15 Best Online High Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased the amount of interest in online high schools. While brick and mortar public and private high schools have adapted to remote instruction with varying degrees of success, virtual schools and their teachers already have years of experience delivering highly-structured, meaningful, and engaging instruction in a remote capacity. College Transitions has compiled a list of the top 15 online high schools in the United States along with their physical location, the year that they were founded, their 2019-20 tuition rate, a brief summary of their course offerings, and five interesting facts about each school including, when possible—SAT/ACT scores and recent college acceptances. Links to the schools are provided so you can easily learn more about each prospective online institution.
Note: The numerical assignments are for organizational/ease-of-navigation purposes only; they are not indicative of a rank.
Physical Location: Redwood City, CA
Year Founded: 2006
Tuition: $24,220 per year
Course Offerings: Many AP courses as well as 28 post-AP and university-level courses.
- 64% of teachers hold PhDs in their fields.
- Students come from 48 U.S. States and 31 countries.
- The total enrollment is 804 students.
- 13% of students receive financial aid.
- The mean SAT score for graduates is 1482.
Physical Location: Reno, NV
Year Founded: 2006
Course Offerings: Students create a Personalized Learning Plan (PLP). Courses are highly rigorous but do not have AP designation. Many students still sit for AP tests.
- This school is for extremely gifted students who score in the 99.9% of above on nationally-normed intelligence tests.
- The mean SAT at the school is 1529; the mean ACT is 34.8.
- Students have gone on to enroll at Caltech, Rice, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Chicago, and Yale.
- There is no class rank at this school.
- 14 students were named AP Scholars in the Class of 2020.
Physical Location: Austin, TX
Year Founded: 1999
Course Offerings: Courses in 60 subject areas including many AP and IB options.
- 400 full-time students are enrolled.
- Graduates have gone on to schools like MIT, Cornell, USC, NYU, and Johns Hopkins.
- An IB Program is offered for non-Texas residents.
- Students earned an average SAT score of 1125.
- Courses are NCAA-approved for future collegiate athletes meeting eligibility requirements.
Physical Location: Ashburn, VA
Year Founded: 2011
Tuition: $12,000 per year
Course Offerings: Offers 16 AP courses and instruction in five world languages.
- 100% of graduates are accepted into a four-year college
- Recent acceptances include: Swarthmore, Columbia, Harvard, and Stanford.
- $2.7 million in scholarships have been awarded to GW grads
- The average SAT is 1221; the average ACT is 26.
- The average graduate GPA is 3.22.
Physical Location: West Chester, PA
Year Founded: 1991
Tuition: $1,100-1,700 (depending on course selection)
Course Offerings: 22 AP courses as well as honors options for most subjects.
- Over 75% of AP test-takers earn a “3” or above.
- The Class of 2019 received almost 10 million dollars in merit scholarship offers.
- The average SAT score was 1180; the average ACT score was 24.6.
- 88% of faculty hold master’s degrees.
- 72% of those enrolled are full-time Laurel Springs students.
Physical Location: Morgantown, WV
Year Founded: 1994
Tuition: $1,599 per year
Course Offerings: Does not host AP courses but offers an array of courses (including honors options) in English, Math, Science, Social Studies, World Languages, the Fine Arts, and Computer Science.
- College acceptances include Brown, Carnegie Mellon, Duke, Georgetown, Dartmouth, and Yale.
- Alumni include many serious athletes, musicians, and actors/actresses.
- Students have all year to finish their courses at their own pace.
- You will get one-on-one interaction with teachers and a guidance counselor.
- You can pay more for additional math tutoring or guidance support.
Physical Location: Norcross, GA
Year Founded: 1996
Tuition: $1,299-$1,799 (depends on payment plan)
Course Offerings: Full high school offerings plus many online college dual enrollment options.
- College acceptances include NYU, Penn State, Pitt, Cornell, and Georgia Tech.
- James Madison works with many adult learners, athletes, and homeschoolers.
- Ashworth College is the school’s parent institution.
- Students can transfer up to 75% of their credits- one full year must be earned at JMHS to earn a diploma.
- Over 2,500 students graduate from the school each year.
Physical Location: Bloomington, IN
Year Founded: 1925 (as distance learning school)
Tuition: $226 per course
Course Offerings: Offers three AP courses and language options in French, German, and Spanish.
