Does Virtual Schooling Really Work for High School?

Virtual high school taps into students’ digital language they have been living with since birth and utilizes it to maximize learning, thus, preparing students well for the rigors of a college education.

Although virtual high school seems like a great option for innovative learning, parents may wonder if virtual school can effectively pave the way to a college or university education. It is important that their high school studies and credits prepare them well for college and beyond. The fact is that through research, choosing the right programs and working the virtual high school experience, students can be more prepared than ever for a college education.

When it comes to choosing the right virtual high school to achieve college preparation, parents must take the initiative and responsibility to research programs to find an online school that helps their students to meet educational goals. Some virtual distance learning programs are designed specifically to prepare for college admission and success, while others are not necessarily college-preparatory-focused.

Most virtual schools receive accreditation through national agencies, which means their coursework is accepted by major universities and colleges. With state virtual learning programs, the student typically receives only course credit, not an actual diploma. However, there are many independent or private virtual schooling programs that grant diplomas.

It is vital to know the program well before signing your child up and committing to it. Interview the virtual high school principal or executive director to ask any questions you may have about the program to ensure you are making the best choice possible for your child. Also use this time of research to determine the structure of the virtual high school program. Identify how the student receives course credit and whether the credit is transferable to other high schools and universities.

Virtual learning comes naturally

Because children are growing up in a digital world it makes sense that online learning is a way to hone in on skills and learning styles they already posses. Rather than being subjected to lectures in class all day long, students of a virtual high school are able to experience the freedom to learn and explore the world through familiar tools: iPods, texts, DVDs, Internet chat rooms and message boards. In both public and private online schools, students enjoy the safety of a secure learning management system (LMS) which allows them total access to courses, faculty and fellow students while protecting them from surfing aimlessly on the internet.

These students who have never known a non-digital world tend to communicate and learn best when they are utilizing digital devices and computers. Virtual learning taps into this, and provides an education tailored to the digital world, which encourages students to maximize their unique learning styles and methods.

Virtual high school essentially marries the best of virtual and classroom-based schools and programs in an effort to provide an environment that is conducive for learning. There may be no better, more effective way to prepare a student for college than to encourage his or her learning potential in a way that feels comfortable and natural to the student.

Some parents might be afraid that by opting out of traditional schools they compromise their kids’ future academics. They ask if their child can still get a diploma and gain entry into a good college if they attend a virtual school. Absolutely! Most virtual schools are accredited by national agencies. Common agencies include regional agencies such as WASC (Western Association for Schools and Colleges), or national agencies such as NAAS (Northwest Association of Accredited Schools), and CITA (Commission on International Trans-Regional Accreditation). Coursework is accepted by major universities and colleges.. Many state-run virtual providers are supplemental and issue only course credit, not a full program granting a diploma. However, children who complete a curriculum of study in a full-time or part-time diploma-granting school will receive certification in the form of a diploma.

By Elizabeth Kanna and Lisa Gillis with Christina Culver