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College Affordability and Preparedness

7 Things You May Not Know About Taking Online Courses

Photo: Courtesy of Simon Abrams

What’s the deal with online high schools? Virtual schools are everywhere, but most people aren’t telling you the real reasons to try them. Here are the top seven things that you may not know about learning online.  

1. Online courses are ready when you are

Taking online high school classes means you work when, where and how you want. Not an early bird? Log in at noon — your English class is ready for you. Have plans tonight? Log in to get some work done when you get home — your math class is always open. Schedule flexibility is one reason so many students and families are taking their high school classes online.

2. Online classes can help you graduate early

By taking additional credits alongside their high school work, some students can graduate early. This means more time to pursue what you love. Maybe you want to work more hours or start college sooner. Perhaps you’re the youngest professional tennis player ever and you need more time to practice. Take some online classes and you can work towards earning your high school diploma and graduating as soon as you’re ready.

3. Online does not mean working alone

It’s not the 90s anymore — online learning doesn’t happen in an isolated, underground computer lab. When you take an online high school class, you join a community of learners. There is a real teacher, real students to collaborate with and clubs and activities to take part in. This connection can feel deeper than traditional courses. In an online school, much of the teaching is done one-on-one, it’s all about you.

4. You can boost your GPA

Many online schools offer Advanced Placement, Honors and even dual enrollment or concurrent enrollment college-level courses. These can give your GPA the boost it needs to be competitive for college. If your local school doesn’t offer these courses, online high schools may be a way to get weighted credit that can help your GPA.

5. Online learning means you won’t be held back

Everyone makes mistakes. Before online high school classes, failing a class could have meant being held back. Now, by re-taking that dreaded class online, you may be able to replace the course you failed without having to repeat it at school.

6. Online learning helps students figure out how the adult world works

Much of adult life happens online. Including banking, interviews and even remote work. Students who take online classes learn how to navigate unfamiliar situations and working environments. Taking a virtual high school course means that you’ve got a jump start on adult life — it’s an online class benefit that they don’t tell you about. 

7. Get a head start toward college

Want to get ahead of the competition when it comes to college admission? Start college courses while you’re still in high school. A few online high schools offer dual enrollment courses, allowing you to receive college credit from a local community college. You don’t have to drive to your local campus to get the benefits. These university courses count for high school and college credit. Completing them will prove to any college admissions staff that you’re ready for the challenge. They will also save you time and money when you arrive on campus.

While online learning isn’t for everyone, taking even a few virtual high school courses can help you catch up, get ahead and jump start your GPA.

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