The Number of Virtual High Schools is Growing. What are the Answers to Some of the FAQs about this new Trend in Online Education?
Most people have heard about online colleges and students who earn degrees as elearners. Fewer people are aware of the virtual high schools that are emerging which permit students to earn on their high school diplomas online. While some individuals may have concerns regarding virtual high schools, there are numerous benefits that should be explored. What do you need to know about virtual high schools?
Here are answers to commonly asked questions . . .
If I attend a virtual high school, can I attend college after earning my virtual high school diploma?
While you should double check to make sure your virtual high school program is accredited, most of them are. As long as your virtual high school program is accredited by the appropriate agency, you should be able to apply to colleges—just like students from physical high schools—after graduation.
Are virtual high schools considered public or private schools?
Virtual high schools can fall into 4 categories: public, private, charter, or college-sponsored. Public, virtual high schools are like traditional public schools. They are run by individual states or local school districts. One example of a public, virtual high school is the Minnesota Virtual High School that is offered by Minnesota Transitions Charter School. It includes AP and foreign language classes and is free for qualified students.
Aren’t virtual high schools the same as homeschools?
Public virtual high schools are not thought of as homeschools because they have state assessment tests, state-certified educators, require parent conferences and report cards, and they have attendance policies—along with other differences.
Are virtual high schools more flexible when it comes to coursework than traditional schools?
Often times, virtual high schools are more flexible since students may be able to move ahead with their studies and/or work their school schedule around their lives. While students may have to log in to online discussion boards during school hours, it really depends on the program they are enrolled in.
How are parents involved in the virtual high school process?
Parents should speak with their children’s teachers on a regular basis, check to make sure their children are completing their lessons, act as guides when children need assistance, and keep a record of their child’s progress.
Will getting a virtual high school diploma negatively affect my ability to get a job after graduation?
It should not since a virtual high school diploma is equal to a traditional diploma with regards to employment. If you are a virtual high school grad, you shouldn’t have to specify that you earned your high school diploma online.
Enrolling in a virtual high school is a big decision. It is one that should only be made after gathering information about different programs, speaking to virtual high school teachers, and asking about accreditation. Also ask about socialization opportunities like community service, field trips, clubs, and even sports. Virtual high school attendees have many options, but it is vital that you research these choices well before making any decisions.
Of course, it will be some time before we can start to examine the track records of these virtual institutions – grades, retention, how the students feel about the experience, how successful they are at going on to higher education or directly to the workplace, and so on. Only time will tell.
*Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
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