Alternative Routes to High School Success
Oftentimes alternatives to high schools simply are smaller, more intimate ways of approaching the same paradigm of schooling, but with interesting twists. A quick internet exploration will reveal alternative schools in your area. Some schools focus on sports or arts, and if your teenager’s interests line up with the focus of the chosen alternative schools, education here may be a viable choice.
If your student is hesitant about going to high school or is currently in high school but regrets the decision, do not panic. Your student may require to follow one of these alternative paths.
Does your teen feel hampered by the limited educational chances at your high school? Is she troubled about fitting in? There are numerous alternatives to high school that may appeal to your teenager.
Independent study, college or online courses, summer programs, and online high schools are some of the ways of engaging your restless high school learner.
Does your teen have a burning desire to study psychology, computer science, or women’s authors? Most high schools will allow learners to pursue independent study for high school credit.
Often high schools will provide regular classes in an independent study format if a learner has a schedule conflict and an instructor is willing to meet with the student one-on-one. Some schools will allow learners to pursue a particular subject they are interested in as an independent study if the course is not provided at the school. Confirm with your high school to find out the independent study options are provided.
Most high schools offer advanced placement programs, which are college-level courses provided at high schools. These courses are taught by advanced placement-trained high school teachers who follow course guidelines and curriculum developed by the College Board. Also, learners can take advanced placement courses through independent study, and some states sponsor advanced online courses. Courses are offered through high schools at no cost, but learners who want to receive college credit must take and pass an advanced placement examination, which costs $94. Fee reductions (to $32) are offered in some states to learners who are eligible.
Some high schools offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which is a rigorous two-year pre-university program. Learners who successfully complete the IB examinations at the end of the program receive an IB diploma, which is accepted by universities in over 100 countries.
Online High School
A wide range of options exists online for high school learners seeking advancement or courses not provided at their school. Students can take part individually, or, in the case of High School of America, a regular high school may participate and offer multiple course options for its learners.
High School of America was created in 1999 by teachers and innovators who recognized the power of online learning to transform K–12 education. Currently, High School of America has launched several successful blended learning centers across the globe, bringing quality online learning directly to the doors of millions of learners.
Students can choose courses from the course catalog. The regular high school that the learner attends covers the cost of class materials and online instruction. Students usually take part in their online course — conversing in online discussions, listening to lectures, as well as doing group projects — at their regular high school during a class period in the school day.
Online courses work best for self-disciplined, independent students. Some have an interactive component, while others involve just the student and the printed study materials. There are numerous online options available.
Homeschooling is the most quickly growing segment of education and can be done in a way that supports your teenager and his interests. Methods differ– from schooling at home, to charter programs within school districts, to interest-led learning to unschooling. Once more, a quick internet exploration will yield many options where you can find support.
Another alternative for your advanced student is to find appropriate, challenging programs she can attend during the summer. Most programs located on college campuses offer high school students challenging academics and a taste of college life.
Early or Middle College Programs
Most community colleges have collaborated with high schools and high school districts to form “early” or “middle colleges.” Early College High Schools (ECHS) are small high schools, typically located on college campuses, from which all learners graduate in either four or five years with both a high school diploma and an associate of arts degree. Middle College High Schools (MCHS) are secondary schools, typically grades 10-12, situated on college campuses. Some, but not all learners, in this program qualify to take college-level work, but they benefit from attending school on a college campus.
These programs are designed for high school learners who are not fitting in at their high school, have good basic skills in writing, reading, and math, and are ready for the challenge of doing college-level work.
Not only are community colleges a smart financial option, but they could also be the best fit for students. Notably, for a graduate who is interested in higher education but not sure that a bachelor’s degree is their final goal, community college is a good way to wade in, begin exploring areas of academic interest, and obtain some basic credits out of the way. In the event they decide to transfer to a four-year college, you will save on tuition. Your learner can also work while attending and explore career choices. Furthermore, many community colleges provide associate degrees in numerous technical and skilled trade fields.
For many high school graduates, the military, with its diverse branches and areas of service, presents a good choice. Benefits consist of a salary, room, and board paid college tuition through the GI Bill and retirement after 20 years. Bonus: the military will typically train you for a career after your years of service, and your teen can enter the workforce with experience.
The other option is to attend a military college and receive an officer’s commission after graduation in the service branch of your choice.
Chase a Creative Talent
Fancy yourself acting on the big screen, killing jokes on a set, or singing on stage? The time is now to go for it and skip college. The fact of the matter is that it is simpler to support yourself on this pursuit than while catering to the needs of a family later on in life.
So, give it all you got to become a professional actor, artist, comedian, dancer, and singer in this window of opportunity.
Spend a year auditioning for as many tasks as you can and start small to build your skills.
Hustle your butt off for 18 hours every day. Split a studio with five allies. Fight tooth and nail to make your dream become a reality.
Colleges would not help you nearly as much as you can help yourself in these creative fields.
Testing for Diploma Equivalency
You perhaps already know that your teenager can take the General Educational Development (GED) anywhere in the United States when he turns 18.
Nevertheless, you may not know about the CHSPE. California has the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) offered to teenagers who are 16 or have finished the second semester of their sophomore years. This exam carries the same weight as the General Educational Development (GD) and, by the California state act, is the legal equivalent to a high school diploma. Interestingly, a teenager does not have to be a resident of California, she just needs to be in California, and most individuals come from neighboring states to take it. New York and Wisconsin have similar versions. In Wisconsin, you have to be in the state for one week prior to taking the test or one month in New York. If this alternative appeals to you and your teenager, you can creatively approach these hurdles!
Resources and References: