Pros and Cons of Earning an Online High School Diploma

Parents and students must carefully consider a few points before opting to earn an online high school diploma.

A 2014 study conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and co-sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC)  reveals that 5,257,379 million students took one or more online classes in that same year, up 3.7 percent from the previous year. While this shows that growth in online enrollments is moderating, it is still outpacing overall higher education enrollments. This number will only continue to grow annually as parents and learners look for alternative ways to get the instruction that they need.

Whether you are a teenager or an adult considering returning to high school to get your diploma, transitioning to an online high school setting can be a bit of a challenge. It’s a good idea to scrutinize this option from all angles before making a decision.

Advantages of Earning a High School Diploma Online

  • Convenience: Students no longer have to wake up very early in order to beat the morning rush so they could get to school on time. This is particularly beneficial for those who live in places far from the public high school and have previously had to spend a lot of time traveling to and from school.
  • Learn at your own pace: Many online high school programs allow the student to work and learn at their own pace. Some students learn very fast and can then work at an accelerated pace so that they can move on to the next level, earlier than if they were in a traditional high school. Conversely, some students need extra time to grasp certain subject matters, and can do so without feeling rushed and consequently getting unnecessarily stressed out which can hamper learning.
  • Flexibility: Except for a few instances when the student will be required to be present at an appointed time, students can log in to their classes based on their availability. This is very helpful for those who have work or have to balance school and family responsibilities.
  • Security: Students no longer have to put up with negativity that is rampant in many schools, such as bullying or cliques. Victims of bullying are adversely affected physically, emotionally, psychologically and socially, and their education suffers greatly from their experiences. Online high schools eliminate the threat to the students’ well-being and give them the freedom to learn in a safe environment.
  • Specialization: Many online high school programs offer a wider variety of subjects than those offered in traditional settings, providing options for students to explore their particular interests.
Pros and Cons of Earning an Online High School Diploma

Disadvantages of Attending Online High School

  • Isolation: Some students, especially ones who thrive in social situations, might feel or become isolated in an online high school setting. Those with anti-social tendencies might miss out on learning how to interact with other people. High school is the time in a person’s life in which he or she learns to deal with certain issues, especially when relating with others. Crucial social skills develop during this time, and removing teenagers from the traditional high school environment might stunt their growth in this area. Make sure that the online high school you are considering for your child has forums, chat rooms and other methods for communicating with others so they don’t feel cut-off from the world.
  • Guidance and support from teachers: Some students find it hard to concentrate and complete their work without an actual teacher present to encourage them or hold them accountable on a daily basis. Additionally, some subjects, such as Math and Science, may be difficult to understand and master without the help of a teacher.
  • Cost: Families will need to ensure that they have the proper equipment in order to facilitate the child’s online learning – a reliable computer, Internet connection and other tools must be made available, and these cost money. If you can’t find a public online high school that you like, your only option is to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for tuition and the curriculum.
  • Non-accredited schools: Parents and students must make sure that the school is accredited by legitimate accrediting agencies so that the diploma and credits they earn will be accepted by universities and potential employers.

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