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Accredited Online High Schools and High School Diploma Programs

Higher Education Articles February 25, 2013

Online high school diploma programs are offered by several schools around the nation. There are many online high school diploma programs that are widely accepted; however, prospective students should be careful and not be lured into enrolling in an unaccredited program.

Discovering High School Programs That are Accredited

It is a challenge for students to find a high school diploma online that is accredited and recognized. Several online high schools are considered to be “diploma mill” where students have to pay a fee, and they will be awarded a diploma, which is not recognized by postsecondary educational institutions or employers because the program required little or no coursework. Online high school programs that are legit require significant educational work from students before they can grant credentials, according to the Federal Trade Commission (

Students can verify the academic credentials of a program by contacting the school directly to find out its accreditation. Usually, diploma mills give out vague answers; students cannot communicate with anyone that works at the school, or they are unable to provide documentation. Diploma mills can falsely claim that their programs are accredited, or be accredited from an agency, which do not demonstrate standards of educational rigor when granting accreditation. Some of the national and regional accreditation agencies recognized by the United States Department of Education accredit high schools, and the Distance Education and Training Council particularly accredits online high schools. Aspiring students could narrow the search for an online high school diploma to universities and community colleges. There are several legitimate high school diploma programs that are available online through these institutions.

Setup of Online High School Programs

Online high school diploma programs must be accredited and state-approved. Accreditation renewal and continued approval require schools to follow curriculum guidelines in the jurisdiction in which the school operates and it is set by the educational board.

Educational Prerequisites and Application Process

A majority of schools require an application fee, completed enrollment application, and copies of all and any prior high school transcripts. In addition, majority of high school diploma programs have strict academic requirements, several ask applicants to demonstrate academic preparedness at a minimum of an eighth grade level. Students who are accepted, the school will typically mail them a copy of class listings, costs, and graduation requirements.


Online classes will take place on the internet using forum, voice, video, chat room, and educational software along with phone calls and emails. Several classes, specifically in computer and science disciplines, could require students to purchase additional learning materials and software. Similar to conventional classrooms, students usually have regular homework assignments that are graded by instructors. From time to time, classes participate in conference calls or live video chats. Tests will be administered through the internet while papers are typically graded and submitted through email.


A minimum number of classes have to be passed by students in order for them to be eligible for graduation. A majority of online high school programs send graduates’ diploma through the mail, and there will not be any formal commencement ceremony.

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