Myths About Online High Schools

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Don’t believe everything you hear about online high schools. Dispel your misconceptions by finding out the truth behind the ten most 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 this is covered, colleges should accept diplomas from distance learning schools in the same manner they accept diplomas from traditional schools.

Myth #2 - Online high schools are for “troubled kids.” 

Some online programs cater to students who haven’t been successful in traditional schools. But, there’s a host of other schools targeted towards 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. 

It’s true that some online classes aren’t as challenging as traditional high school classes. But, some traditional high school classes aren’t as challenging as other traditional high school classes. When looking for an online school, you’ll find a wide range of difficulty. The nice thing is that you can pick the school and class type that fits your knowledge and ability best.

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, it doesn’t mean he or she doesn’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 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. Is the half hour lunch break at traditional high schools really enough time to socialize anyway?

Myth #6 - Online high school students do less work than traditional students. 

Online students may finish their work faster than traditional students, but that doesn’t mean they’re doing less. 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 there were some way to take out those interruptions and just let students focus on their work, they’d probably finish in about the same time it takes online learners to complete their assignments. Of course, this isn’t an absolute and the amount of work can vary between online schools.

Some may offer a lighter load and others may challenge students with even more work than traditional schools.

Myth #7 - Students who earn credits online won’t be able to transfer them to traditional high schools. 

As long as the online high school is accredited, the credits should be able to transfer to a traditional high school. Sometimes credits don’t transfer 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 record them, not because the online school isn’t being recognized. The same issue can be a problem when students try to transfer credits between two traditional high schools.

Myth #8 - Distance learning students don’t get enough physical activity when they take classes online. 

Most online schools require that students complete a physical education requirement in order to graduate.

Many distance learning students also 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 activities. Some online schools organize social outings for students. 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.