The Pros and Cons of Alternative Diplomas
High school is a time of change and transformation, personal growth, and starting to figure out who you are. Not only that, but students are deciding what college they want to go to or what career they wish to pursue. Everyone is different, and traditional education isn’t the right fit for every student. Some students thrive in an alternative high school rather than a traditional public high school. Receiving a diploma from an alternative high school has its pros and cons. Here are a few of each:
Pro: alternative schools meet a need
Whether it’s a specialized curriculum or catering to an underserved population, alternative schools meet a need that traditional high schools do not. Many students enrolled in an alternative school started in a traditional school and transferred for social or academic reasons. For whatever purpose, those students’ needs weren’t met at a traditional school, and they found what they were looking for or at least an improvement at an alternative school.
Con: college admissions can be tougher on alternative school graduates
While many alternative schools strive to offer all the courses required for college admission, some schools don’t offer all the classes colleges will want to see on a high school graduate’s transcript. Or there may be a lack of guidance at alternative schools, so even if all the classes are offered, students won’t have taken the correct ones to get accepted into college. If students want to attend college after getting their diploma, it’s important to check first if the alternative school offers a full curriculum and that they create a four-year plan to get all the necessary classes on their transcripts.
Pro: alternative schools offer more individualized instruction and learning plans
Alternative schools have smaller class sizes and fewer students per teacher. This has several benefits for students, both academically and socially. With more time to devote to each student, teachers can individualize lesson plans and focus on the needs of each student. There is less chance of academic or behavioral issues going unnoticed or ignored.
Con: alternative schools often have a negative connotation
Alternative high schools have an unfair reputation for attracting “problem students.” While it’s true that some students come to alternative schools due to behavioral or academic issues, there are many reasons why parents and students are drawn to these schools. Some students need more time to learn English, some prefer and thrive in a smaller classroom, and some are ambitious and seeking to graduate early with an accelerated course schedule. Whatever the case may be, colleges will likely want to know why a student attended an alternative high school. If you choose to graduate from an alternative school, be prepared to answer in a way that shows that you value your education and decided that an alternative school was best for your educational needs.
If a traditional high school isn’t meeting your academic or social needs, then an alternative high school may be a better fit for you. Explore the curriculum offerings, visit the school, and weigh the pros and cons of graduating from an alternative school before making your decision. You may find that attending an alternative high school is the best option, or that the traditional school offers more of what you want. Choose the option that will give you the best quality education and help you secure the best future.