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FAQ: What is Online School and How Does it Work?

July 1, 2021

Throughout the pandemic, parents and students worldwide have been introduced by necessity to new ways of learning. Words like “asynchronous” and “synchronous” have become commonplace, and remote learning enables students at all levels to continue their education.

In the process, many middle school and high school students have been surprised to discover that online learning is a refreshing change. Online classes have been unexpectedly embraced by families who were previously unaware of their many benefits

Now these families are choosing to delay--in some cases indefinitely--a return to brick and mortar schools. They need guidance and information as they seek the best fit for the coming school year.

The FAQs and answers below can help.

Q: What options are available? 

Online schools provide educational programs that allow students to earn a high school diploma by taking classes online, and they offer a wide range of academic difficulty, flexibility, and expense. There are four distinct types of online schools:

  • Public 
  • Charter
  • Private 
  • College-affiliated 

As the demand for a fully online education grows, more schools are being created. However, the very best online schools are recognized, established, accredited, and cultivate a strong community. 

Accredited schools have standards and requirements that must be met by a governing body such as Cognia, an accrediting body that has accredited Dwight Global Online School--a premier, private online school part of the 150-year tradition of Dwight School. Dwight Global is truly a student’s campus-in-the-cloud.

Q: How does an online high school work? 

Online schools set up their programs in different ways. 

Dwight Global Online School combines real-time video conference seminars, individual online tutorials, and optional residential experiences to provide the best elements of a day school, boarding school, and online school. 

Providing a personalized experience for each student through an academically rigorous curriculum, Dwight Global is dedicated to “igniting the spark of genius in every child."

Q: What is the daily routine at an online school?  

Dwight Global’s instructional model uses a college-style class schedule with a flipped synchronous seminar approach. Students have the following types of lessons:

  • Synchronous: real-time, online, video-based, virtual classes
  • Asynchronous: recorded lectures and seminars

Students watch in before they come to class, and use class time for seminar discussions. 
Those seminars meet two or three times a week, rather than every day. 

Students have a full complement of the following off-line work:

  • readings
  • writing assignments 
  • problem sets 
  • labs 
  • projects 

Instructors are available outside of class for Oxford-style tutorials.

Q: What are the course offerings like? What academic programs are offered?

An outstanding online school offers a rich selection of college-preparatory, Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes

See the Dwight Global course list here.

At Dwight, motivated students learn in a dynamic atmosphere that fosters collaboration and critical thinking. Expert faculty are committed to supporting students’ academic success and are readily accessible outside of class hours.

Q: Do students feel part of a school community?

The best online schools place a premium on creating community. 

Dwight Global students participate in Dwight School traditions, and form deep friendships with each other that last beyond graduation. Parents have their own community, and build relationships around a shared interest in supporting their children’s education.

Unlike most online schools, Dwight Global students also have opportunities to meet in-person: 

  • to gather at orientation at the NYC main campus 
  • to compete and learn at STEM conferences 
  • to practice and perform at Carnegie Hall 
  • to participate in theatre productions (Meet Ellieka, who lives in Costa Rica)
  • to celebrate at graduation and reunions 

Additionally, as part of the Dwight Global Schools Network, students can elect to attend Dwight’s campuses around the world.

Q: What are the graduation requirements for online high school?

The following 22 credits are required for high school graduation at Dwight Global:

  • 4 credits of English
  • 4 credits of mathematics
  • 4 credits of science
  • 4 credits of social studies
  • 3 credits of foreign language
  • 3 credits of electives/additional foreign language (must include 1 credit of health education)

Q: Do colleges accept online high school credits?


Colleges and universities accept Dwight Global’s online classes for admissions. 
If a student receives a strong score on an AP exam or on a Higher Level IB exam, that student is eligible to enter college with advanced standing credit, or to place out of introductory-level courses. 

Colleges and universities understand that online courses help to promote lifelong learners, and view online courses equal to those taken in the classroom. 

Click here for more information about Dwight Global Online School admissions.