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JMHS Blog

Is Online High School Right for You? 3 Questions to Help You Decide

Written by Nicole Dalbo on Monday, 03 October 2022. Posted in Helpful Tips

Teenage girl sitting in thought while in front of an open laptop computer.

Are you on the fence about making the move from traditional school to online school? There’s definitely a lot to consider. Whether you’re just beginning to look into online schools or have already done quite a bit of research, this guide can help you make an informed decision regarding your education. Discover which path you should take based on these three questions: Should I do online school? Is online school just as good as in-person? Do high school students do better with online learning?

Should I do online school?

If you’re used to learning in a traditional school environment, transferring to an online school can definitely be a big change! That’s why when considering online school, it’s important to consider quite a few factors to figure out if an online learning environment is a good match for you or not.

To see if online school fits in with your lifestyle, check to see if you agree with the following:

I have reliable access to technology with internet.

Having reliable access to technology with an internet connection is a must when in online school. All of your lessons will only be able to be accessed through the internet. Although you don’t necessarily need a computer (a phone or a tablet can work if you’re in a tough spot), working with the larger screen when reading your e-books and having access to a physical keyboard for your written assignments can make your learning experience more enjoyable.

Pro tip: If you do not have access to the internet from home, check to see if there’s a friend’s or a family member’s house you can work from on a regular basis. Your local library is also a great place to work on online school lessons, and many have publicly available computers to use.

I don’t mind learning independently.

Are you someone that can pick up a book and learn from it without someone else guiding you through it? Are you able to challenge yourself to master your material instead of skimming it to get it over with? Learning independently is a huge aspect of online school, so identifying if you can comfortably learn on your own is a big first step before committing to online education.

If you’re not sure where you stand on learning independently, give it a try! Look up a topic you’re interested in and see how much you can recall by the end. This is also a great opportunity to brush up on your study skills to really help your ability to recall information.

Pro tip: Even if you’re not a big fan of reading and learn better by listening, try recording yourself reading your lessons out loud or using text-to-speech software so that you can learn in other ways.

I’m not afraid to ask for help when I need it.

In online high school, although help is there when you need it, you’ll need to take the initiative to reach out for assistance. With tutoring appointments, instructor office hours, and peer-led assistance through the JMHS Student Community, there definitely isn’t a shortage of help.

In traditional schools, when you’re struggling on a lesson, your teacher may pick up on the confused look on your face and help you without asking. In online schools, you won’t have this face-to-face contact and will need to realize when you need to reach out for help and then do it. Although online school instructors may reach out to you if they see you struggle on a submitted assignment, you’ll still need to take the next step in following their advice. In online school, you own your education, so seeking out this help is totally in your control.

As you progress through your courses and come across harder lessons, asking for help when you need it will be more crucial than ever. Take the steps now to get confidence in reaching out when you don’t understand something so that your grades can be at their best and you can pass your classes confidently.

Pro tip: Your instructor will post their office hours on the homepage of the course. Take advantage of this time to truly excel in online school.

I am self-motivated.

Self-motivation is possibly the biggest factor when considering online schools. Even if you’re a gifted student with all the time in the world—if you can’t commit yourself your lessons and study, you’ll never make progress toward your degree.

Pro tip: There are lots of ways to keep yourself motivated! Whether that’s giving yourself daily affirmations like “You’ve got this!,” rewarding yourself for your milestones, or keeping yourself accountable by managing your school time on a calendar, anything that’ll keep you motivated will bring you closer to your diploma goals.

Is online school just as good as in-person?

Learners in online school still have a great quality of education! As long as you are attending an accredited high school, you’ll still have the opportunity to continue on to college. Especially as more students are switching to online high school, many of the same college opportunities exist for online students.

Whether you want to stand out on college applications or just to add a little more challenge to your high school experience, choosing the college prep diploma track provides a more rigorous curriculum filled with more advanced classes than a general diploma. Even in an online environment, students will still be able to take a foreign language, chemistry, biology, and even calculus to fully prepare them for their future.

For students that want to earn their high school credits fast, online learning may even better a better option than an in-person traditional school. Self-paced lessons will let you take control of the speed at which you learn so that you can continue on to the next stage of your life without being held back by structured school semesters.

Curious to see which colleges accept online high school diplomas? Check out this list of colleges that have previously accepted students with a diploma from James Madison High School.

Do high school students perform better with online learning?

It depends! While online education isn’t a perfect fit for everyone, there are students that excel in an online learning environment where they take control of their education.

Because students can take whatever time they need with self-paced lessons and no exam due dates, if a little extra time is needed on a lesson, students will have the time to master their material. That means a student can confidently go into their exams once they’ve conquered any insecurities they have on a lesson instead of panicking and suffering from late night cramming.

On the other hand, if you’re ready to make your way through your next lesson, in an online learning environment, you won’t have to wait for your peers to catch up. Progress with your lessons when you’re ready and avoid classroom boredom. Your dedication and progression through your courses may even lead to an early graduation!

Is online school a good idea?

If what you can identify with what you’ve read so far and are feeling a bit excited by it, online school is probably a good idea for you. Take the time to see which areas you may need to work on, or if there’s any questions you may have before taking the dive into online education.

However, if you’re feeling confident that this is the right path for you, then go for it! If you’re looking for an accredited, online education without age restrictions, then James Madison High School can help you accomplish your goal to earn your diploma on your terms. Take the first step in owning your education and reach out today to an Admissions Specialist at or enroll yourself at jmhs.com to get started as early as today.

About the Author

Nicole Dalbo

Nicole Dalbo

Nicole Dalbo studied English Literature with a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Scranton and is currently working toward her MS in Marketing. When she isn’t writing, Nicole can be found watching the newest Marvel movie, baking something sweet, or jamming out to live music.