Can Online High School Graduates Go to College?

By carefully choosing an online high school program and completing the necessary coursework, students are commonly accepted by the college of their choice.

Recognizing what matters to university officials can help you plan for the future and ease your concerns. Here’s what you need to know.


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If you want to be accepted by a top-notch college, your best bet is to choose an online high school that is properly accredited. Make sure the school’s accreditor is recognized by the United States Department of Education. Regional accreditation is the most widely accepted form of accreditation.


Most universities select applicants that have completed a college preparatory curriculum. Avoid online high schools aimed at giving students vocational training and opt instead for programs that provide college guidance. Some online high schools use a college-prep curriculum exclusively. Others allow students to choose between general and college-oriented programs.

Grades, Recommendations, and Activities

University applications generally ask students to turn in transcripts, recommendation letters, essays, and extracurricular activity lists. Even though you’re away from a traditional campus, it’s important to stay on top of these requirements. Keep in touch with your favorite teachers and mentors so that you can ask for a recommendation when the time comes. If your online high school is lacking in extracurricular opportunities, get involved with community volunteerism, clubs, and other projects.

Standardized Test Scores

Universities commonly require acceptable scores from the SAT or ACT exam. Even if your online high school doesn’t offer guidance in this area, it’s important to prepare. Consider checking out a preparation guide from your local library or hiring a tutor. The SAT or ACT should be taken in your junior year.


For most universities, the above requirements will do. But, if you want to get into an Ivy League program or another top-notch school, you may need an additional boost to your application. Consider choosing an advanced online high school such as the Stanford Education Program for Gifted Youth. You’ll also want to increase your extracurricular activities, find ways to demonstrate leadership and develop a unique talent or project. Speaking with a college guidance counselor can help you solidify a plan.

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Littlefield, Jamie. "Can Online High School Graduates Go to College?" ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Littlefield, Jamie. (2023, April 5). Can Online High School Graduates Go to College? Retrieved from Littlefield, Jamie. "Can Online High School Graduates Go to College?" ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).