The Ultimate Guide To Graduating Online High School
Day 1: A traditional high school doesn’t work for everyone.
A traditional high school doesn’t work for everyone. Things like scheduling and learning style can get in the way. Some schools just don’t provide the resources students need. Students switch from a traditional program to online high schools every day. Many students also come back as adults to finish their education and explore new options.
Whatever your situation, online high schools could be the perfect solution. You can attend and complete classes on your schedule. For some students, this means taking more classes each semester and graduating faster. For others, it means taking it a bit slower and focusing on individual classes to do better.
Before you sign up with any school, you should always make sure you know the basics:
- Is the school accredited?
- How much will you pay in tuition?
- What kind of support can you expect from teachers?
- Do they offer remedial or advanced classes?
- Does your diploma come from the online high school or a local school?
Many people think of online high school as a way to push yourself forward and take extra classes. As you might expect, it takes work to get the process started. It can be much easier than some expect, though.
One of the most important things to do is decide on a schedule. A conventional high school would require you to attend during set daytime hours. Online high schools give you the flexibility to choose when you attend classes. You should always set up a consistent schedule. Otherwise, it can be easy to keep pushing it aside til later.
Second, never be afraid to ask for help. Teachers are here to help. Just like teachers in a conventional high school, they can answer any questions you have. It’s just a matter of knowing how to reach out via email, phone, or other methods depending on the school. Online high school allows students to take more control over their schedule. This doesn’t mean you’re on your own to complete your courses. Students who reach out for help often report getting more support than they did in a traditional high school.
If you’re nervous about going back or a traditional high school just isn’t working for you, it’s time to explore your options. Accredited online high schools offer more classes to help students plan their future. The first step to finding the right program is to go online and find accredited high schools. Then you can find a program designed to help you with your needs.
Day 2: What Are Your Needs?
From young teens to adults going back to school, anybody can go online to earn their high school diploma. For a growing number of students, the public school system just isn’t enough. It doesn’t have the options students are looking for. Sometimes, teachers can’t provide the necessary support. Students of various ages and backgrounds have more options from the comfort of their own home. If the traditional structure isn’t working for you, all you need is a computer and internet connection.
Sometimes, it’s parents making the decisions. Other times, students make the decisions for themselves. What drives students to this non-traditional outlet?
Why Students Go Online to Get Their High School Diploma
Everybody has different reasons for going online to earn their high school diploma. Some students just want to earn high school credits. They fell behind in a traditional high school. Online schools help them catch up. Students can earn credits for classes they missed, failed, or classes they can’t find in their local high school. This allows students to work at their own pace with a curriculum that meets their needs. If you rely on a traditional class schedule, it can be difficult if not impossible to catch up and graduate on time.
Some students also use online high schools to graduate early. They aren’t being challenged enough. They also don’t have enough time during school hours to take the classes they’re prepared for. Online high schools allow you to supplement your regular classes to graduate sooner. Then you can get onto other things like college or career schools.
For adult students returning to high school, online high schools also provide a flexible schedule. You don’t have to attend during traditional school hours. Depending on your schedule, you can break your schooling up into sections throughout the day. As long as you have a solid plan to stick to, you can build your schedule around your needs, not your school’s. Especially for the non-traditional student, scheduling is one of the biggest barriers to returning to school. Online high schools open the door to help students find exactly what they need.
Finally, parents can get struggling kids away from bad influences and schools that aren’t meeting their needs. Many students struggle with negative peer groups or learning disabilities. They aren’t finding the support they need in traditional high schools. With the same environment, they can’t break the cycle. Online high school students give these students an alternative place to learn. Students struggling with negative peer groups then have a chance to find new friends and open different doors. Going online can also remove common distractions that could hold students back from learning as efficiently as they’d like to.
Finally, you can always make changes as necessary. You might need to slow it down and take fewer classes some semesters. Others might find they can handle more rigorous schedules once certain distractions are removed.
When you combine all the benefits a high school offers, many students find the perfect fit. You get more autonomy and options. You can decide when you want to attend, how many classes you want to take, and more. Students can make new friends based on interests rather than location. Many teens are also able to get away from bullies in their local school.
With many online high schools, it isn’t just about earning credits and a high school diploma. Accredited schools offer many of the same programs available at traditional schools. Teachers offer support via email and other methods. Students are often able to develop stronger study habits that prepare them for college and future careers. Depending on what your goals are, you can even find career programs to give you a head-start before you graduate.
