to your learning experience. (You’ll have to check with your school district to find out what the regulations are about online learning in your area.)
Remember – possibly the BEST thing about online high school is that you can take classes from wherever Internet access is available. And your time is your own! You can study while the sun is shining or wait until everyone else is asleep while enjoying the flexibility of moving through the curriculum requirements as fast or as slowly as you like.
2. SCHEDULE FLEXIBILITY
Have you ever noticed those busy people working on their laptops at your favorite coffee shop and wondered why you can’t do the same thing? Well – YOU CAN! When you enroll in an online high school, you can take classes at a coffee shop, restaurant, library, or at home in your own private space. If you’re an amateur athlete and you need to travel to competitions – DO IT! You can study on the bus or in your room at night! The same is true for people in the entertainment world. Travel and study from wherever you are! If you are dedicated to achieving a high school diploma, you can complete your dream within your busy schedule and from wherever you are at the moment.
3. ONLINE TEACHERS
So your best friend told you that if you transfer into an online high school you’re totally on your own and won’t have to deal with teachers ever again? Not True! And that’s a good thing! Any great online high school has a trained team of “virtual teachers” that play a really important role in that school. Generally, every class you sign up for will have a dedicated teacher whose job is to work one-on-one with each student in his or her class. And these teachers are probably not working with a class size of 35 or 40 students assigned to a single teacher. Because they are responsible for fewer students, they’ll generally have the time to pay attention to you if and when you need their attention. It’s true that virtual teachers do not work in the same way as teachers in a traditional classroom, but they are there to guide you, coach you and assist you through any problem you might come up against during the semester.
4. ONLINE CLASSES ARE NOT DESIGNED TO BE EASIER THAN TRADITIONAL COURSEWORK
Don’t enroll in an online high school if you’re thinking the classes will be easier than classes you took in a traditional school setting. Online schools are designed to meet the same educational standards as recognized by “regular” schools. You’ll discover that online schools have the same expectations for the education that you have experienced in the past. In fact, you’ll likely discover that your online school has the same attendance requirements and the same completion and testing requirements. What makes online school different is that you can do all of this at your own speed. If you have mastered an instructional section, you don’t have to wait for the rest of the class to catch up, you can move forward on your own. If you need a little more time to get through the course content – take it! It’s up to you. When choosing an online high school, remember – online courses will be just as challenging or difficult and require just as much work as a class you would take in any public or private school. Attending school online is just an alternative way of completing the same requirements.
5. COLLEGES DO ACCEPT DIPLOMAS FROM ONLINE HIGH SCHOOLS
When enrolling with an online high school, check to be sure the school is accredited before you make your final decision. If you want your credits to transfer to colleges or universities, you must attend an accredited virtual high school. These schools are accredited by the State Board of Education and credits you earn while attending are transferable not only to other public or private high schools but to an increasing number of colleges and universities. However – if you have a particular college in mind, it’s always a good idea to check in advance of application to be sure the college will accept a diploma from your online high school. The bottom line is if you have a diploma from an accredited online high school AND you have the SAT/ACT scores required by the college of your choice AND you meet the entrance requirements of that school, you should be able to attend any College or University you select.