Why not? This new trend in college offerings is a win-win for a high school student who needs some reinforcement in a subject or a student who wants an extra challenge. I think the main thing to be aware of is that your online courses should not be allowed (by you) to compromise your high school GPA in any way, because your high school GPA is the number one factor that determines where you get into college, so do protect that. That said, there are many great reasons to consider this growing option for yourself.
1. Get ahead
If your high school will give you credit, you can get ahead in high school by taking required courses online at your own pace. Or, you could get college credit for many online courses (the ones offered by colleges) and this will help you start out ahead when you get to college. Be very aware that your GPA in an online college class counts toward your total college GPA, so be sure to do your very best.
2. Review material to strengthen your skills
Perhaps you did alright in Algebra II, but being able to go over the material again, with a teacher and at your own pace, might just help you out. This is a great scenario for an online course. You could learn material you may not have fully grasped the first time, strengthen material you sort of understood, and truly master concepts you nailed originally. These are all great. Think about this for Latin or World History…the list goes on. There are so many subjects you could study and master!
3. Prepare for college
By taking an online course during high school, you are doing extra preparation to be ready for college level work. Maybe your writing skills need strengthening, or your spelling, or maybe your knowledge of Biology. If you have an idea of your weaknesses, and some idea of what you’d like to major in, you can bolster your weaknesses so that you can really succeed when you get to college. I think many students could benefit from an extra round of Chemistry, PreCalculus, or Chinese.
4. Redo or replace a course or grade
If your high school will give you credit, you can often replace a course or grade where you did not do your best. Maybe you or a family member became ill, or maybe your family moved and you ended up right in the middle of the toughest US History class of your life. Whatever happened, you can talk with your school counselor and see if he or she might recommend an online course as a way for you to learn that material. You always want to master the material from one year before you move on to the next because concepts build on one another and so a strong academic foundation will serve you in all future classes and for the rest of your life.
5. Explore subjects that are not currently available to you
Maybe your high school doesn’t offer a course in Applied Physics or Calligraphy or Marketing, but you could explore these interests online! There are so many fascinating subjects that you can learn about, and an online class is a great way to explore new topics and see where your academic interests really lie.
6. Get a taste of college curriculum
Jumping into an entirely new living situation, class structure and sometimes location can be tough. Taking online classes can make the transition a bit easier by giving you an idea of what to expect class-wise when you get to college. You will have a better idea of what the work-load, teaching style and expectations will be like and so will have set yourself up to succeed.