Thursday, 24 February 2011

Online High School

Why You Shouldn't Choose an Online High School
I can tell you that online high schools are a wonderful invention. I can tell you these schools suit many learners. Yes, students do drop out of online high schools and in numbers that represent a significant percentage of students.
I like online high schools. I have written a book about online high schools. Little Johnny or Little Peggy Sue has been kicked out of their third high school for poor behavior.
1. Don't choose an online high school if you have trouble working independently. Online high schools are most successful for students who can get the job done. 2. Don't choose an online high school if you have been kicked out of many other high schools. Evaluate what gets you kicked out of school. Is it something that will not spill over into your online high school?

2. Don't choose an online high school if you are not willing to work hard. The drop-out rate for online high schools is significant. You will work hard. You will likely work harder than most public schools require.
3. Don't choose an online high school if you are not willing to choose an accredited school (no matter how much you may like the program). Unaccredited schools are not typically acceptable to employers and colleges. 5. Don't choose an online high school if you are using it to escape. Escaping public schools by going online is an acceptable choice. Escaping five-day-a-week school can be more problematic. I still think online high schools are a great option for many students for a variety of reasons. Myths about learning online are rampant. No where is this more evident than in learning at online high schools. 1. I should choose a school that is in my state. 2. I should choose the most expensive school. There are some quite good schools that are inexpensive and there are some quite good schools that are expensive. 2. I should choose the least expensive school. Sometimes there are valid reasons for choosing the least expensive school. 4. Prestige doesn't matter with online high schools. 5. Online high schools are all the same. Online high schools are as similar as traditional high schools. 6. Online high schools are only for homeschooled students. While there is a segment of the online high school population that is homeschooled, this is the smaller segment. Some do offer college counseling and you should check with the school if that is a priority for you.
3. Students who go to online high schools can't get into college. Any reputable online high school has compiled a list of the colleges that have admitted their students.
4. Online high schools are not as good as traditional high schools. In many cases, students find online high schools a better experience and that it does not suffer from quality because it is online.
While online high schools are not for everyone, they can be a wonderful alternative to traditional high schools.
How do you choose an online high school? Point 1: Is the school accredited or recognized by a governmental agency? At one point, I used to say that the only acceptable choices for online high schools were those that were regionally accredited. Some states do have a reasonable authorization process. Likewise, some school districts are offering real programs. By the way, there are almost as many fake accreditors as fake online high schools. Point 2: Does the school have a reasonable length of operation? If it is a newer school, what is the experience of those running the school. Point 3: Is it listed at a reputable source? Point 4: Is the school reasonably priced? Clearly, there is no doubt this is a fake school. Likewise, there are the commercial programs like Laurel Springs School, Penn Foster High School, or Keystone National High School that are also reasonably priced.
Some online programs are still very much tailored to an independent study format. Aligned with Point 5, some schools schedule course times and others have you work on your own. Point 7: Does it have a believable website? No, you absolutely cannot get a high school diploma for $300. Any site that is making amazing claims is not a good source of information on online high schools.
Point 10: Are you able to contact the school in multiple ways? A real school will have telephone access. A real school will have a fax number. A real school will have an email address and a website.
Should a reputable school hit all ten of these points? Schools should feel free to exceed these points, but potential students should be wary when schools do not live up to them.


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