Questions on enrolling?
We're here 9am-9pm ET Mon-Fri

Questions on enrolling?
We're here 9am-9pm ET Mon-Fri

Questions on enrolling? We're here 9am-9pm ET Mon-Fri


How to Apply to College with a JMHS Diploma

Written by James Madison High School on Monday, 23 January 2023. Posted in College Bound, Traditional Students

Woman writing on pink post-it note.

What comes next after high school? Whether you’re just starting your James Madison journey or you’re wrapping up your last few classes, deciding what to do after graduation can feel stressful. Besides having to decide what you want to do for a career and where you want to go for college, understanding how to apply to the schools you’re interested in with an online high school diploma seems complicated. It doesn’t have to! Here’s what you should know about applying to colleges after your James Madison graduation.

Do colleges accept online high school diplomas?

Colleges and universities have different requirements and guidelines on what they will and won’t accept for admission to their school. That can include what high school diplomas they accept. However, in general, most schools look for legitimate accreditation when making decisions on whether they’ll accept an online diploma.

JMHS is nationally accredited by both Cognia and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). Cognia offers accreditation and certification, assessment, professional learning, and improvement services to institutions and other education providers. As a global nonprofit working in over 80 countries, Cognia serves 36,000 institutions, nearly 25 million students, and five million educators every day. Cognia is the parent organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). Together, these organizations have been accrediting institutions for more than 125 years.

While accreditation does ensure that the education you’re receiving is legitimate and meets federal academic guidelines, it’s important to note that colleges have the right to make their own decisions regarding what they’ll accept and what they won’t. Early on in your studies, check in with colleges you may be interested in attending after high school to make sure your JMHS diploma can help you get there. You can also view a list of schools that have accepted JMHS graduates in the past to help you get started.

What to prepare while you’re still in high school.

If you know college is your next step after graduating from JMHS, you want to start thinking about what you need to do to get there shortly after starting your program. Not sure where to begin? Answer these questions to map out a plan that can help you make sure you have everything you need to take the next steps after high school.

  1. Where do you want to go to college? Though you don’t have to know exactly which schools you’d like to attend in the future, it’s a good idea to start considering the different colleges, universities, and technical schools you might apply to. Schools often have varying admissions requirements, such as a minimum GPA for applicants or certain classes you should have on your transcripts. Understanding what those are can help you stay on track throughout your courses.
  2. What do you think you might want to study? Again, you don’t need to have an exact idea of what you want to do for the rest of your life but think about what you might be interested in? Are you more into science or math? Is literature your favorite subject? Whatever it is, use your electives to take classes that can be a foundation for the kind of classes you might enroll in when you go to college.
  3. What activities do you do outside of schoolwork? The freedom and flexibility of being an online high school student can allow you to participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities. You can join local clubs, work, or take on new interests and hobbies. Not only will you be able to have fun and still enjoy the social aspects that aren’t necessarily part of homeschooling, having extracurriculars on your application can make a difference to colleges.

How to start the college application process.

Generally, high school students start submitting college applications between the end of their junior year and the beginning of their senior year. As an online student with James Madison, you can do the same - though since your program is self-paced, you may find yourself graduating earlier than other students your age or later - depending on what pace you chose to work on your classes.

Starting the process of applying to school often begins with having a checklist of things you need to do or have ready.

  1. Decide where you want to apply for sure.
  2. Find out what you need to apply.
    1. Do you have to submit an essay? Have letters of recommendation or standardized test scores like the SAT or ACT?
  3. Find out the application process.
    1. What kind of application do you need to submit?
    2. Is there a deadline to apply for the semester you want to start in?
    3. Are there application fees? If so, how much?
    4. How long after submitting your application can you expect to hear from the admissions department regarding acceptance?

Once you have an idea of what you need to do, you can start putting together a portfolio of materials you can send out to the schools you’re interested in attending.

Take the next step with James Madison.

With James Madison High School, you can take the first steps toward preparing for life after high school - on your own terms. Whether you want to go right to college or jump right into work after graduation, your flexible courses allow you to do it on your schedule. Not sure if online school is right for you? Speak with one of our Admissions Specialists today at .

About the Author

James Madison High School

James Madison High School

Our blog comes to you live from our high school students and community. Dive in to hear more from current students, alumni, and experts as we celebrate our student's accomplishments, persistence, and passions.