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What's an Accredited Online School?

Authored By: 
Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

Is your online program an accredited online high schoolWhat is an “accredited high school”?  Why should you even care???

If you are hoping to go to college, you will either need a diploma from an accredited high school or it’s equivalent (something like the GED, or other high school equivalency exam).  Why an accredited high school?  Well, colleges (as well as trade schools, art schools, and even the military) would like to know that a certain standard is being met when you get your high school diploma.  Did your U.S. History course cover the Revolutionary War?  Did your Algebra class teach you how to solve equations?  These may seem like obvious things, but if your school isn’t accredited, it may not include certain basic skills and information that are considered to be the minimum baseline of knowledge for a high school diploma.

Most brick-and-mortar schools you will find nowadays are accredited—it’s an expectation of most of their customers (students and their families).  However, with the advancement of technology, a whole host of online programs have shown up.  But is that online school that pops up in your Google search an accredited online high school?  You’ll need to do at least a little research in order to figure that out.  Look on their website to see who accredits their program (it can usually be found on an “About Us” webpage).  Here are some agencies that can currently accredit online high schools.  Note: if it’s difficult to find the name of the accrediting organization on an online school’s website, there might be something that school doesn’t want you to know.  You should be able to go to the accreditor’s website to search for the program in question (most will list their members). 

Is there a “best” accredited online school?  The short answer is “no.”  Just as not every brick-and-mortar school is the best for every student, not every online program is best.  The important thing is to note what you (the student) do well and where you need support.  Try to find a program that meets a majority of those needs.  Whether it’s moving through at your own pace, having face-to-face interaction with your instructor, or having a wide range of challenging courses, there is something for everyone.