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25 of the Best Online High Schools: A Comprehensive Guide

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Young Asian student at school

25 of the Best Online High Schools: A Comprehensive Guide

In our digital age, it has become more common and acceptable to seek alternative ways of acquiring an education. One such method is through online high schools, which provide learners flexibility. This article will explore what online high schools are, the pros and cons of attending one, the criteria to consider when choosing one, reviews of the best online high schools, and tips on applying to them.

Understanding Online High Schools

What is an Online High School?

An online high school is an educational institution that offers secondary-level education to students via the Internet rather than in a traditional classroom setting. The curricula and programs are usually parallel to those taught in traditional high schools.

This means from math, literature, and sciences to art and physical education, all are available in a more flexible format that suits a student’s needs.

Online high schools have revolutionized the way students can access education. With just a computer and an internet connection, students can now attend classes, complete assignments, and interact with teachers and classmates from their homes.

These virtual classrooms are designed to provide a comprehensive and engaging learning experience, utilizing various multimedia tools and interactive platforms to enhance the educational process.

Students can access course materials, submit assignments, and participate in discussions through online portals. They can also communicate with their teachers and peers via email, video conferencing, and online chat.

Furthermore, online high schools often offer various extracurricular activities and clubs that students can join to enhance their social and personal development. These activities may include virtual field trips, online debate clubs, and proms.

Smiling african-american student girl sitting on stairs working on laptop

Benefits of Online High Schools

The benefits of online high schools are numerous. One of the major benefits is flexibility. This form of learning allows students to work at their own pace and time. This can be especially useful for those who have other commitments such as employment or sports training.

Flexibility also extends to the location of learning. Students can access their courses from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection. This opens up opportunities for students who may not have access to quality education in their local area.

Another benefit is the wide range of course offerings, which can often surpass those available at traditional high schools. This can allow students to tailor their education to their future career goals. Whether they want to focus on STEM subjects, arts, or even niche areas like marine biology or computer programming, online high schools can provide specialized courses to meet their needs.

Furthermore, online high schools often provide individualized attention to students. With smaller class sizes and dedicated online teachers, students can receive personalized feedback and support to help them succeed academically.

Online high schools also foster self-motivation and independence in students. By taking responsibility for their learning, students develop essential skills such as time management, organization, and self-discipline, which are valuable in both academic and professional settings.

Potential Drawbacks of Online High Schools

While online high schools have many benefits, there are also potential drawbacks. Due to the high level of independence required, students struggling with self-discipline may have difficulty staying on track. It takes motivation and self-motivation to complete assignments and stay engaged in the virtual learning environment.

Additionally, there is limited face-to-face interaction, which could result in social isolation for some students. Traditional high schools allow students to interact with their peers daily, building friendships and social skills. In an online high school, students may miss out on these social interactions, which are essential to the overall high school experience.

However, many online high schools have implemented strategies to address this issue. They offer virtual clubs discussion forums, and even organize meet-ups and events where students can interact in person. These initiatives aim to create community and foster social connections among online high school students.

It is important for students and their families to carefully consider the pros and cons of online high schools before deciding. Each student is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. By understanding the nature of online high schools and weighing the benefits and drawbacks, students can make an informed choice about their education.

Criteria for Choosing the Best Online High Schools

Accreditation and Reputation

One important criterion to look into is accreditation when choosing an online high school. Accreditation ensures that the school meets the standards set by the education authority. This is crucial as it guarantees that the education provided by the online high school is recognized and accepted by colleges, universities, and employers.

Additionally, it becomes essential to look into the reputation of the school. A school’s reputation can often give an insight into the quality of education received. Researching the school’s history, alumni success stories, and student testimonials can help gauge the reputation of the online high school.

Moreover, it is worth considering the accreditation and recognition of the online high school by various educational organizations and associations. This can further validate the school’s reputation and ensure it meets its highest education standards.

Male Student Working At Laptop In College Library

Curriculum and Course Offerings

It is significant to analyze the curriculum and courses a school offers. A good online high school will provide a balanced curriculum that meets the general education requirements. This includes various subjects such as English, mathematics, science, social studies, and foreign languages.

Similarly, course offerings should be expansive, with courses that challenge students and prepare them for further education or a chosen career pathway. Advanced Placement (AP) courses, dual enrollment options, and specialized programs can enhance the learning experience and provide students with opportunities to excel academically.

