Q&A: Can I Switch to an Online School at Any Time?

Answer: Most online schools have an open enrollment time for incoming full-time students between August and the beginning of that school's academic year. Otherwise, there is generally a wait list put into place and students are invited to enroll when a spot opens up. As in traditional school systems, online schools hire teachers based on projected enrollment, and sometimes there are more prospective students than available teachers.

Some online schools will let students register for part-time enrollment at any point during the school year, which allows for high school students to make up credits. Online schooling can also allow students the flexibility to be dually enrolled in both their neighborhood school and online courses. However, it is the student's responsibility to determine whether their school will accept the credits earned online. As some traditional schools may not recognize online coursework, it's best to receive pre-approval before enrolling in an online schooling program.

The flexibility of online schooling offers many benefits. Not only does it enable students to be dually enrolled, but many high school students enjoy the option of working part time while they attend school. Courses offered online may be pre-recorded, so students have the option of working through the syllabus at their own pace. Teachers are often easily accessible via e-mail, or in some cases by phone. They may hold regular office hours or offer live lessons through which students can log in and join the class at predetermined times. It is also important to note that students enrolled in online school may still be able to participate in their neighborhood school's sports teams and extra-curricular activities.

Christi WilsonChristi Wilson is a credentialed teacher of highly-gifted students in Northern Nevada. She has 11 years of classroom teaching experience, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in education leadership, and has even taught K-12 education online. A mother of three busy boys, she knows how important it is to keep students engaged in the classroom and interested in a lifetime of learning.