Emma D., journalist
According to the Middle States Association, one of the top regional accreditors of educational institutions in the country, the George Washington University Online High School was “by far the best online school…ever visited”. Since I was one of the few students that was a member of the GWUOHS re-accreditation team, I was ecstatic to receive this news. Still, when people hear that I attend the George Washington University Online High School, I receive mixed reactions. Some react positively, remarking that my decision is unique and interesting, while others react negatively, commenting that my decision is unusual and a bit strange. Whatever the reaction I come across, after having spent the last four years at GWUOHS, I have never once looked back.
I started thinking about a different way of schooling during 7th grade. At the time, I was attending a large brick and mortar public school. I was not challenged enough in my classes, and I felt as if the majority of my time was spent learning concepts at the same level and speed as everyone else. On top of this, I desired more flexibility in my schedule, so I could invest more time into my musical theater training and other personal interests. The summer before my eighth-grade year, my family and I conducted research on online schooling options, and it was my mom who discovered a
handful of university-affiliated online schools. After comparing and contrasting five different schools, it was clear: George Washington University Online High School was the school for me.
The curriculum of GWUOHS is both challenging and engaging. The main part of the curriculum, self-paced lessons, can be completed anytime, anywhere. While I tend to stick to the traditional school schedule, I am able to complete my subjects in any order I wish. For instance, I typically complete math in the morning when I am fresh and awake, and I complete an easier subject of mine, English, in the afternoon. These lessons
utilize a variety of instructional tools, including textbooks, workbooks, videos, interactive animations, online activities, writing assignments, and assessments. I have had many unique opportunities through the GWUOHS curriculum. I was able to take high school English and math in 8th grade. In my Honors U.S. History course, I was able to write a research paper on a local topic of interest to me–George Washington’s crossing of the
Delaware River–and have it published on the website of the Washington Crossing Historic Park. In my science courses, I have been able to complete labs using real science materials. In my world language courses, I have been able to study not just language, but culture, as well, through a variety of interesting exercises. The keystone of my school’s curriculum is the Journeys Symposium, a required series of courses that teach both life and college skills. Taught by my college counselor, I have learned many
useful skills, from managing time and setting goals to volunteering and writing essays. As a senior next year, in addition to taking my core courses and Journeys Symposium, I will be exploring just a handful of the many elective courses offered. Some possible options include Personal Finance, 2D Animation, and Music Appreciation. These elective courses go towards one of three required concentrations that appear on the George Washington University Online High School diploma: Liberal Arts, Science and Technology, or Entrepreneurial.
Even though my school is online, it does not mean that there is no support whatsoever. During live online sessions, called ClassConnects, my teachers interact with me and my fellow students through questions, polls, videos, virtual field trips, group activities, walkthroughs, and lectures. Instead of having to be interrupted by classroom distractions, in these small virtual classes, all I have to focus on is interacting with my peers and learning the specified content. In fact, the best teachers I have ever had over the course of my academic journey have been at GWUOHS. Whenever I have a
question about a difficult concept, my teachers are always there to help me out via Skype. Plus, I have also had the chance to get to know my teachers on a personal level through regular Skype chatting. One unique feature of the GWUOHS experience is the advising program. Through this program, each student is assigned to an advisor, one of the teachers at the school. Each advisee then meets with his or her advisor once a week to discuss grades, progress, extracurricular activities, and school events. I am
very grateful to be able to receive a weekly personal checkpoint, as most high schools are too large to accompany for this type of regular meeting.
A plethora of opportunities to connect with classmates are also available at the George Washington University Online High School. Discussions allow classmates to exchange ideas on course content. Clubs provide an outlet for students across the world to connect through shared interests. Whether you’re a writer, a volunteer, a debater, an artist, or even a future medical professional, there is a club for you. Students even have the option of creating their own clubs. I am a member of two clubs, the GW Chronicle
(student newspaper) and the Finer Things Club (arts/writing). Even though I pursue musical theater outside of GWUOHS, I also have a passion for writing, and through these clubs, I am able to write about some of my favorite topics, which include the arts, marine biology, travel, and personal narratives. Through the school’s partnership with the George Washington University, I was even able to submit some of my pieces of writing to the GWU literary magazine, the Wooden Teeth. Even if a student is not a
member of a club, Skype groups provide opportunities to chat and talk with other students about anything and everything.
As you can probably tell, I am very glad to be a GWUOHS student. I can succeed academically, while also having plenty of time for personal pursuits. I can keep in close contact with teachers, while also staying in touch with classmates. Although me and the teachers and students of GWUOHS do not meet in-person, we are a global network connected through our motivation to work hard, succeed, and be kind. That is why the
George Washington University Online High School is the perfect school for me. Interested in finding out more about the George Washington University Online High
School? Click here.