Many students are nervous and excited on the first day at a new school. Beginning at an online school for the first time can be equally nerve-wracking. But knowing what to expect can help minimize any anxiety you feel in the weeks and days beforehand. Find out what you can expect during your first day of online high school.
Online High School Has Similarities to Traditional High School
Much like an in-person experience at a new school, you and others (including your teachers) may feel nervous excitement about the new school year. You may ask yourself questions like: What will my teachers be like? Will I make new friends? Will the work be hard? Will I have fun? And much like other high schools, your online high school and its administrators and teachers will do their best to answer them all.
There will likely be an orientation on that first day to introduce you to your new school. Among the areas covered will be:
- School policies, rules, and expectations
- First homework assignments
- Student support and advisors
You’ll also meet your new teachers and have an opportunity to interact with your peers. Just like with other new-school experiences you’ve had, you may find it is an adjustment to get used to your new schedule and school, and that is okay. Also like other first days, you’ll get through it, learn some new things, and have some fun.
How Is Online High School Different from In-Person School?
Because everything you learn at an online high school is done remotely, there will be differences from what you may be accustomed to. For example, instead of roaming crowded halls between classes—and maybe getting lost—you might stop in the kitchen for a snack before logging back onto your classroom portal. And on that first day, instead of being introduced to the physical space of a high school campus, you’ll get an introduction to the learning management system you will use. Instead of a library tour, you’ll learn how to access resources online.
Your textbooks (and basically everything else) in online high school will be digital. If you are an old-school, paper lover, don’t fret; there will still be opportunities to take notes, draft essays, and do other work by hand. The biggest learning curve will be familiarizing yourself with the learning platform where you manage your class schedule and receive and submit assignments. The way you communicate might also be new to you. On that first day, be sure to connect with your teachers and peers and pay attention to how you will need to stay connected. Be sure to check and reply to email and the school chat platform throughout the day to ensure you don’t miss important messages from your teachers and classmates.
As you progress throughout the year, there will be other differences that will be clear. Because you’re not physically in class, you won’t be surrounded by chatty or loud people all day long, which can be helpful when you are trying to focus in class, read, or work on an assignment. It can take some getting used to if you have been in boisterous school environments up until now. On the other hand, it can be cool to set the tone and noise level of your study environment and set up your study space the way you like.
Online schools also differ from one another. Depending on the school you attend, you might be expected to do all your work independently with no live classroom sessions (asynchronously) or you might find a combination of synchronous and asynchronous classes. Synchronous courses provide more of a traditional classroom experience and can be a great supplement to fully independent learning. ￼They might resemble what you experienced during the pandemic where you had to log into a virtual classroom at a particular time. However, excellent and intentional online school will likely have much smaller classes and less in-class hours to prevent camera fatigue.
Some Tips for Online High School
You will be more in-charge of yourself and your academic destiny. You will have teachers and administrators who care about your progress and success, but, unlike in-person schools, they will not be getting after you constantly about being on time to class and turning in your assignments. You will have greater independence and also greater responsibility. Be prepared for this and set yourself up for success from day one. If you know you’re prone to getting distracted or procrastinating, set boundaries to help you make good choices and excel academically.
You will also need to be more intentional about getting to know your new teachers and befriending new classmates. It will be important for you to introduce yourself to your peers and teachers on the first day of school to set the tone for great communication and relationship-building during the year ahead.
At Gravitas, we believe the first day of school can be fun and exciting, and set the tone for the entire academic year. Want to learn more about attending an online high school? Why not attend an information session or contact us directly and we’ll answer all your questions.