Do Colleges Accept Online High School Diplomas?

Students and parents may consider online high school for many reasons. Flexibility, freedom from bullying and conflict, and the ability to work at a pace that works for the student, are all great reasons students make the transition from brick and mortar school to online.  However, students and parents may wonder if an online diploma will be accepted by colleges and universities. 


The truth is, most colleges and universities do not differentiate between online and traditional diplomas, as long as they come from accredited institutions. For instance, GlobalED Solutions, which offers online school options for middle and high school students, is accredited by Cognia and recognized by NCAA. This means that students who graduate from one of the GlobalED programs have a diploma that counts, and they can even qualify for college athletic scholarships as long as they have kept up with the NCAA standards throughout their high school career. Parents just need to do their homework to make sure they are enrolling their students in a quality program.

Strong Candidates

If colleges are not differentiating between online and traditional high school diplomas, what are they looking for?  Colleges are looking for strong candidates, as demonstrated by high grade point averages (GPAs) and students who have taken part in a rigorous curriculum. This means students need to push themselves to take some upper level courses and do their best to get good grades. Good test scores on standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT are also a plus. Some schools are steering away from these scores, but many still require them. Even if a school does not require the scores, but will accept them if a student chooses to share them, it can be to a student’s advantage to do well on these kinds of tests. Students can take advantage of test preparation courses at their online school and work with teachers and mentors to make sure they do their best.

Students that Stand Out

Colleges know that students aren’t just grades and test scores. They are also looking at student’s extracurricular activities, their passions and interests, and their unique life story. Writing a strong personal statement can really help a student to be accepted into college, regardless of whether they graduated from traditional high school or from online school. Students with artistic or athletic talent should highlight those areas and look for opportunities to connect with specific departments and coaches. Colleges and universities are interested in the whole student. Every student is unique, and students who have had the opportunity to explore their skills and interests through a quality online program can really stand out.

It turns out that a strong candidate is a strong candidate, whether their diploma came from a traditional high school or from an accredited online school. As long as the student shows strong potential to succeed in college, their work and achievements will help them to stand out as strong candidates for higher education.