When it comes to choosing a school for your child, it's natural to favor traditional teaching methods if that's how you were educated. But it's worth considering whether your child could benefit from a more personalized learning approach that encourages students to take responsibility for their own education. A high-quality virtual school not only is able to give students a new academic perspective, but also may better prepare them for college and the future.
If you're thinking about switching to online high school, or enrolling in part-time online courses to supplement your child's education, below are a few of the ways that virtual school can benefit students on their post-high-school journey:
- A wide-range selection of courses
- One of the perks of being an online student is getting to take courses that may not be available at all traditional public schools. Online courses sometimes even cover unique and engaging topics such as game design or astronomy. At Connections Academy, students can also choose from an extensive selection of AP courses that often enhance transcripts for a college application and that may help them earn college credits.
- Having more course options helps to stimulate and broaden a student’s interests, especially when he or she is still trying to decide on a college major or looking through a college course catalog.
- A lesson in time management
- When students take online courses, they have a bit more scheduling flexibility than they would have at a brick-and-mortar school. This means that they're not required to attend the class at the same time every day or week, but rather that they can complete their work at a time that works best for them.
- With flexible scheduling, students have to learn to manage their academic and personal time wisely. By managing their time, they also practice prioritization and organization—skills that are necessary in college and the workforce.
- Exposure to online work
- With the daily advancements in technology, colleges are starting to offer more and more online courses in addition to traditional ones.
- Some college professors who teach traditional courses even incorporate online work into the curriculum by holding tests and quizzes online and having students participate in an online forum outside of the classroom.
- Online courses not only help familiarize students with important technical skills, but also help them to navigate more easily online. If students don't experience an online learning format until college, it could be intimidating for them.
- More communication practice
- Since the teacher isn't physically in front of them, students. learn to be assertive and engaged when reaching out to a teacher for assistance. The effort helps students to develop their communication skills for college courses and a career path—and it is especially useful for students who are timid and reserved.
- Just as in college, teachers and students in virtual school often communicate with one another via email. By sending frequent emails in an online course, students learn how to properly write and format an email to a teacher. This is a lesson that they will find valuable for the remainder of their academic journey.
- A boost in responsibility
- Even though online students have teachers and a Learning Coach—a parent or another responsible adult—to guide them on a daily basis, they tend to be more in control of their learning because of customized scheduling and increased flexibility. Having more academic control inspires them to be self-disciplined and responsible learners, which is essential to succeed in college.
- Since students in virtual school can't rely on a bell or an in-person teacher to keep them going throughout the school day, they are required to take more initiative when it comes to completing their schoolwork. As a result, they get a realistic and constructive introduction to the life of a college student.
By providing a "test drive" of learning more independently, virtual school can be a great way to prepare students for college by helping them develop drive, self-sufficiency, and confidence!
How has online school helped your teen get ready for the expectations of college? High schoolers, we want to hear from you too! Share your story with us in the comments.