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6 Types of College Prep Resources Online High Schools Offer

If you’re planning to go to college, it’s important to start preparing early. Online high school students frequently apply for and attend college after they graduate. While the college applications process can feel intimidating, it’s much simpler and easier to navigate if you take advantage of college prep resources while you’re in high school. 


Fortunately, most virtual high schools offer a variety of college prep resources to help students succeed in their applications and their college careers. In this article, we’re discussing 6 types of online college prep high schools like SLC offer, and how you can use them to help you achieve your individual goals.

Why Virtual Students Should Take Advantage of College Prep Resources

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In today’s academic landscape, most colleges view applicants with online high school diplomas in a positive light. That’s because virtual students are generally self-disciplined and adaptable, which are essential skills in a college environment. But planning ahead is still just as important for online learners as it is for students from brick-and-mortar schools.


It’s never too early to start preparing for college. Students who take advantage of college prep resources during high school generally experience:

  • A smoother, less stressful college applications process
  • A higher chance of being accepted into their preferred college(s)
  • Better-developed skills needed for success in college
  • A better understanding of what attending college is like
  • An easier time choosing a major

1. College Admissions Test Prep (ACT / PSAT / SAT)

Most colleges take standardized test scores very seriously when considering applications. Taking the PSAT and SAT in your sophomore and junior years, respectively, is highly recommended if you’re interested in higher education. 


Most online schools like SLC offer ACT, PSAT, and SAT prep resources to assist students on their journey. For example, taking test prep courses as well as utilizing practice assessments through College Board can help students approach their exams with confidence.


Students who wish to register for these assessments should work directly with their SLC advisor.

2. Early College Programs

Early College Programs, also known as dual enrollment or expanded options, provide high school students the opportunity to take some or all of their courses at their local community college. Programs like this are among the most comprehensive online high school college resources available to students today.


Students eligible for this program can work toward their high school diploma while also earning college credits. With full-time and blended program options, students can work with their academic advisor to develop a schedule that works for them, taking classes on their chosen community college campus, online, or both. 


With the Early College (dual enrollment) Program, students can:

  • Explore trade and technical career opportunities
  • Get started on an Associates Degree
  • Earn college credits that may be transferable to a four-year institution
  • Develop valuable academic and interpersonal skills
  • Gain experience in a real-world college environment

3. Guidance Counseling

Guidance counselors are excellent resources for all students, including those who wish to attend college. At SLC, our school counselors and educational advisors provide individualized guidance, support, and resources to help students reach their academic and personal goals. It’s never too early to discuss your college aspirations with your advisor. They can help you:

  • Develop a class schedule that prepares you for college success
  • Identify school clubs, extracurricular activities, sports teams, and internships that look good on applications
  • Determine whether an Early College Program is right for you
  • Find scholarship opportunities
  • Secure letters of recommendation
  • Navigate the college application process

4. Academic Flexibility

female student wearing headphones working with her teacher on the computer

Academic flexibility is one of the main reasons students make the switch to online school. It’s also one of the things that makes virtual high school students so appealing to colleges. Online students have immense flexibility when it comes to when, where, and how they learn. But being successful in a flexible academic environment requires self-discipline, time-management skills, and advanced communication skills.


All of these qualities are essential in college, and strengthening these skills during high school gives students practical experience to help them in their academic pursuits and beyond.

Related: 8 Tips to Help Your Student Transition to Virtual School

5. Help with Financial Aid and Scholarship Applications

A primary concern for most students and their families when it comes to college is the cost. It’s not hard to see why. The average annual cost of tuition is currently $10,662 to attend a public college as an in-state student. To attend a public school out of state, the cost rises to $23,630, and the cost to attend a private college is even higher, at $42,162. Fortunately, most students are eligible to receive federal financial aid, and there’s an abundance of scholarship opportunities for students who seek them out.


Advisors at online high schools can help students apply for financial aid, identify scholarship opportunities, and work with you one-on-one to lower the cost of your college education. At SLC, we believe that every student who wishes to attend college should have the opportunity, and we’re committed to helping you achieve your higher education goals. 


Here are a few resources to get you started:

  • FASFA – Find federal student aid application forms.
  • Fast Web – Start looking for scholarships.
  • Oregon Promise – Determine if you’re eligible to have your community college tuition covered.
  • OSAC – Find scholarships in Oregon.
  • Scholarship America – Find scholarships across the country.


Related: 7 Support Roles Who Help Students Succeed in Virtual School

6. College Prep Workshops

female student wearing a yellow blouse to do work

In addition to one-on-one counseling, college prep workshops are available to help students prepare for what’s next after high school. These kinds of workshops focus on topics that apply to just about every student who is planning to attend college after graduation, and may include:

  • Finding the right college or university
  • Interview skills
  • Senior planning
  • Applying for college
  • Paying for college
  • Test-prep events


These workshops are generally taught by academic advisors, counselors, and other staff with experience helping high school students transition to college. Our incredible support staff is always available to offer students and their families the resources and information they need to make important decisions about postsecondary education.

Are You a Current or Prospective SLC Student Interested in Attending College?

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Summit Learning Charter is a fully accredited, tuition-free K-12 virtual academy in Oregon. At SLC, our commitment to our students extends beyond the classroom. We believe in the potential of every young learner, and we’re working to break down barriers and provide resources that make achieving your goals easier. 


Our amazing team of student supporters are here to provide the guidance, understanding, support, and practical resources you need to achieve your academic goals. If you’re planning to attend college, we’re on your team every step of the way!

Learn more about academics at Summit Learning Charter and contact us with any questions you may have.

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Sean Gallagher

Mr. Gallagher has been working at Summit Learning Charter since 2008, the school's founding year, and has been the Principal since 2014. Sean has been an educator for 27 years working in alternative education, teaching English, and school leadership. Sean's passion as a school leader is constructing Summit towards continual growth and student centered solutions.

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