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Online School

How Does Online High School Work?

May 9th, 2024
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Did you know that in the U.S., around 7,500,000 students, twice the population of Oklahoma, are enrolled in online school or distance learning? Online school is an innovative approach to education where students learn outside of a brick-and-mortar school building. For some, online school is a desirable way of doing school, sometimes even preferred over in-person school. For others, there is much mystery around online schools and how they work.  

If you are considering online school for yourself or your student, there are many details you should be aware of. In this article, we will demystify online learning and reveal essential aspects of meeting academic standards as an online student.  

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The Fundamentals of Online Education

Like traditional school in the United States, online school typically involves attending classes, completing assignments, and interacting with instructors. However, in online school, you do it all through the internet on a computer or tablet. Here is what it usually entails:  

1. Virtual School Classes

You will log in to a virtual classroom platform instead of attending physical classes. Some online classes allow students to join virtual sessions through video conferencing software like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Here, you will join live lectures, discussions, or presentations conducted by your online teachers.   

2. Assignments and Homework

Teachers will assign readings, projects, essays, quizzes, and tests through online platforms. You will submit your completed work digitally, often through email or an online learning management system (LMS) like Moodle or Canvas.  

3. Communication

You will communicate with teachers through email, discussion forums, messaging apps, or virtual office hours. You can ask questions, seek clarification, or participate in group discussions. Some online classes include interacting with other students through discussion boards.  

4. Self-Paced Learning

Some courses may be self-paced, meaning you can progress through the online course at your own speed. However, there may still be deadlines for assignments and exams.  

5. Online Resources

You can access digital textbooks, articles, videos, and other online resources to support your learning. Libraries and academic databases may also be accessible online.  

6. Technology Requirements

You will need a reliable internet connection and access to a computer or device capable of running the necessary software.

7. Assessment and Feedback

Teachers will evaluate your work and provide feedback, such as comments on assignments, grades, or annotations on essays online. Feedback may be given through written comments, recorded audio, or video messages.  

8. Technical Support

Most institutions offer technical support services to help students troubleshoot issues with online platforms, software, or hardware. Some technical support departments are even available 24/7.   

Infographic for Grad Solutions outlining the groups of people who can most benefit from online learning

Why Virtual School?

It is common for young adults who must finish high school to become discouraged after enrolling. That is because many of them want to finish school but have other responsibilities or obstacles that prevent them from doing so on a regular schedule. However, an online program can help overcome some of these challenges. Here are some common examples:  

Working Students  

A flexible online high school program allows students to balance their academic pursuits with work commitments. By removing the requirement to be present at a computer at specific times, students can structure their learning around their work schedules, whether full-time or part-time.   

Whether juggling part-time jobs, internships, or other responsibilities, students can access course materials, lectures, and assignments at their convenience, enabling them to pursue their educational aspirations without compromising their work commitments.  

Teens with Disabilities  

Online school presents significant benefits for students with disabilities, offering a supportive and inclusive learning environment tailored to their unique needs. One key advantage is the distraction-free setting that online learning provides. 

The flexibility of online schooling allows students to move at their own pace, accommodating diverse learning styles and preferences. This enables students to dive deeper into subjects of interest, review instructional materials as needed, and take breaks when necessary, creating a more favorable learning experience for many learners.   

Online schools often provide more appropriate support and resources for students with disabilities than traditional schools. Through specialized accommodations, assistive technologies, and dedicated support staff, students can receive the individualized attention and assistance they require to succeed academically and thrive personally.  

Health Issues  

The flexibility inherent in online schooling offers a lifeline for students facing health issues or serving as caretakers for loved ones with health concerns. For those managing their health conditions, online school allows them to prioritize self-care without compromising their education. Whether dealing with chronic illnesses, frequent medical appointments, or unexpected flare-ups, online learning allows students to adapt their study schedules to accommodate their health needs.   

Similarly, for students who serve as caretakers, online schools offer the flexibility to fulfill their caregiving responsibilities while pursuing their educational goals. Whether supporting family members with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or aging relatives, online schooling empowers students to balance their caregiving duties with their academic pursuits. 

