The Best Accredited Online High Schools Offer Better Opportunities
Posted: Jun 28, 2016
In determining the quality of a potential online high school program, accreditation is of prime importance. Programs accredited through agencies recognized by the USDE (U.S. Department of Education) are your safest bet in terms of legitimacy. These are usually regional or national accrediting agencies.
An online high school diploma may be your ticket for graduating high school as well as your next step into college. Regional accreditation is the most accepted in terms of transferring coursework or pursuing a college degree. If a school isn’t up front about their accreditation status or the accrediting agency isn’t recognized by the USDE, you may want to look elsewhere. Legitimate online high school programs should also be listed with their states Department of Education. While states do not necessarily approve schools, they do recognize and give authority to give recognized diplomas and that is essential for a student when they graduate…to have assurance that their course of study and diploma meet the requirements of the state.
In determining the value of an online high school program, you will want to consider the following: rate of successful program completion, ease of communication with the school and with teachers, flexibility and delivery of classes, counselling and tutoring services, individualized programming, availability of specialization (engineering, religion, arts, etc.), dual credit offerings.. Schools with regional accreditation give you the best hopes for transferability of credits as well as for acceptance into graduate degree programs.
All schools should provide an itemized list of costs and should explain how tuition is charged (by credits, by class, by semester, etc.). Regional accreditation: the gold standard of accreditation. Regional accreditation is the highest available form of accreditation. There are only 7 USDE-recognized regional accreditation agencies, and only 6 that are both USDE- and CHEA-recognized regional accreditation agencies.
As noted above, CHEA’s endorsement of an accreditation agency has no real bearing on the merit of the agency; it’s an optional extra stamp of approval. USDE-recognition is what really matters. Having the best accredited online High School diploma has significant advantages over passing the GED, or the General Education Development test, which is supposed to certify academic skills at the high school level, but sets the bar much lower than a good high school education. Many reasons exist why people are discouraged or prevented from completing high school in the traditional way. It’s important to realize, however, that adults with a high school diploma or GED earn an average of $11,000 per year more than adults who haven’t finished high school (US Census Bureau).
Furthermore, those with diplomas make considerably more than those with GEDs. The variety and availability of online high school diploma programs can be both troubling and frustrating. Diplomas from quality online high schools are academically equivalent to those earned in the traditional high school setting, and should be recognized as such by potential employers and colleges and universities. However, searching for an online high school diploma program without knowing certain facts and pitfalls can waste time, money, and energy.
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