Online school: Not a good option


Emily Moore

You may not notice it, but every laugh you have at school, every person you make eye contact with in the hallways, and every conversation you have with your friend while the teacher is talking, are the events that make school worthwhile. You may be looking for an alternative, like online school, thinking that high school isn’t worth it. Well, stop.

 Online schools like iCademy Global look great on paper. iCademy students have flexible schedules, don’t have to get ready every day, and don’t have a required amount of time to spend on school. And while that sounds great, it’s too good to be true. You’d end up spending more time on schoolwork than at West Ottawa, you’d miss out on key moments for a teenager, and you wouldn’t learn as well online as you do at WO.

  When I was an iCademy student, I ended up spending more time on schoolwork than I do with West Ottawa. There are a few reasons for this. First off, each course has the whole semester’s assignments uploaded at the beginning of the semester. Which means that even if I was caught up, there was still a false sense of obligation to work on upcoming assignments. Secondly, iCademy is a year round school. So even though there are break weeks every month or so, there was really no difference between the breaks and school days because I was in the same setting. Students are always expected to finish the daily required workload. One of the best feelings is when your parents let you go to school a few hours late to sleep in, or waking up to a snow day alert. These little luxuries don’t follow you to an online school. There ends up being more days spent in school, because you wouldn’t get these semi-frequent days off like at WO. Ultimately, students end up spending much more time in the mindset of school for iCademy than for WO.

  Traditional schooling creates lifelong memories for students. Memories as small as seeing your crush in the halls, dreading the mile run, or going out to lunch with your friends. And especially the big memories like Prom, Homecoming, Friday night football games, or meeting your high school sweetheart. Online students don’t build relationships like WO students do. And yes, there are key moments that you still get with both schools, like getting your license or being accepted into a college. But contrary to WO, online students experience them alone. On October 15, WO students went to the Homecoming dance while I scrolled through the instagram pictures and skipped through the snapchat stories of what I was missing out on. Instead of dancing with my friends, I was eating ice cream binge watching Law and Order SVU. This is because iCademy just doesn’t provide the experiences and memories that WO does.

  The main objective of school is to learn, that can’t be overlooked. At first glance, online schools and WO might seem equal when it comes to simply learning the content. But that’s not the case. With iCademy, the main form of teacher-to-student communication is through e-mail. Students can’t get immediate responses to their little questions about assignments. This creates an even bigger problem because assignment grades are automatically marked 50% off after midnight on the assignment date. If teachers don’t answer their emails by then, students are stuck between getting the question wrong or getting 50% off. After completing my semester at iCademy, I finished with a 2.8 GPA. At WO, my lowest GPA for 4 years straight was 3.75. This is not because of lack of effort, this is because of confusion about assignments. If a 2.8 GPA is what a naturally good student gets, what happens to people who naturally struggle with school? WO gives students the opportunity to ask teachers about assignments with immediate results. Teachers at WO are able to evaluate the students’ progress and determine if they should permit a time extension for assignments or spend more time teaching the lesson. This benefits not only the grades of the students, but also creates another platform to build relationships with teachers.

  There are many lifestyles that WO can accommodate. If you are thinking about an online school, ask yourself if WO’s staff could help you work around the conflicts you have with school. Because unlike online schools, WO will work with you to accommodate your needs to reach your full potential. West Ottawa trumps iCademy in time spent on schoolwork, creating and enhancing essential teenage memories, and the learning process as a whole.