Online High School Enrollment Is Up; Is It Right for You?
At last count, more than 50 percent of America’s public school districts reported having high school students enrolled in online courses. That’s up from about 30 percent for the 2002-03 school year.
For the 2009-10 school year, the last year stats were captured by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), more than 1.3 million high school students were enrolled in online courses — compared to 300,000 during the 2004-05 school year.
With the increasing popularity of virtual high schools, you may be wondering if an online education is a right fit for you. Here are some questions to ask when debating the pros and cons of attending an online high school.
What are your reasons? When debating whether to continue with traditional or homeschooling — or to transition to online schooling, weigh your reasons for wanting to make the move. Transitioning from home school to a virtual school should be an easier transition; you already understand what it takes to structure your schedule and curriculum from your home.
More than likely, you’re seeking to expand your choices of classes with an online option, including foreign language and advanced math and science courses. When transitioning from a traditional school, carefully weigh your reasons. Do you think you will perform better without distractions? Do you want more flexibility? Your reasons should be more than wanting to experiment with something new.
What’s your learning style? If you’re like the majority of learners, you fall into the visual learning category. You learn by responding to visual cues, including diagrams, pictures, and notes.
If so, you should do well with an online education. If you’re a kinesthetic learner who needs to touch or use imitation to learn, an online education may not be a good fit. Talk to your counselors for guidance on how you can make it work, if you really think you can adapt. Furthermore, assess your ability to work independently.
Do you have a specific passion? Do you want to devote more time to a specific subject or activity? Have you determined your long-term career objectives? An online education can provide you with the ability to seek out the opportunities to help you reach your goals.
For example, if you’re interested in a career in technology, you can supplement your online high school curriculum with an internship at a tech company. On the other hand, if you have a non-academic pursuit such as ice skating that requires hours of practice or instruction, an online education can provide you with the flexibility to engage in those activities.
An online education can pave the way to many opportunities for the high school student who is interested in exploring this alternative style of learning. By taking the time to understand if an online option is a good fit, you can set yourself up for a successful high school experience.