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Online Homeschooling and College Admissions: Navigating the Path to Higher Education


Online High School Diplomas and College Admissions

For most students, the primary reason behind attaining a high school diploma is so that they can pursue a college education. In traditional schooling environments, the road to college was well laid out. However, with the advancements in technology, students can now apply to colleges even if they have earned their diplomas via an online learning platform, as long as they have graduated from an accredited online high school. Here, we help you navigate the path to higher education right from online homeschooling to college admissions.

Getting It Right

For parents, the primary concern about online homeschooling is whether the high school diploma awarded to their child will be accepted by colleges and universities. The short answer to this is “yes” – colleges and universities will accept an online high school diploma as long as it is awarded by an accredited online high school in the United States.

The credibility and the legitimacy of an online school are solely dependent on its accreditation status. Accreditation is a process that involves thorough assessments by government-authorized accrediting agencies to verify whether a school, college, or university meets the necessary federal and state quality standards for education. Accreditation is evaluated regularly on an ongoing basis, and schools can even lose their accreditation status if they are found to be falling short of the stipulated quality standards.

For high schools (both brick-and-mortar and online high schools), accreditation requirements vary by state. This is why regional accreditation is more widely recognized and accepted by colleges and universities across the country than national accreditation. Therefore, when picking an online homeschooling program, make sure you opt for a regionally accredited online school.

Leveling the Playing Field

The one thing that puts online homeschooling programs on par with traditional courses is accreditation. Colleges and universities all across the country will accept online high school diplomas as long as they have been awarded by a school that has all the necessary accreditations. This is because regional accreditation is the only thing that imparts credibility and legitimacy to high school diplomas, regardless of whether they have been earned through a traditional school or an online school.

When awarding the necessary accreditation to an online school, accrediting agencies take into consideration various factors that include –

  • Whether the school follows the rigorous quality standards for education that are set by the state
  • Whether the school looks into its educational development and implements an institutional effectiveness plan
  • Whether it passes the annual review of its financial stability, retention, and output
  • Whether it allows announced as well as unannounced site visits

In short, accreditation is a process of validation during which schools and universities are evaluated on a regular basis to ensure they maintain the necessary quality standards for education. The basic standards for accreditation are established by a peer review board that comprises faculty from various accredited schools and universities from across the country.

Therefore, it serves as an independent appraisal of the overall educational quality by reputable members of the board recognized by the state. This ensures that students from online high schools have the same opportunities to pursue a college education as their counterparts who have graduated from traditional schools.

Avoid Getting Scammed

There are several so-called “diploma mills” that function to serve a specific purpose and that is to award fake degrees. Very often, unsuspecting parents who are searching for a genuine, accredited online high school for their child stumble upon such diploma mills. Since such schools appear to be genuine, parents get taken in and end up enrolling with the wrong school. To avoid getting scammed, there are a few precautions you can take to ensure you don’t get taken for a ride.

Diploma mills can be easily identified by the following features –

  • They have names that are very similar to well-known, reputable schools but they fail to mention any accreditation by a genuine accrediting agency.
  • They follow no screening procedures during the admissions process. They typically do not ask you anything about your prior education.
  • They usually highlight a very short learning period as one of the key advantages of enrolling with them. Sometimes, they claim that you can earn your diploma in less than a month’s time.
  • Typically, such schools offer little to no interaction with qualified faculty at the school.

One might wonder why such “diploma mills” exist. The answer to that question is that people who are aware that they are committing fraud but want to quickly advance their academic or professional careers typically approach such schools to get a diploma “quickly”.

That, however, is no cause for worry if you are looking to enroll with a genuine, accredited online high school. All you have to do is make sure the school you’re enrolling with has all the right regional accreditations. You can access more information on authorized accrediting agencies at the website of The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) in the United States.

Moving Forward

When you start looking for an online homeschooling program for your child, make sure you take the time to do your own due diligence. Spend time researching online high school programs, especially ones that have college or university affiliations because getting admission into these colleges and universities will be much easier.

Many online high schools also offer dual enrollment programs, which allow students to apply even their high school credits toward a college degree. For students who plan to attend college immediately after graduating high school, dual enrollment programs serve as a very viable option.

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