Teenage Parents

Online school presents an ideal environment for young parents seeking to complete their high school education while juggling the demands of parenthood. The flexibility of online learning allows young parents to design a study schedule that accommodates their childcare responsibilities, ensuring that they can fulfill their parental duties while advancing their education.   

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Individuals Seeking to Finish Their High School Education

After dropping out, you do not have to stay a “dropout.” You can finish school and achieve academic excellence, especially with the proper support and format. An online school is an excellent option for those who need to go at their own pace. There are several more benefits to doing school online; they include:  


Online learning allows students to attend classes and complete assignments from anywhere with an internet connection. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for students with busy schedules, part-time jobs, or other commitments that make attending traditional classes difficult.  


Online education provides access to educational opportunities for students who may not be able to attend traditional brick-and-mortar schools due to geographical limitations, physical disabilities, or other constraints. It also allows for a broader range of course offerings, including specialized or niche subjects that may not be available in your local school district.  

Personalized Learning

Online courses often allow students to learn at their own pace, providing opportunities for customized learning experiences. Students can review materials as needed, spend more time on challenging concepts, and progress through the coursework at a speed that suits their learning styles.  

Enhanced Technology Skills

Students can become proficient in using various online tools and platforms for communication, collaboration, research, and productivity. These are transferable to future academic endeavors, such as an online college setting, or a professional workplace.  

Increased Access to Resources

Online students can access many digital resources, including e-books, scholarly articles, multimedia materials, and online databases. This broadens their learning opportunities and exposes them to diverse perspectives and sources of information.  

Overall, online education offers numerous benefits that cater to the diverse needs and preferences of students, making learning more accessible, flexible, and engaging.  

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The Role of Academic Advisors & Teachers in Online Learning  

While online learning offers many benefits to students who need flexibility, many students still need support and someone to encourage them along the way. The role of academic advisors and teachers remains paramount in guiding students through their online learning journey. That is why Grad Solutions has gone beyond the online course catalog to offer students extra support through academic advisors, teachers, and mentors.  

  • Building a Supportive Community: In the digital realm, where face-to-face interactions are limited, mentors and teachers serve as the pillars of support for online learners. 
  • Individualized Guidance & Mentorship: Academic advisors and teachers play a crucial role in tailoring the learning experience to meet the unique needs of each student. By offering personalized guidance and mentorship, they help students set academic goals, navigate course requirements, and chart their educational pathways.  
  • Facilitating Engagement & Collaboration: Effective online learning goes beyond passive consumption of course materials; it thrives on active engagement and collaboration. Academic advisors and teachers employ innovative teaching strategies and technology tools to promote interaction and participation among students. 
  • Providing Academic & Emotional Support: Transitioning to an online learning environment can be challenging, especially for students accustomed to traditional classroom settings. Academic advisors and teachers serve as trusted allies, offering educational and emotional support to help students navigate the complexities of online education. 

Academic advisors and teachers’ role in online learning is indispensable. They create a supportive environment so students can thrive academically, personally, and professionally. Through their dedication, expertise, and passion, they empower online students to learn and grow in an otherwise challenging environment.  

Infographic for Grad Solutions outlining our value propositions for online high school

Grad Solutions Can Help You Go Back to School Online

Grad Solutions offers a unique opportunity to forge a path toward a better future for those who dropped out of high school but are ready to finish and get their diploma. This unique high school diploma program is online, flexible, and supportive.   

Grad Solutions is accessible; completely digital and cost-free, students can immerse themselves in their studies whenever convenient for them. Certified teachers are available to tutor students directly or in an online setting. Furthermore, the program’s 24/7 availability gives flexibility to students with various responsibilities. For adult learners over the age of 21 who do not qualify, see our partner school’s offerings here.

With Grad Solutions, students gain a quality education without all the distractions of traditional school. From tutoring with state-certified teachers and dedicated mentors to HUB resource centers, students receive unparalleled guidance and support every step of their journey.  

For more information or to enroll now, call us at 480-689-5999 or fill out the form here.

If you’re ready to take your next step, begin the enrollment process!


National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

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