- Graduates have gone on to Indiana University as well as Ivy League schools like Harvard and Columbia.
- Offers three diploma tracks- College Prep, General Education, and Academic Honors.
- NCAA approval allows athletes to prepare to play at a Division I or II school.
- Fully accredited by Cognia whose accreditation recognizes “institutions that have sustained an exemplary commitment to continuous improvement and learner outcomes.”
- Courses have a 26-week time limit.
Physical Location: Southaven, MS
Year Founded: 1997
Course Offerings: Northstar offers 200 core courses including 13 honors and 19 Advanced Placement classes.
- The average SAT score is 1185; the average ACT is 25.
- Roughly 70% of recent grads have gone on to enroll into a four-year college.
- Acceptances include Hamilton College, Northeastern, the University of Wisconsin, and Dartmouth College.
- 69% of Northstar students are U.S. citizens.
- There are over 1,800 students enrolled from grades 4-12.
Physical Location: Lincoln, NE
Year Founded: 1929 (for distance education)
Tuition: $250 per course
Course Offerings: 100+ courses including AP and dual enrollment options.
- Since 2010, students have earned acceptances to colleges such as Yale, Brown, Wellesley, Vassar, and Purdue.
- Accredited by Cognia and the school meets NCAA standards.
- Alumni include Justin Timberlake, Andy Roddick, and Brittany Spears.
- The school became part of the University of Nebraska’s online network in 2013 and was renamed at that time.
- The student-to-teacher ratio is 6:1.
Physical Location: Columbia, MO
Year Founded: 1999
Tuition: $250 per course (in-state); 500 per course (out-of-state)
Course Offerings: 230 classes including a number of unique electives, 9 AP courses, and 23 foreign languages.
- Almost 6,000 domestic students and 450 international students from 15 countries are presently enrolled in at least one course.
- Multiple Olympic athletes and budding sports stars have graduated from MU High.
- 2019 graduates averaged a 25 on the ACT, more than three points higher than other high school grads in the state.
- In addition to 45 full-time instructors, the schools employs 10 course designers/developers.
- 80% of the grades awarded over the past five years were “A”s and “B”s.
Physical Location: Bloomsburg, PA
Year Founded: 1974 (for correspondence courses)
Tuition: $399-549 per class
Course Offerings: 120 total high school courses are offered including 8 AP classes and five world languages.
- The school has a current enrollment of 10,000+ students.
- 80% of grads are accepted by at least one college.
- Average standardized test scores are 1114 on the SAT and 22.6 on the ACT
- Tennis star Maria Sharapova is a graduate.
- Graduates have gone on to colleges such as Notre Dame, West Point, Duke, and Stanford.
Physical Location: Orlando, FL
Year Founded: 2009
Tuition: Free (Florida residents); $800 per course (non-residents)
Course Offerings: 15 AP courses as well as a similar number of honors courses.
- There are over 2,700 current high school students at FLVS.
- The average SAT is 1035.
- FLVS is a rare online high school that does utilize a ranking system.
- Runs on the same calendar as a traditional school.
- College acceptances include West Point, Harvard, American University, Barnard College, and Babson College.
Physical Location: Brattleboro, VT
Year Founded: 1975 (distance learning)
Tuition: $1,800 per course (full year)
Course Offerings: A bevy of options within each major discipline, but no honors or AP courses.
- There are 600 students enrolled from all around the world.
- Recent college acceptances include Bard College, Cornell University, Northwestern University, UCLA, and Yale.
- This school is philosophically opposed to standardized testing.
- Accredited by six different agencies in the U.S.
- Oak Meadow supports dual enrollment and will accept credit earned at outside colleges.
Physical Location: Lake Oswego, OR
Year Founded: 2009
Tuition: $5,795-$8,795 per year (depending on level of service)
Course Offerings: Offers a wide array of honors and AP options as well as a curriculum that is developed in-house.
- Recent grads have attended the University of Michigan, Bryn Mawr College, the University of Texas at Austin, and Purdue University.
- There are additional fees for science labs and certain AP courses.
- Courses are mostly mastery-based and students must earn a minimum of 80%.
- CMASAS has its own National Honor Society chapter.
- The “Personal Learning Model” gives students a good deal of autonomy within their courses.
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).