Furthermore, the online high school should have a well-structured curriculum aligned with state and national standards. This ensures students receive a comprehensive education on par with traditional brick-and-mortar schools.

Student Support and Resources

Support and resources for students are critical. This includes technical support, accessibility to teachers for queries, and academic counseling. A reliable online high school will have a dedicated support team to assist students with technical issues while navigating the online learning platform.

An ideal online high school would have comprehensive student support services in place. This can include virtual tutoring, online study resources, and access to academic advisors who can guide students in their educational journey. Additionally, the availability of extracurricular activities, clubs, and student organizations can foster a sense of community and provide students with opportunities for personal growth and social interaction.

Moreover, it is vital to consider the flexibility and accessibility of online high schools. The ability to access coursework and resources at any time and the availability of synchronous and asynchronous learning options can greatly benefit students with different learning styles and schedules.

In conclusion, when choosing the best online high school, it is crucial to consider accreditation and reputation, curriculum and course offerings, student support, and resources. By carefully evaluating these criteria, students can make an informed decision and find an online high school that best suits their educational needs and goals.

Best Online High Schools

Advantages School International

Advantages School International is a fully accredited online educational institution catering to kindergarten through grade 12 students. Students can pursue one of two diplomas: a general studies diploma or a college preparatory diploma. The school offers an extensive catalog of over 300 courses, including a substantial selection of AP college courses. At Advantages School International, students enjoy considerable flexibility in tailoring their educational plans to align with their unique goals and interests. The current tuition for Advantages School International is $3,950 per year, with the option of enrolling in individual courses for $650 per semester.

Ignite Christian Academy

Formerly known as Alpha Omega Academy, Ignite Christian Academy ranks among the leading Christian high schools available to online students. Students can opt for either the High School Diploma Track or the College Prep Track, both of which necessitate the completion of 21 credits from a diverse range of captivating classes, including American/British Literature, Computer Science and Web Design, Art, Business, various languages, and various American history courses. At Ignite, each student’s experience is designed to be flexible and personalized to accommodate their unique needs and circumstances, with tuition starting at $1,832.

Junior high school girl doing homework at home with laptop.

Brigham Young University Independent Study

Whether you are a high school student seeking a flexible online environment or an adult aiming to earn your high school diploma, Brigham Young University’s Independent Study Program offers a comprehensive range of options. Students can select from an extensive list of courses, including AP courses and even university-level classes, for those interested in earning college credit. Tuition varies depending on the course, with rates ranging from $110 to $280 for high school courses and starting at $212 per credit for university-level classes.

Christa McAuliffe Academy School of Arts and Sciences

The Christa McAuliffe Academy School of Arts and Sciences is a top-tier online high school that provides personalized instruction and boasts a strong industry reputation. Students have the choice of two graduation tracks: a standard 20-credit track for achieving a high school diploma or a 24-credit college prep track that meets the requirements for admission to a four-year college or university. All classes are self-paced and accessible to students 24/7. Tuition options vary, ranging from $2,496 to $7,495, depending on grade level and the number of types.

Clonlara School

While many online high schools are designed for students capable of independent study, Clonlara School offers courses fully supported by trained teachers. The high school curriculum includes over 80 classes, and students are expected to complete at least five courses each semester. In addition to traditional styles, Clonlara offers honors courses, ACT and SAT prep courses, and career exploration courses. Students must also build a portfolio showcasing their best work and complete several community service hours before graduation. Tuition ranges from $3,600 to $4,000 per year.

Excel High School

Excel High School is not only one of the best-accredited online high schools but also one of the most affordable. Instead of traditional tuition, students pay a subscription fee of $129 per month for a semester (or $199 per month for an Honors High School Diploma). This subscription allows students to take up to four core and/or elective classes per semester. The school offers approximately 100 high school, honors, AP, and college courses, all taught by instructors with a master’s degree in their respective subjects.

Forest Trail Academy

Forest Trail Academy is an excellent choice for online high school students who want less time on subjects they excel in and more time on challenging areas. Forest Trail’s self-paced curriculum features 50 courses, allowing students to breeze through more straightforward issues while dedicating more time to challenging ones. Forest Trail works closely with each student and their family to create a program that best suits their needs and academic interests. The current tuition rate is $3,350 annually for full-time 9th through 12th-grade classes.

