Getting into college is already tough enough; acceptances are often left to the discretion of admissions officers, who may be looking for a reason to reject an applicant. Some may be hesitant to attend an online private school because of the worry that a college admissions officer may not view the school as a “real” school.
However, colleges generally don’t differentiate between online high schools and traditional high schools. Most admissions requirements are the same regardless of the type of school: credit hours for math, science, languages, and electives. It’s rare to even find mention of online private schools on college admissions pages. However, homeschoolers are mentioned and openly welcomed, even at prestigious colleges. What really matters to the admissions department is whether or not the school is regionally accredited.
It’s only then that college admissions officers willstart looking at the application itself. They look for a challenging high school curriculum, which can be had at an online private school that offers electives not found in traditional high schools, like digital arts, life sciences, or even Latin. They will want to see strong grades that trend upward, proving that the student is a hard worker. In this case, an online high school may work well for a student who has struggled in a traditional high school because the student is able to focus on coursework and raise her grades. They will even look at work or out-of-school experiences, something that some online high school students have due to athletic training schedules, auditions, or employment.
The admissions essay is also something that college admissions officers care about. For students or parents worried that an online private school will be an automatic strike against them, the essay is a good place to alleviate those concerns by stressing the challenging coursework, the discipline learned from attending an online high school, and how it allowed the student to overcome a challenge or be a stronger member of the community.
Ultimately, as long as the online private school is regionally accredited, that is what will matter to the college admissions officer. What matters more are grades, test scores, and other factors that illustrate how the student will be a good fit at the college.