For home-schooled students like me, the process of earning a high school diploma is a bit more complicated than it is for “traditional” pupils. Those complications extend into the higher education world where some colleges accept home-school diplomas and others require GED® test scores as part of the application process.

For me, those GED requirements weren’t a problem. I used the Virtual High School (VHS), a non-profit global collaborative of schools committed to expanding educational opportunities for students and educators, for the majority of my studies, and those courses helped prepare me above and beyond for the GED.

In fact, I scored above the 90th percentile on all of them.

Nevertheless, before moving into a home-schooled environment during the 10th grade, I attended Orthodox Jewish schools in Los Angeles, with the most recent being Harkham-GAON Academy. We did our secular studies online and our Judaic classes in a traditional format. When I was in 10th grade, the school used VHS for secular studies. Through that experience, I learned that their program offerings were both academic and rigorous in nature, so I decided to continue using it when I left.

The Benefits of Blended

The blended learning I was exposed to while enrolled at Harkham-GAON Academy helped me make a smooth transition over to online learning. I’m a humanities enthusiast and my favorite online courses included AP® World History, AP® Art History, AP® English Literature, and Eastern/Western Philosophy. I applied to 10 different universities, including Barnard College, Washington University in St. Louis, and Franklin & Marshall. I hope to major in English, History, or Asian Studies.

This past year, I signed up for my first VHS’s Online Judaic Studies Consortium (OJSC) course. Through this collaboration, Jewish Day School students take innovative Judaic studies courses from the OJSC catalog, taught by expert faculty from Jewish Day Schools around the country. In comparing the rigor and interest level of my OJSC courses versus those taken in a traditional setting, I would say that the former are definitely up to par.

(Next page: 3 big advantages of a virtual education for higher ed prep)

About the Author:

Kinneret Katz is a Virtual High School (VHS) student.


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