There are various reasons why someone would choose to pursue an online high school education. Adults who had not formally graduated from high school in the past may wish to attain their high school degree for career reasons, in preparation for higher education, or for personal fulfillment. Students currently of high school age may find the online option to offer a preferable academic environment, or they may have specific needs which make attending a brick-and-mortar high school difficult, if not impossible.
In either case, the prospective student must first determine their needs and limitations. A working student may have restrictions on available days or times to attend class, which may make a flexible online school schedule a perfect choice. Someone who only needs to complete a few specific courses to attain their degree may have somewhat more limited choices, but will still often enjoy more flexibility than the typical GED classes offered by brick-and-mortar schools. A student without readily-available Internet access or skills may require more direct contact and communication with attentive and available instructors.
Choosing a school based on their presentation may or may not be helpful; there are some impressive websites making grand claims that are based on nothing but a good design and marketing. Beware of the “diploma mill” that will simply sell you a degree — it may seem to save you time and effort, but the result will be hollow, probably worthless for future employment or educational purposes, and possibly illegal.
Primarily, the online school that you choose should be accredited. While not necessarily a yardstick of quality or a requirement for meeting your personal goals, accreditation nevertheless gives you the most options in the future; often, non-accredited degrees are considered invalid by employers and institutions of higher education. If you are pursuing a more directly vocational degree, you should definitely ensure that your degree is endorsed by an appropriate and legitimate accreditation organization.
References are a useful way to verify quality and also understand what you will be experiencing. Speak with past graduates at length, find out how they have fared with the degree. What they will be able to tell you about their experiences will also help you to get the most out of your education, regardless of its eventual usefulness. With the Internet you should be able to find an abundance of information about any school you are thinking about attending. Beware if there is no information at all about the school or only bad information. You should be very familiar with the school you are thinking about before enrolling. You don’t want to get stuck in an issue that could have been easily avoided with a little research. Remember knowledge is power!