Online School

Qualities to Look For in an Online School

It used to be that distant academic learning, or online learning, was limited to college students, but now it’s just as popular for earning a high school degree. This is a marvelous opportunity for teens to earn a diploma, or for anyone who missed out on the chance to finish up their formal schooling education.

There are plenty of reasons why students might prefer an online setting. Flexibility is a key reason, allowing you to study comfortably from anywhere. Another reason could be to escape the drama and bullying that goes on in schools. This coming academic year might prove to be challenging with in-person learning, and many parents are hesitant to send their kids back to school when there is still doubt about how the Coronavirus pandemic will be handled. Whatever your reason is, you want to find a good school. If you don’t know how to judge a good online school, we’ll tell you what factors to look for.

The Type of Online School

Not every online school is the same. There are four types of online schools; public, private, charter, and university-sponsored schools.

Public schools are overseen by their state’s department of education and often require a student to be living in the same area or state to enroll. Public online high schools have a lot of government support, a strict curriculum, and less flexibility. 

As for private schools, anyone can enroll according to the school’s particular criteria. The school is not funded by any state or county school district, and courses are not free, but they are more flexible.

Virtual charter schools are similar to public schools. They are attractive to a range of students, including homeschooled kids, rural students, students with disabilities, and students who are not well-suited for traditional schooling.

University-sponsored schools give students a good jump start as students study for their high school diploma and take some college courses at the same time.

Getting familiar with each type of school makes it easier to know which kind to choose.


Before you learn anything about a particular school, find out if it is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education accreditor. Generally, degrees from accredited schools are accepted by many universities, if you want to continue your studies, and also accepted by employers if you want to work right after high school. An online high school degree doesn’t mean you will only be able to attend public colleges or technical schools. You could also study at a private university if you want. 


Online learning is not new per se, but it’s relatively new compared to traditional schooling. Some schools are still in the experimental stage, with students used as guinea pigs. Avoid schools that do not have a long and good track record to have ironed out the problems and issues that arise with online learning. 

Look for a school that utilizes the latest technology and employs suitable teaching methods. This is important because online teaching is very different from in-person teaching. Subjects taught in class might need a completely different approach to be taught online. 

Teacher Qualifications

Not every teacher that is great in the classroom can demonstrate the same expertise online. The school should be very clear on who they hire and that their teachers are all certified to teach online. Be aware that not all online schools hire college educated teachers or even teachers with the necessary experience. Teachers need to be comfortable around students and computers and technology.

Vision and Mission

Most people overlook what the mission and vision of a school are, though it’s an integral part of a school. We briefly touched on why many students and their parents would prefer online learning than traditional schooling. Another reason to add is that the school simply does not suit what you want for your child. For instance, families that have strong ties to the Church and believe their students will be better off learning and being involved with an online Christian school should know the mission and vision of that school. Parents will want the school to share the same values as them and reinforce what they teach their children at home. 

Student Evaluation

Student evaluation should not differ much between online and in-class learning. There needs to be a variety of methods to evaluate students, including quizzes, essays, multiple-choice tests, and more to come up with the GPA of a student.

Strong Curriculum

To further their education in college, students need access to study programs that prep them for university-level learning. The programs must be able to foster and enhance a student’s critical thinking skills, communication skills, and more. You would also be looking for diversity in elective classes that pique the interest of students and encourage them to learn. 

Credit Transfer

For virtual learning, credit transfers play a significant role when transitioning from a traditional school to an online one. Many secondary education institutions do not accept credits from an unaccredited school, which is why enrolling in an accredited online school is critical. Parents should address the overall transfer process with the appropriate authorities to guarantee the credits are accepted by all secondary schools in the country. It is also relevant when applying for a college or university, or even when applying for a job. That’s why it helps you to get all the details you need about credit transfer before you sign up for an online course.

Student Support

Make sure the school supports its students in their academic studies, online interactions, and in extracurricular activities. You’re going to hear and read a lot of myths concerning online schools. Do your research and find out about the advantages of online learning and if it suits your child to make an informed decision before enrolling in a school.

The process and criteria for choosing an online school do not differ much from a conventional school; aside from the technologies used. Other than that, you still want accreditation, quality teachers, a school that expresses your values and perception of education, and one that supports their students in the best and most ways possible.  

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