Getting a high school diploma online is an alternative to attending an on-campus school to graduate high school. A high school diploma certifies that you have completed the necessary coursework and is required to enter college. Whether you choose to later enroll in an on-campus university or earn your higher education degree online, you will need a high school diploma to be accepted.
While there are a growing number of online high school diploma programs, they are not all created equally. Like online colleges, accreditation by a third party is very important. Additionally, they are funded in different ways, which can affect the out-of-pocket cost for you as a student.
Let’s look at everything you need to know about attending an online high school and graduating from an online institution.
Things to Know
You must make sure that the online high school of your choice is accredited. To find this out, you can directly contact the school and ask or check their website. It is also advisable to contact a college admissions officer to have them verify the accreditation. Some colleges, like Stanford University, have online accredited high school programs, whereas other high schools run as for-profit institutions. Accreditation is when an outside party, other than the institution, certifies that the program actually offers what it says it does. This certification provides students with the peace of mind to know that their education is one of quality and one that employers and colleges will accept as legitimate.
2. Four Types:
There are four different types of high school diploma programs, including: public online high schools (government-funded and free to attend), online charter schools (government-funded by privately run institutions), private online high schools (no government funding) and college-sponsored online high schools.
3. Can Be Free:
If you attend a public online high school, the tuition is free. In some cases, the state may also help to pay for the cost of necessary supplies.
Online high schools are often self-paced, which means that they provide students with the flexibility to choose when they study. The classes offered are like that of a traditional high school, including: English, social studies, physical education, foreign languages, visual arts, etc.
Admission and Requirements
The main requirement to study at an online high school is internet accessibility and a computer that can manage going online and running online content management systems (CMS).
Depending on the program, students may need other software. Communication with teachers may either be online only or a mixture of in-person, too.
Students must be age 14 or older. Additionally, some schools may require proof of eighth grade completion through transcripts or verification of homeschooling. Furthermore, they may require standardized tests.
Graduation and Requirements
Everything happens online, so students complete coursework and take the final exams on the computer. Instead of a traditional graduation ceremony, graduates will receive transcripts and a certificate of completion. Transcripts show the classes that a student has taken, along with the grades earned. Colleges will ask for transcripts to assess a student’s academic experience and often consider the grades to either accept or reject a student from enrolling.
Depending on the online institution, requirements for graduation may vary. However, they typically involve a certain number of course units to be completed. These are divided among subjects like Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, Electives, etc.
Reasons to Get an Online Diploma
Earning your high school diploma is necessary for a successful career and future. It is required for college, so if you want to get any degree past your high school diploma, you will first need to show proof of high school completion.
Along with better career opportunities, the overall knowledge is useful and makes you more well-rounded. From the basics to higher level coursework, high school can offer students with a challenge that will help them grow both professionally and personally.
Adult Fast-Track Programs
Many people did not have the opportunity to complete high school during their teenage years. As such, online high school provides adults with a way to go back to school based on their own timing and schedule. It’s never too late to get a high school diploma.
With online adult fast-track programs like that from Excel High School, you can start by transferring any credits from a public school to count towards your diploma. Then, you can complete the remaining credits. If you’ve earned your GED, that will also be transferred into credit units to count towards graduation.
What You Get from Online High School
Online high school is the right path for many students. There are many different types of students who may elect to attend online high school over traditional high school.
Whether it’s because they’ve been used to homeschooling, or they are gifted and need a more advanced curriculum, online high school provides students with an equal quality education to a traditional on-campus alternative.
For other students, traditional high school is not an option because they come from a military family or are young athletes who move a lot, for example.
As such, online high school provides a safe, consistent, and flexible path to earning your high school diploma. It can help to alleviate scheduling conflicts, eliminate transportation time, and overall, may be the best fit for a student’s personal learning style.
Graduation from high school is important for what comes next after high school. It also has a direct impact on salary expectations. To showcase, adults with a high school diploma or equivalent earn, on average, at least $9,000 more per year than students who have dropped out.
Life After High School
Depending on your goals, some online high school graduates will apply to college, whereas others will go straight to enter the workforce. There are many positions across industries that solely require a high school diploma, such as the service industry and sales representatives.
However, if you choose to continue your education to earn a higher degree like an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s, you will undoubtedly expand your career opportunities and potential salary.
For those who seek to continue their education, they have the option to do so at a traditional university or online. Like the online high school experience, there are many online universities to choose from and it is equally important to check for accreditation.
Online universities offer students from around the world the chance to earn their degree with flexibility and typically at a lower cost than their traditional counterparts.
For example, University of the People is an entirely online school that grants degrees in four disciplines, namely: Computer Science, Business Administration, Health Science and Education. Ranging from associate’s degrees to master’s degrees, University of the People believes that education is a human right, and as such, anyone can enroll in the programs. Additionally, the institution is tuition-free, which means that students only have to pay for the cost of a one-time application fee, as well as course assessment fees.
Because education should be democratized and available globally, the barriers to entry are purposefully low. There are only two main requirements to enroll at University of the People, which are: have a high school diploma (an online diploma is accepted) and proof of English proficiency, since the classes are in English.
Everything takes place online and students work together to grade one another and communicate in forums. A course facilitator oversees classes and communicates with the students online. These course facilitators are volunteers who are usually also professors at well-known institutions from around the world. They dedicate their time, along with program advisors, to help serve students, enhance their academic experience, and ensure that upon graduation, students are well prepared to start working.
The Bottom Line
Online high school diplomas and online universities are revolutionizing education and increasing accessibility. With just an internet connection and a computer, people from around the world can learn and expand their opportunities for a more successful future. Online programs are respected by employers and institutions because they offer equal quality education as their traditional on-campus counterparts.
The flexibility of online programs make them a great choice for many people who want to pursue their education, but may not have the means, opportunity or desire to do so in person.