The Growing Popularity of Online High Schools and How To Choose One

As Covid-19 hits the education institutions hard, many are turning virtual — virtual online classes are now on the rise, as many people are paying attention to virtual classes, even with receiving diplomas through online schools, with the benefits of enjoying more flexible schedules as well as the benefit of choosing the learning environments.

Online learning allows students to work at their own pace and eliminates social distractions. According to National Society of High School Scholars, online schools would help students with time management and independence skills in general. These online classes are now used not only in colleges, but also in high schools.

According to Washington State University students, 26% said they took online courses because they were not available on campus, 26% said it was to earn credits for graduation, and 16% said the flexibility of online learning was better for students’ learning styles.

Keeping Pace with K12 Digital Learning, the reason to take the online courses had the reasons that took up highest percentage of intention to earn credits to graduate, and to take courses that are unavailable offline. Source: Keeping Pace with K12 Digital Learning Photo:

Instead of having classes turn remote with the Covid-19 Effect, many are focusing on online high schools, particularly the well-known ones in California. Stanford Online High School (Stanford OHS) has ranked first in ‘Niche’ — evaluating the reviews and ratings, as well as powerful search and data tools, assisting millions of students and families in finding and enrolling in the right school for them.

Stanford Online High School, founded in 2006, is a private school affiliated with Stanford University, a highly selective school located in California, offering grades 7-12 students- they provide high-technology, providing open environments enabling fluent interaction between instructors and students during the seminar, all classes are provided as college-style seminars that meet twice a week and are conducted in real-time.

Students prepare for discussion seminars by watching recorded lectures and completing assignments using the flipped classroom model. All classes are recorded and available for playback, allowing students to go back and investigate specific sections to prepare for the exam.

“With 14 years’ experience running seminar-style online classrooms, we want to help others during this health crisis to consider online teaching as an alternative to shuttering schools completely, and for online teaching to be effective, you need to have a well-developed remote learning plan in place first. We hope schools find the resources we are providing useful for that purpose.” Said Tomohiro Hoshi, the Head of School.

Stanford Online High School, Mt. Everest Academy, Laurel Springs School, Alternative Education — San Joaquin High School, and California Preparatory Academy came in second and third, respectively.

According to Niche, Mt. Everest Academy, Laurel Springs School, Alternative Education-San Joaquin High School, and California Preparatory Academy followed, based on student and parent reviews, California’s test scores, college preparatory system, graduation rate, teacher review, and so on.


How to Choose an Online High School

Although online high schools gained popularity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are still less well-known than off-line or residential high schools. As a result, students must be extremely cautious when selecting an online high school, taking into account more delicate and thorough plans.

Students must ensure that they have a compelling reason to apply to and attend the school to which they intend to apply by visiting school websites, researching accreditation, tuition costs, the relationship between students and educators, and the school curriculum and how it operates online.

According to Forest Trail Academy, the first major factor to consider when selecting an online high school is accreditation, which is a process used to ensure schools adhere to a nationally or regionally recognized educational standard.

The US Department of Education develops K-12 education levels, as do six regional accreditation boards that coordinate the review of educational programs, all of which are reviewed by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Most secondary educational institutions will reject credits from an unaccredited high school, so make sure the school you plan to attend is accredited.

Applicants should check the school’s website for course catalogs to see if the courses are adequate for college preparation – they must check if the courses include the availability of honors, AP, and college prep courses, as well as access to college advisors and counselors, and so on.

Finally, extracurricular activities are important when preparing for college – because everything is done online, it is essential to check if the school offers extracurricular activities that involve social interaction in online environments.

According to Stanford Online High School, it not only offers virtual extracurricular activities, but also activities that provide opportunities to engage outside of the classroom, such as a spring celebration in Boston, a visit to Elsinore Castle in Denmark, and even a friendly gathering in Katsuura, Japan. Club activities are listed below for Stanford OHS.

  • Pixel Journal
  • Pixelstra (Pixel Orchestra)
  • Women in STEM+
  • OHS Salon
  • Model United Nations
  • ERA Coalition
  • Advanced Programming Club
  • Climate Action Club and more.

Extracurricular activities may differ by school, so it is recommended that applicants visit the websites of the schools they prefer.

Because every course is run online, both students and parents must recognize the characteristics of weaknesses in online high school — lack of social interaction — which makes it important for students who attend online high school to get involved in a variety of activities that require not only sports or field trips, but also internships or job shadowing.

Now that online high school is gaining popularity among students for a variety of reasons — distance of commute, varying quality of schools, and bullying — it is critical for schools to implement the school system as well as extracurricular activities and a variety of student support services. The Covid-19 pandemic is still revealing new variants; we never know if the enrollment rate of online high school will soon surpass that of offline high school.


Read more: Absenteeism as a COVID-19 Effect — How Do Schools Respond?