How to Select the Best Online High School
There is undeniably no doubt that virtual learning is the future of our education system. In fact, several advocates of online learning now believe that traditional education systems may become outdated sometime in the near future.
Given the cost advantages and flexibility that online learning platforms have to offer, there is no doubt that this may simply turn into reality at some point in time. For those of you who have realized how plausible that is, it is time to be ready for the changes headed our way. Thus, how do you go about finding the best online high school for your teen?
It’s easy. You stick to the basics. There are numerous different factors you can consider when assessing different schools. Nevertheless, to pick one that’s ideally suited to cater to your teen’s learning needs, all you have to do is remember the important factors and make sure that the school you pick checks out on all counts.
This is undoubtedly the most crucial aspect you should consider when planning to enroll your teen in an online high school. Accreditation ensures that schools adhere to a standard of education that is recognized regionally or nationally. It also means that the school is held accountable to an independent agency for the academic results it delivers. What makes accreditation so crucial is that most universities and colleges will only accept students who have graduated from accredited online high schools.
Today, because no set of accreditation standards has been established on a nationwide basis, accreditation for online learning schools is managed on a state and regional basis. Because this is of prime importance, parents must make the necessary inquiries about the school’s accreditations to make sure that they are making the right choice.
Because online learning platforms are nothing like traditional schooling, learners need a certain amount of handholding initially. Parents should assess schools based on the level of student support they offer to help students get accustomed to online learning platforms. There are several services that are usually made available to both parents and students, which is why it assists if you have a checklist handy when assessing each online high school.
Some of the key services parents should consider when assessing online high schools include tutoring services, parent or community network, availability of school counselors, presence of learning coaches that helps parents cope with the issues their teenagers face with online learning, and other kinds of services offered to parents in addition to those that are crucial for the success of learners.
Online instruction is not quite similar to teaching in a traditional classroom. There are several challenges that instructors do not come across when imparting education in a physical classroom. Parents should ensure that the instructors are sufficiently qualified. Parents should also understand the type of curriculum used for online learning and how it is delivered to learners.
The content for every grade level differs according to the age and aptitude of learners, which is why it is crucial that parents evaluate the type of course content being used because course curriculum plays an extremely critical role in student engagement, especially when it comes to high school students.
While online learning content plays a critical role in the success of the learning process, the quality of the curriculum is by no means any less significant. Having the right kind of instructors is absolutely essential for learners to be engaged in their course curriculum and receive all the help they require.
With online learning, credit transfers play a significant role when transferring into as well as out of online programs. Most high schools don’t accept credits from an unaccredited school, so enrolling with an accredited online high school is crucial. Parents should discuss the whole transfer process with the proper authorities to make sure that other high schools in the country recognize the credits they wish to transfer.
This is also significant when pursuing university or college applications or even when applying for employment opportunities. Given the amount of money and time one invests in virtual education, the importance of accreditation can’t be overstated. That is why it helps having all the necessary information about credit transfer prior to enrolling for an online course.
Because a major part of the time is spent studying online, online learning schools typically arrange for learners to engage in extracurricular activities.
Parents should find out if the school they plan to enroll in offers such programs that help learners socialize in an increasingly online world. Programs to assist students in socializing consist of activities such as field trips and social clubs and should be an integral part of the learner’s learning process.
Parents should also assess whether the technology infrastructure is sufficient for learners to acquire and utilize the best learning tools. In general, online schools have a set of minimum requirements that they expect students to meet by providing all hardware and software required for studying in an interactive manner.
It’s also important to investigate whether or not the school provides courses on Digital literacy because it is crucial for learners to understand how they can utilize their newfound digital skills in their future career endeavors.
CURRICULUM AND TEACHING ASSESSMENT METHODS
Curriculum choice is critical for student success; therefore, parents should ensure that there are ample options available at every level and subject combination such as math, science, social studies, foreign languages, and various other offerings.
Counselors or mentors are also an important part of the learning process especially for learners in high school who are considering enrolling in online schools. Online schools should have sufficient staff resources as well as appropriate office hours so parents can consult with experts if required.
A potentially good option for students would be to use email to communicate their concerns regarding studying and acquiring new skills; this might give a greater sense of independence coupled with reduced anxiety levels.
This refers to what career opportunities an individual will have after graduating high school. The practicality of attending online high school is very important when considering what education to pursue.
Most online schools will offer a wide range of courses so that students can be prepared for almost any job they may desire when they graduate, there are many options available, and make the most out of them. Most importantly, parents should not overlook continuing education or adult classes if their child wishes to acquire more skills or even consider changing careers later in life.
An extremely helpful suggestion for making all these decisions would be to consult with experts from online schools and discuss the options available especially when it comes to potential job markets.
There are various online schools that offer completely self-paced programs. Students in this type of learning environment can work independently to complete course assessments and proceed at their own pace. It is important for students to seek out assistance when they need help from educators or career counselors, which may result in delays in completing courses but ensures a better understanding of the material presented;
Some online programs offer partly self-paced courses while others are fully accelerated. In a fully accelerated online program, students can practically complete an entire year’s worth of studies within one school year. The curriculum used by these types of online high schools is designed to allow learners to study at their own pace as well as through deadlines set by the school itself.
Freedom is an aspect that most learners look forward to while pursuing their academic endeavors. Once students enroll in online schools they do not have to be physically present at any school or government facility; therefore, it can be seen as one of the main advantages associated with online education.
Learners are also free from experiencing social prejudice and peer pressure often associated with attending regular high school classes. Another important thing parents should take into consideration is the fact that most online schools offer open enrollment which means that you are free to choose your own schedule when it comes down to semesters or ranking up .
It is important to consider affordability when you are choosing the best school for yourself. Online schools generally cost less than mainstream high schools. After evaluating costs such as transportation, textbooks and other related fees it’s much cheaper to enroll in an online high school program; however, this will vary depending on what state the student lives in.
Keep in mind that not all online schools are accredited by reputable accreditation organizations; therefore, before making decisions parents should make sure that their child’s potential new educational institution has been recognized by American School & University magazine. There are many independent accreditation agencies that institutions can use as a gauge of their quality of education.
Before enrolling in any online school, students must ensure that they have done their research on the school they are considering to make sure that other students have had a positive experience while studying there.
It is important for parents and learners alike to utilize various platforms in order to learn about students who have previously attended this type of high school online; such as discussion boards, blogs, and social media sites. This will help you determine whether or not the institution is suitable before making your decision.
Preparation for College
Lastly, one of the primary goals of high school education is to help prepare learners for higher studies. Several different aspects form a part of the online learning experience when preparing for college that comprises availability of honors, college prep courses, adequate preparation for standardized tests, access to college advisors and counselors, among others.
Students and parents should inquire about the different college prep services that are offered by the school and the percentage of students who’ve graduated in the past and were accepted into college and university programs.
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