Many things drive students to look for an alternative to the school they’re in now. Parents often look into charter and other private schools. Online high schools can be more affordable and flexible. Depending on what your goals are, going online might even fit more of your needs. This is especially true when parents are concerned about certain friends or bullies. For some adult students, online high schools might be the only option that fits into their schedules. When you apply yourself to the right school, you can get more out of your experience every day.
Many things drive students to look for an alternative to the school they’re in now. Parents often look into charter and other private schools. Online high schools can be more affordable and flexible. Depending on what your goals are, going online might even fit more of your needs. This is especially true when parents are concerned about certain friends or bullies. For some adult students, online high schools might be the only option that fits into their schedules. When you apply yourself with the right school, you can get more out of your experience every day.
Day 3: Packing Your Backpack for Online High School Classes
Your first day at any new school can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. When you’re prepared, things can go smoothly. Then you can focus on the learning experience. Online high school can be a big and positive transition for many students. You get away from the traditional classroom and learn on your own schedule. You can use online videos, tutorials, and other resources. When students know how to approach online high school, they can do better.
You have more classes and resources than many public schools. You can also get individualized attention and more scheduling options. Some students don’t want to take as many classes during a semester, or they need to fit their class schedule around work and family obligations. Others are ready to take more classes and graduate sooner. The more prepared you are, the less overwhelming all of this will be going in. What can you do to improve your experience?
- Pack Your Online Backpack
In a traditional school, you’d carry things like a calculator, pens, and notebooks. When you go online, a keyboard will be your pen. You can use both Microsoft Office suites and online resources like Google Docs for your paper. Many of your assignments and classes are interactive. So some of the resources you need are built into the program. If you need textbooks, current technologies allow you to rent digital textbooks you can take anywhere. You can even use apps on your phone and computer to create digital flashcards.
- Don’t Hesitate to Ask Questions
We can almost guarantee there will be things you don’t understand going in, and this is fine. If you’re at all unsure of something or if you just want to make sure, always ask questions. Talk to teachers, and collaborate with other students. Sometimes, other students have insight into your questions and a different way of explaining it.
- Get a Schedule & Work It
Before you start your online high school classes, always make your schedule. Decide when you’re going to go through your classes and do homework. Make sure you can maintain this schedule or make small adjustments as needed. You can consider things like work that are already scheduled and things you can schedule around your class schedule.
- Make Goals and Remind Yourself Why You’re Going Back to School
Before you start anything, you should always decide what your goals are. What do you want to do with your education? Why are you going back to earn your degree? This can help you decide if you’re interested in a high school diploma or GED. If you’re considering college, career schools, or other advanced training, you should always look into a high school diploma.
- Get Involved with the Online High School Community
One of the biggest concerns for online high school students is isolation. They worry they won’t get as much help or community without going to a physical classroom. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Regardless of your age, you can find peers in the online high school community. Teens can find sports leagues and other extracurricular activities. Adults can find support, fun, and other gatherings.
- Get Adequate Bandwidth and a Good Internet Connection
When you learn online, you might be watching videos and loading other pages simultaneously. So make sure your bandwidth is up to par. This could mean upgrading your internet to make sure you can browse quickly and get the coverage you need throughout the month.
- Make Sure Your Computer Is Up to Par
Whether you have a laptop or desktop, make sure you have the right computer. Things like your video card and RAM matter. If you don’t have enough, it can slow down the speed of your computer. You might also see videos flashing or otherwise not working the way they’re supposed to. When you’re learning, you should eliminate as many barriers as possible.
- Have a Workplace Built for Success
Set aside space for your learning. You should have a sturdy desk that can hold everything you need. Also, make sure you have a comfy chair. Even if you have a standing desk, you might want to sit down from time to time. You’re not walking between classrooms for each subject. For many students, this means a lot more time sitting. If you have a standing desk, you can also find mats that provide more support. You should be comfortable for extended periods. Don’t be afraid to switch it up from time to time. You can go to coffee shops or shared workspaces if you need a break from the usual.
- Complete the Challenging Classes First
You can plan out your curriculum at any time. Many people do better by completing their hard classes first. You can get the stress out of the way and look forward to the simpler classes that will be more fun. This way, you also get it done and reduce your stress. You can get it over with rather than putting it off til later.
- Involve Your Family
Your family will be an integral part of keeping things together when you’re in school. So make sure to involve them in your choice. They can help you set the right schedule and keep things flexible. If something comes up, you need to know if family will cover you. If they can’t, you might need to make adjustments to your schedule early on.
- Get Ready for the SAT and ACT
Before you apply to college, you’ll need to take exams like the ACT and SAT. Colleges use these tests to decide which applicants to accept and place them in the right classes. Students start college at different levels in math, English, and other core courses. Online high school classes can help you learn the core concepts. Some students go the extra step and sign up for ACT/SAT prep classes. Your score can determine where you go with your future.
Day 4: What to Know before the Course Starts
Now you’ve picked a school and started your application. It’s time to get ready and prepare and get things moving in the right direction. Things don’t always move forward as seamlessly as we’d like them to. Online high school can be the perfect answer when you run into complications. You need to know how the system works to make an informed decision. Before any of your courses start, you should lay a basic foundation. This way, you can focus on the course material instead of trying to figure out the basics when you should be learning. Every student can do a few things to prepare for a change in their high school experience.
- Get Familiar with the Online Learning Center
Online learning centers are set up to give students vital resources for learning. This could include access to teachers, study groups, practice tests, and more. This is where you go to sign up for your classes and get syllabi. When you’re familiar with your command center, you can get a lot more done. You can find resources to help you learn when you have more questions. It might even help you plan your curriculum. Many high school students don’t know what classes they’re missing. No matter where you are in your high school education, the online learning center is something you’ll use from start to finish.
- Have a Great Internet Connection
You get the benefit of working on your schedule. This means you can attend class in the middle of the night if you want. You just have to decide when you want to learn and stick to that schedule as much as possible. If you lose your internet connection, you lose your connection to teachers, homework, and many other things you can access online.
Even if you just have a slow internet connection, you could run into serious problems. Many online classes have video tutorials or class sessions. A slow internet connection can cause buffering and other serious problems. It’s harder to get a good internet connection in some areas. Always make sure you get reasonable speeds. Otherwise, delayed or otherwise problematic videos can get in the way of a proper learning experience later on.
- Know How to Access Your Online Courses
This starts with something as basic as knowing your username and password. Password requirements can be low. Many sites require more complicated passwords. If you feel like you might forget, don’t be afraid to write your information down. You can put the information near your computer or in another secure location. You can also bookmark your main page to ensure you know where to go.
If you need to, take some time to practice before you start your first day of online high school. You can get any kinks worked out. If you need help, website administrators can help you sort out the details. Often, it comes down to getting small things right or doing a little troubleshooting. The earlier you do this, the less you have to worry about later on. Just as students might go to open houses and explore high schools before their first day, online students should make sure they know how to use it.
- Have a Fast Computer
Your internet connection isn’t the only factor when you consider speed. You should also make sure you have a fast computer. Things like your RAM matter. If you’re watching videos or loading multiple pages, 2 GB RAM isn’t even close to being enough. Most students need at least 4 GB. You can get more if you prefer faster speeds. For online high school, make sure you also have the right video card. Doing this early could save you a lot of hassle later on.
- Check in Early the First Few Times
Don’t be surprised if you don’t get everything right the first day. Sometimes, you just need extra time to figure out the details. You’ve prepared your computer and explored the site. Attending a class or even emailing teachers for the first time can be confusing. So start early and give yourself a little extra time until you feel comfortable. This way, you can avoid an unnecessary time crunch.
- Review the Course Syllabus and Take Note of Any Deadlines
Online classes can be attended on your schedule. This doesn’t mean you can leave everything til the last minute. Like conventional high schools, many classes have different deadlines for assignments and tests. Make sure you know what these are. Many students learn a little at a time. When you know what your deadlines are, you’ll know when you need to put in extra work to get things done. You can also check for any special instructions before you get started.
- Create a Regular Routine for Your Course Communications and Activities
When you can get into a rhythm, you can make your learning experience much more efficient. You don’t want to sit at the computer for hours. You should always set aside enough time on set days to learn. This helps students get into learning mode while shutting out other distractions more easily. You should also include any outside activities in this schedule.
This could mean attending different classes on different days. It could also mean studying each subject for short periods each day. This way, you can keep things interesting. When you get tired of one subject matter, you’re ready to move onto the next. For some students, this keeps their brain more engaged. How much time you spend on any given day is up to you.
- Check on Weekly Check-in Times
Some schools will schedule regular check-in times for students. This is a formality in many cases. You should always know when yours are. This will help you make the most of your high school experience. It can also provide opportunities to connect with your teachers and enjoy different resources. So make sure to check in as scheduled. If you can’t make it one week, you can reschedule one appointment or change all of them to a time that makes more sense.