Western Washington University

Franklin Virtual High School

Franklin Virtual High School is a fully accredited and entirely online high school that offers a traditional high school track, independent study, or preparation classes for the GED, ACT, and SAT exams. It is also an excellent choice for students needing to catch up on their classes. Tuition varies and depends on a student’s choice of courses, with course prices ranging from $289 to $313, depending on whether they are core classes or AP courses.

Greenways Academy

Greenways Academy has a rolling admissions system, allowing students to pursue their high school diplomas whenever convenient. Students can choose to enroll full-time, part-time, or for just a course or two. The school offers more than 100 high school-level courses, each with the option of one-on-one interaction with a teacher. Greenways Academy takes pride in providing personalized courses and adapting them to fit a student’s 504 or Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Tuition currently ranges from $395 to $420 per self-paced course.

International Virtual Learning Academy

International Virtual Learning Academy is an online private school catering to students from kindergarten through grade 12. High school students can tailor their education from over 350 courses, including honors, AP, and standards-based courses from both secular and religious perspectives. The academy also provides adult learning and GED tracks. Full-time, full-year tuition varies from $2,579 to $3,779, and courses can be purchased individually.

James Madison High School

James Madison High School is a popular choice for online high school education, suitable for homeschoolers, students living abroad, adult learners, and child professionals. The high school offers more than 40 courses, and students can complete their studies at either a traditional or college preparatory level. The online high school degree program costs $1,799 annually, with monthly payment options available.

K12 Private Academy

Formerly known as the K12 International Academy, K12 Private Academy aims to bring “individualized learning to all kinds of minds” by removing barriers that hinder children from reaching their full potential. K12 offers an affordable curriculum of easily accessible, self-paced classes. It also features student clubs with members from all around the world. Students taking a full course load of six credits pay an annual tuition of $6,995.

The Keystone School

The Keystone School offers online high school students various flexible options to pursue their diplomas. Due to Keystone’s rolling admissions policy, students can enroll at any time and choose from over 170 courses, including languages, life skills, and Advanced Placement classes. Students always have access to instructors as they progress through their studies at their own pace. Full-time, diploma-seeking students typically take 5-6 courses per year, with tuition costs ranging from $1,800 to $2,800, depending on the classes chosen.

Laurel Springs Schools

Laurel Springs offers students the best of both academic worlds—a flexible online program combined with one-on-one teacher-student relationships. Students can personalize their course of study to align with their individual goals and interests, offering an unconventional approach in an industry often characterized by rigid procedures. The school provides an extensive list of electives, including digital photography, forensic science, veterinary science, and the history of the Holocaust. Over 90% of Laurel Springs online students are admitted to their first-choice colleges. Graduating students must complete 23.5 credits, with tuition varying based.

a female intern smiling while looking at the camera

Mother of Divine Grace School (MODG)

MODG is a standout Catholic online high school offering a range of experiences, from using their curriculum for parent-led home classes to teacher services and special services programs tailored to individual needs. What’s interesting is their tuition structure, which is per family based on the oldest enrolled student, with prices starting at $1,250.

National High School

National High School is a fully accredited online institution that allows students to enroll full-time or part-time, take single or multiple classes, participate in a credit recovery program, and choose from traditional or Advanced Placement courses. Students taking two or more types pay a monthly fee of $199.

Northstar Academy

For students in grades 4-12, Northstar Academy offers structured and flexible course options, with the ability to start the school year at any time. They provide full-year courses at $655 and semester-long courses at $410, with options for AP-level and dual-credit systems.

The Oaks Private School

The Oaks Private School provides a uniquely Christian education experience entirely online at significantly less than traditional private education. Tuition ranges from $1,500 to $3,550, depending on the chosen track and customizations, with nearly 100 courses available for students.

Oak Meadow School

Ideal for imaginative students seeking a flexible program, Oak Meadow School offers homeschool-specific and teacher-led online programs. Their classes are varied, fun, and self-paced, with courses ranging from $1,150 to $2,200, depending on subject and length. They even offer unique courses like chess, programming, and web design.

The Ogburn School

The Ogburn School provides a self-paced curriculum for high school students and adult learners, offering 45 courses plus a senior capstone project. Tuition costs $1,495 annually, depending on the selected courses and programs.

