10 Myths About Online High Schools

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Is online school good? Does online high school look bad for colleges? Don’t believe everything you hear. Dispel your misconceptions about online high schools by finding out the truth behind these 10 common myths.

Myth #1 — Colleges Won’t Accept Diplomas From Online High Schools

Colleges around the country have accepted and will continue to accept high school diplomas from students who have done their work online. There is a catch, however: In order to be widely accepted, a diploma must come from an online school that has accreditation from the proper regional board. As long as an online school has this, colleges should accept diplomas in the same way they accept diplomas from traditional schools.

Myth #2 — Online High Schools Are for “Troubled Kids”

It's true that some online programs cater to students who haven’t been successful in the social realm of traditional schools. But, there’s a host of other schools targeted toward different groups: gifted students, adult learners, students interested in a specific topic, and people from particular religious backgrounds. See also: Is Online High School Right for My Teen?

Myth #3 — Online Classes Aren’t as Challenging as Traditional Classes

Sure, some online classes aren’t as challenging as traditional high school classes. But at the same time, some traditional high school classes aren’t as challenging as other traditional high school classes. In every school, online or traditional, there is a variance of difficulty among subjects and even individual classes.

When looking for an online school, you’ll also find a wide range of levels. The nice thing is that you can pick the school and class type that best fits your knowledge and ability.

Myth #4 — Online High Schools Are as Expensive as Private Schools

Some online high schools are pricey, but there are also many quality schools with low tuition rates. Even better, state-sponsored charter schools give online students the opportunity to learn for free. Some charter schools will even provide a home computer, internet access, specialized materials, and personal tutoring at no cost.

Myth #5 — Distance Learning Students Don’t Get Enough Socialization

Just because a student isn’t socializing at school doesn’t mean they don't have the opportunity to socialize outside of the classroom. Many distance learning students connect with friends in their neighborhoods, meet others through community organizations and activities, and participate in outings with other online students. Online schools may also provide the opportunity to interact with students and teachers through message boards, email addresses, and live chat.

Myth #6 — Online High School Students Do Less Work Than Traditional Students

Online students may sometimes finish their work faster than traditional students, but that doesn’t mean they’re doing less. For many talented students, learning online presents the opportunity to move quickly and complete courses without the constraint of a curriculum's standard timeline.

Additionally, consider the interruptions in a traditional school day: breaks, transition periods, busy work, waiting for other students to catch up, teachers trying to quiet down the class. If those interruptions could be removed, traditional high school students would likely speed up their learning as well.

Myth #7 — Credits Earned Online Won’t Transfer to Traditional High Schools

Just like college, credits earned online should be able to transfer to a traditional high school as long as the online school is accredited. There are instances where the credits don't transfer, but that is because the traditional high school has different graduation requirements than the online school. In this case, the credits don’t transfer because the traditional school has nowhere to apply them, not because the online school isn’t being recognized. The same issue can occur when students try to transfer credits between two traditional high schools.

Myth #8 — Distance Learning Students Don’t Get Enough Physical Activity

Most online schools require students to complete a physical education requirement in order to graduate. Plus, many distance learning students participate in community sports teams and other athletic activities. Some traditional schools even make exceptions allowing local distance learning students to participate in school sports programs.

Myth #9 — Distance Learning Students Can’t Participate in Extracurricular Activities

It’s true that most online students will miss out on prom. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have access to exciting, worthwhile extracurricular activities. Some online schools organize social outings for students. Also, with special permission, many traditional high schools will allow local students to participate in specific activities while continuing their studies elsewhere. Online students can also become involved in community clubs, classes, and volunteerism.

Myth #10 — Online High Schools Are Just for Teenagers

Adults looking to get their high school diplomas are welcome to participate in many online high school programs. Distance learning schools are often convenient for adults who hold jobs and can only complete assignments during certain hours. Some schools even have programs created specifically for mature students.