Pros and Cons of Earning Your High School Diploma Online

Should You Take Courses Online or Stick with a Traditional High School?

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Should you consider earning your high school diploma online? Moving from a traditional high school to an online high school can be a big transition for any student, whether they are a teenager or a returning adult. Take a look at a few of the pros and cons of the option before making your decision.

Pros: Points in Favor of Earning a High School Diploma Online

  • Work at Your Own Pace: With online high school courses, you can work at your own pace. You can take extra time when you need it to understand the material, or speed through courses that are easy.
  • Flexible Schedule: You have greater flexibility in your schedule and can arrange your classes around work and other responsibilities. If you work part-time or full-time or have child care responsibilities, you can arrange your coursework accordingly.
  • Avoiding Social Distractions: It’s easier to avoid the distractions (peers, parties, cliques) of regular school and focus on getting work done. If you've had trouble focusing on your studies instead of the social life at school, this is a benefit of taking courses online.
  • Being Yourself: Many students see taking courses online as a way to develop their own identity, apart from the social pressures of traditional schools.
  • Avoiding a Negative Environment: You won’t have to put up with the “bad influences,” cliques, gangs, or bullies found at a traditional high school.
  • Specialization: You may be able to specialize in learning subjects that are interesting to you. The different options available online may be wider than those offered at your local high school.
  • Getting a Diploma Faster: Some students are able to earn their diploma early (a few even finish twice as fast as traditional students).

Cons: Points Against Earning a High School Diploma Online

  • Lack of Social Events: Most online programs don’t have the fun elements of traditional high schools such as prom, senior day, graduation, weird hair day, etc.
  • No Teacher Present: Some subjects (such as writing and math) may be hard to master without a teacher present. A student doesn't have immediate access to the instructor to get additional help and clarification of principles. It becomes easier to fall behind.
  • Less Motivation to Complete Studies: Many people find it challenging to focus on completing work when there isn’t an actual teacher there to encourage them on a daily basis. They need the human interaction to overcome procrastination.
  • Social Isolation: Some students become isolated or anti-social. While you may prefer to work solo online, you are missing out on the important lessons of learning to work with others. In a traditional school, they would have to step out of their comfort zone and learn how to interact with others.
  • Non-Accredited Schools: If your online school is not accredited, your transcripts probably won’t be accepted by businesses and universities.
  • Cost: Unless you find an accredited charter school, you can expect to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars on tuition, the curriculum, and computer equipment.