Pearson Online Academy

Pearson Online Academy, previously known as International Connections Academy, is a fully accredited online school with over 200 high school-level courses, including AP and honors classes. Students can earn an associate’s degree from the University of Maryland through accelerated dual enrollment courses. Tuition is $6,880 annually, with an 8% discount for those who pay in full.

Sevenstar Academy

Sevenstar Academy provides a rigorous Christian education online, offering nearly 200 courses, including honors, AP, and dual credit classes. Students are encouraged to complete 40 community service hours annually, emphasizing critical thinking within a Biblical worldview. Tuition is charged by course, ranging from $465 for a half-credit to $755 for a one-credit AP course.

Stanford University Online High School

For high-achieving students, Stanford University Online High School offers a rigorous college-prep program with nearly 30 AP- and college-level courses. The majority of the faculty hold doctoral degrees in their field. Tuition varies, with full-time costing $25,670 per year and part-time and single-class options at $15,400 and $5,130, respectively.

TTU K-12

TTU K-12 offers fully online education from kindergarten to grade 12. High school students can choose from over 100 classes, enroll full-time for a diploma, or take single courses to supplement homeschooling. They also offer credit for existing knowledge, accelerating the program, with each online system costing $250 (or $450 for international students).

University of Nebraska High School

The University of Nebraska High School aims to provide students with skills, attitudes, and knowledge for success. They offer a wide range of classes, including Advanced Placement and a dual-enrollment program with the University of Nebraska. Tuition is reasonable, with Nebraska residents paying $200 per class and non-residents paying $250.

a highschool student carrying his school stuff and posing for the camera

How to Apply to an Online High School

Applying to an online high school can be an exciting and transformative step towards your education. Whether you are seeking a flexible learning environment or exploring specialized courses, online high schools offer various options to suit your needs. Let’s walk you through the application process and provide tips for success.

Application Process and Requirements

Each online high school has a different application process and set of requirements. While some may have a straightforward online application form, others may require additional documents such as academic transcripts and letters of recommendation. It is crucial to carefully review the application instructions provided by the high school of your choice.

When filling out the application form, provide accurate and detailed information. Take your time to answer each question thoroughly, highlighting your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and any other relevant experiences. This will help the admissions committee comprehensively understand your abilities and potential.

In addition to the application form, you may be required to submit academic transcripts from your previous school. These transcripts record your academic performance and help the admissions committee assess your readiness for online learning. It is essential to request these transcripts well in advance to ensure they are available when you need to submit your application.

Some online high schools may also request letters of recommendation. These letters can come from teachers, mentors, or others who can speak to your character, work ethic, and readiness for online learning. When seeking recommendations, choose individuals who can provide meaningful insights into your abilities and potential as an online student.

Tips for a Successful Application

While each online high school has its specific requirements, some general tips can enhance your chances of a successful application:

1. Present a complete and well-drafted application form: Take the time to carefully fill out the application form, ensuring that all sections are completed accurately and thoroughly. Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and overall presentation. A well-crafted application form demonstrates your attention to detail and commitment to the process.

2. Highlight your academic achievements: Online high schools value academic excellence. Show your accomplishments, such as high grades, honors, and awards. If you have participated in any academic competitions or projects, mention them. This demonstrates your dedication to learning and your ability to excel in an online learning environment.

3. Seek recommendations from those who know you well: When requesting letters of recommendation, choose individuals who can speak to your strengths and readiness for online learning. Teachers, mentors, or employers who have observed your work ethic and educational commitment can provide valuable insights. Ensure that the individuals you ask know your academic abilities and personal qualities.

4. Consider applying to multiple schools: To increase your chances of acceptance, spreading to more than one online high school may be advantageous. Each school has its selection criteria, and by using multiple institutions, you broaden your options. However, carefully research each school and tailor your application to their requirements.

Following these tips and carefully completing the application process, you can increase your chances of being accepted into an online high school that aligns with your educational goals and aspirations.

If you want to discuss the matter to a greater extent or inquire about college admissions, look no further! Our experts here at AdmissionSight can help you! Here at AdmissionSight, we have over a decade’s worth of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process to get accepted to the top universities in the world. Feel free to set up an appointment today to book your initial consultation.

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