Choosing an accredited online high school is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your education and future opportunities. Accreditation is especially important because it ensures that the school meets specific educational standards, making your diploma widely recognized by colleges, universities, and employers. Here are a step-by-step guide to help you choose the right accredited online high school:
1. Understand Accreditation:
Begin by understanding what accreditation means and why it’s important. Accreditation is a process by which an external body evaluates a school’s programs, faculty, and resources to ensure they meet specific educational standards. It’s a quality assurance mechanism that signifies the school’s commitment to delivering a reputable education.
Some common accreditation organizations for online high schools include:
Cognia, AdvancED, Middle States Association Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS), Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC) and ational Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
2. Check State Requirements:
Different states have varying regulations for online high schools. Some states have their own accreditation process, while others accept national or regional accreditation. Verify the accreditation standards and requirements specific to your state.
3. List Your Educational Goals:
Determine your educational goals, whether you’re looking for a full high school program, individual courses, credit recovery, or a GED program. Identifying your goals will help you narrow down your options.
4. Research Accredited Online High Schools:
Look for online high schools that are accredited by recognized accrediting bodies. You can find accredited schools by searching online or contacting your state’s department of education. Some well-known accrediting bodies for online high schools include AdvancED, the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), and the Middle States Association Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS).
5. Create a Shortlist:
Make a shortlist of potential schools that meet your criteria, including accreditation, course offerings, and flexibility. Online high schools vary in terms of the courses they offer, extracurricular activities, and support services.
6. Verify Accreditation:
Don’t rely solely on a school’s claim of accreditation. Verify the accreditation status with the accrediting body. Accredited schools will have information about their accreditation status readily available on their websites.
7. Review the Curriculum:
Examine the curriculum and course offerings of the schools on your shortlist. Ensure they offer the courses you need to meet your educational goals, whether you’re pursuing a traditional high school diploma, preparing for college, or seeking a GED.
8. Consider Flexibility and Support:
Online high schools should offer flexibility to fit your schedule and individualized support for your educational needs. Look for schools that provide access to teachers, advisors, and technical support.
9. Tuition and Fees:
Determine the cost of attending the online high school. Some accredited online high schools are tuition-free if they are public or publicly funded. Others may charge tuition, but financial aid options and scholarships may be available.
10. Read Reviews and Get Recommendations:
Research reviews and ask for recommendations from students who have attended the online high schools you’re considering. Hearing about their experiences can provide valuable insights.
11. Contact the School:
Reach out to the school’s admissions or enrollment office. Ask questions about their programs, policies, and support services. Pay attention to how responsive and helpful they are, as it can be an indicator of the school’s commitment to student success.
12. Compare and Decide:
Compare the schools on your shortlist, considering factors such as accreditation, curriculum, support services, and cost. Select the online high school that aligns best with your educational goals and personal preferences.
Choosing an accredited online high school requires careful consideration of your educational goals and the school’s offerings. Hope you can make an informed decision that will set you on the path to a quality high school education and a recognized diploma by following these steps and conducting thorough research.