4 Ways to Prepare for College in Online School
College may be years away for some students, but that doesn’t mean the prep work can’t begin now! Like many bricks-and-and mortar schools, high-quality virtual schools offer students many opportunities to get a head start on college requirements and courses by earning college credits, learning more about future options, and getting organized beforehand.
Preparing for college ahead of time can relieve stress and worry while accelerating college graduation and career goals. Here are a few ways that virtual school students can start gearing up for college—and how attending virtual school has benefited current and former students of Connections Academy®—supported schools.
- Advanced Placement and honors courses
Enrolling in an Advanced Placement (AP®*) or honors course is a great way to prepare for the pace and demands of college courses. It’s a good opportunity for students to challenge themselves academically while learning to be more diligent and self-disciplined at the same time. Taking advanced coursework also enhances a student’s transcript—an important strategy for making a favorable impression on college admissions committees.
In addition, an AP course prepares a student for the national AP exam. High scores on these tests could enable students to earn college credit or placement in advanced classes, depending on the individual college’s policies. Even though the workload may be heavier, students will know that their hard work has paid off when they receive an acceptance letter from their favorite college or can check off a course from their college requirements before starting their freshman year!
—Brielle Batch, Indiana Connections Academy student
- Summer school
Since AP and honors courses are more demanding than standard ones, taking the time to focus on them in summer school can be a beneficial option. One of the many perks of summer school is that it allows students to get ahead both in their current and future required courses. International Connections Academy (iNaCA), Connections Academy’s affordable private virtual school offering, accepts full-time, part-time, or summer school students. With more scheduling flexibility, online summer school students can still enjoy their favorite summer activities while taking online courses.
- Career and college-prep courses
Many virtual schools offer students courses that are specifically designed to encourage them to begin thinking about and planning for college and the future. Connections Academy students have more than thirty Career Technical Education (CTE) courses to choose from as electives, including Career Exploration, Introduction to Business, Principles of Marketing, and Medical Law and Ethics. CTE courses often help prepare students for life after high school and discover a new interest or ambition.
—Melinda White, Maine Connections Academy graduate
- Dual diploma programs
If your student would like to advance further, he or she should consider looking into a dual diploma program. A dual diploma program makes it possible for students to earn a college associate degree while still enrolled in high school. For instance, through iNaCA’s dual diploma program, high school juniors can receive one year worth of college credit towards their associate degree from American Public University (APU). Then during their senior year, students are admitted to APU to complete their high school and second-year college courses—at the same time!
—Acacia Clark, Louisiana Connections Academy graduate
By taking advantage of all the college preparation options available to them in the virtual learning community, students can start college feeling confident and reassured. What are some ways your student has prepared for college while enrolled in virtual school? Share your experience in the comments—we want to hear from you!
* AP is a registered trademark of the College Board