Difference Between Choosing a College and an Online High School

In a recent post, we talked about choosing an online high school.  Unlike traditional high schools, online high schools offer a much greater amount of choice ranging from where you attend to what classes you take.

In many ways, the process has more in common with the college experience than it does the traditional college one.

Still, despite being similar in many ways, choosing an online high school is still a little different from choosing a college.  We wanted to take a moment to highlight a few of these differences so that you can be better equipped when making decisions for either.

Degree vs. Diploma

When you go to high school school, you earn a diploma.  When you go to college, you earn a degree.

In basic definition, a degree and a diploma are essentially the same.  Both are a certificate that prove a student has achieved a certain level of knowledge, passing various tests and standards.  Most degrees, however, are earned in specialized areas such as English, History, Architecture, etc. whereas a diploma is a display of general knowledge in a broad range of areas.

Whether you earn a high school diploma online or in a physical school building, they all tend to be the same (as long as it came from an accredited school).  On the other hand, degrees come in near endless varieties.  There are types of degrees such as an Associate’s Degree that are earned through general education courses, and are therefore similar to a diploma in some ways.

Still, a diploma is the end point of high school education, whereas for most, an Associate’s is a stepping stone to further post secondary education.

There are No Majors or Minors

Since high school diplomas all have very similar requirements, there is no “picking a major” in high school.  Generally speaking, everyone has to take the same requirements.  People base their college choices around what majors that college offers.

This is not something you need to take into account when picking an online high school.

That said, there are certain varieties of classes available to students in high school.  There are also elective classes which can be filled with whatever a student wants to take.  Different online high schools do tend to offer slightly different courses.  It’s not a bad idea to browse the course selection.

Emphasis on Your Convenience

For many colleges, they set the standards and requirements, and if a student wants to go there, they have to meet those standards and requirements.  Colleges often aren’t shaped by their students as much as their students are shaped by their college.

This certainly isn’t a bad thing.  A big part of college is molding young people into adults, creating professionals and visionaries.

But online high school was largely created to meet the needs of students who’s needs weren’t being met by traditional establishments.  There is a certain amount of convenience built into the very DNA of online education.

For college, it’s a lot about working on getting into the college of your dreams.  For online high school, it’s about finding the school that best meets your needs, that can make it as simple as possible to earn your diploma.

That doesn’t mean it’s going to be “easy”, but you should find an online high school that caters to you.  It’s something we definitely try to do for our students.

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