While the rate of adults completing high school and receiving a high school diploma has risen in recent decades, many adult students aren’t finishing before age 25. Many adults left school thinking they would finish high school later on their own time. Unfortunately, a busy adult life pushed back the completion date or even the start date.
If high school graduation and even taking high school courses seem remote, an online high school program may be your best option.
Fortunately, there are more options to complete high school and earn a high school diploma for adult learners than ever before. And returning to school is easier than it has been historically, with many online high schools for adults.
However, not all online schools are the same if you’re trying to earn your high school diploma online. And before selecting one, there are a few things you should consider, such as:
Is It an Accredited School?
Unfortunately, scamming online students is common, and some schools post fake accreditations or make up a name that sounds like a legitimate organization. Therefore, before signing up for any online program, verify that it has the proper accreditation. Without this, you may spend a lot of time and money and still not receive a high school diploma.
Inquire About Graduation Requirements and Completion Rates
All fully accredited schools have requirements for graduation, and each has a success rate. You can also inquire about the rate of students that attend college post-graduation or move on to career schools. You can also research whether the school has a Credit Recovery program that allows you to compensate for low grades. This program is generally pass/fail.
Online School Courses Available
Some schools have both online and in-person classes. Be sure the school you select offers all the courses you need online. In addition, it isn’t a bad idea to be sure whether a class will allow you to set your own pace or is more structured.
Additionally, if you are trying to complete high school quickly, look at what is available for online summer school.
Can you Schedule Class Times Are Your Job or Home Life?
Attending high school classes for adult education often looks different from middle or high school in person. Many adult learners may juggle a career, children, and other responsibilities while completing the diploma program. Therefore, looking for flexibility may be more important than younger students. You can also check to see if the online classes are compatible with mobile devices.
There are commonly four types of online high school programs, including private, public, charter, and university-sponsored programs.
Each of these may have different graduation requirements. But, equally important, the costs of attending may vary significantly.
Public online school programs must still follow any statewide curriculum or requirements, and you may not need to pay tuition. However, some schools offer payment plans or have financial aid options that may be exclusive to the school. Therefore, getting information about any financial assistance available before enrollment is a good idea.
Are There Support Services Available Before and After Enrollment
All types of schools have support services for students, although some are better than others. Online learners often have additional questions and require more technology-centered support. These questions can be as basic as “What type of internet connection do I need?”
Before committing to start classes at a school, get an idea of how well it can support students from the moment they enroll until they graduate. In determining how well the school’s supportive services will meet your needs, you may want to consider offerings related to tutoring, technology support, school counselors, and student/parent networks that help learners overcome the challenges of online coursework.
Continuing your high school education and earning a high school diploma is easier when you have the necessary resources.
What are the Teacher’s Credentials?
Online learning is much different than attending class in person. It often requires that your teachers have experience facilitating meaningful activities in a virtual format. The quality of instruction is vital for students to feel engaged and successfully achieve their diploma online. Therefore, ensuring your online school has the right instructors can be one of the best things you do before you enroll online.
Are You Able to Transfer Credits?
Ideally, you will pick one online high school and stay with it until you complete the diploma requirements. However, sometimes life events can get in the way. If these instances arise, it is a good idea to know how your school will handle credit transfers, either going to another school or coming into the school. Understanding how much flexibility you have with these transfers can significantly impact your final decision of whether a specific school is right for you.
Is College Preparation for Adult Students Available?
Suppose you plan to continue your academic journey and attend college after completing a high school diploma program. In that case, you will want to understand how well your online school can prepare you for more advanced education. You can see what is available regarding honors, AP, and college preparatory courses, access to college advisors and counselors, and preparation for standardized testing, including the SAT and ACT.
Are Extracurricular Activities Important To You?
Beyond earning an online high school diploma, you may want to get involved in extracurricular activities. Just because you are returning to online school as an adult learner doesn’t mean you will have to miss out on all extracurriculars. Occasionally online programs for adult learners have programs that can help students connect and socialize. And since having a good network is one of the best ways to ensure academic success and land that next great job after you complete school, looking into a school’s extracurricular options is wise.
Going back to school – even if it’s an online high school for adults – can be a nerve-wracking experience. But looking at this list of elements can help you narrow down your choices and ensure you select the best school to help you fulfill your academic goals.