Is Virtual High School Right for You? Here Are Some Questions to Ask

Posted on August 22 2013

Are you thinking of enrolling in an online high school? This decision is one that should not be taken lightly. After all, a virtual high school presents a different way of learning, one that is different from the kind of learning offered in “brick and mortar” high schools. What’s more, when you do decide to go the online high school route, you also need to make the choice of which one to enroll in.

To help you determine whether getting an online high school education is the right path for you to follow, here are some questions you should ask to help you decide:

  • What is the reason why you’re considering getting your high school diploma through a virtual school? There are many reasons why people consider an online high school as a viable alternative to earning a high school diploma. This may be the desire for an accelerated or challenging program. This may be because you need a more flexible schedule due to other goals – a pursuit in sports, athletics or the arts. You may have missed out on earning your diploma due to one reason or another and now need want to move up towards a college education or to gain better employment opportunities. These reasons will weigh heavily in your decision-making process.
  • Preparedness. Are you ready to learn the online way? Do you have the motivation and self-discipline to complete lessons and do projects even if there is no one “looking down your shoulder”? Do you have enough time on your schedule to fit in lessons and projects? Although an online high school program offers plenty of flexibility so that you work on your own pace, you do need to remember that learning still needs time. You should also have the technology and space necessary. Do you have a reliable internet connection, as well as an up-to-date computer? Do you have a space at home where you can have the peace and quiet you need to concentrate?
  • Curriculum and choice of courses. How many courses in various subject areas are being offered? The online school should offer all the courses necessary for one to get his high school diploma. The courses offered should also be able to meet quality standards, both on the state and national levels. What projects do they require that will help you develop holistically? Are these projects and activities integrated into their program?
  • Accreditation. Is the online high school accredited by the local accreditation board? This is important when you are using the high school diploma you get from the online school to apply to colleges. Some colleges only accept these credits when they are from an accredited organization. It is also important to check the type of institutional accreditation that the school has. The American Academy is accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission.
  • Your individual needs. It is important to recognize that individuals learn in different ways and that getting an education through an online high school program works best for certain types of learners. Visual learners prefer looking at videos, seeing graphics and pictures. They learn best when the lesson is delivered through something they can see. Meanwhile, auditory learners learn through hearing and talking. They like to listen to the lesson being delivered rather than reading about it. There is also a tendency to struggle with working quietly for an extended period of time. Lastly, kinesthetic learners learn best through things they can do and touch. They like learning through role plays, making models, doing puzzles as well as using computers. When looking at a virtual high school, ask what they do to cater to your particular learning style.
  • Socialization. Is the online school giving opportunities for students to socialize within the learning community? This can include field trips, clubs and extracurricular activities that you can join in and meet your online classmates. Another opportunity to forge links towards socialization is through forums and group chats.
  • Support. How much support do you have at home? If you are a working student, is someone ready to take up the slack in household chores while you work on your lessons? If you are a teenager, are your parents committed to be directly involved in coaching you and monitoring your progress. Will the online school provide you with additional help? This can come in the form of technical support, the availability of online teachers who will guide the student successfully finish the course he is taking.
  • Teachers. Are teachers licensed and qualified? How much experience do they have in teaching in an virtual high school environment?