The biggest school rivalry

Digging into online versus public schooling and its impact on college success

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Today in the United States and even in our community, the debate between which type of schooling is best for children is being discussed more and more. College Admissions offices are looking more into the applicant process and the quality of the education that a student received.

“We look for students who have challenged themselves academically, regardless of environment,” said Meghan Kuhn, the Regional Admissions Representative at Cornell College in Mount Vernon Iowa.
“However, we understand that some students come from areas that do not have the resources to provide them with advanced courses, and we do take that into consideration.”
Kuhn works with students mainly applying from the Chicago area. She reads college applications and helps them get more familiar with Cornell. The other admissions officers like Kuhn look into the type of schooling a student received, but they don’t downplay a certain type.

Karis Patton ‘22 is currently enrolled in an online schooling. Patton went to North Central Junior High in North Liberty and then moved to Houston, Texas to follow her dream of becoming a ballerina. She lives in an apartment by herself and does online school from her bed.
“Well, I wake up at nine. At ten I usually do school until about 1:30, then I get ready for dance. When I get home from dance, I do school probably about from eight to nine or ten, depends on what I am feeling,“ Patton said.

Patton takes Algebra, Geometry, Geography, Integrated Physics and Chemistry, and French. The courses are virtually the same, but Patton explains that there can be a trade off. For example, in the science department, students across the United States in public school participate in “labs” where they do experiments in the classroom. Since most online students do school from their home, they might not have access to do these labs.
“In science, I hate doing labs because you just watch animations of people dumping chemicals in tubes and it’s really boring. It sucks because labs are my favourite part of science,” Patton explains.

With the online learning, comes online testing. Since most courses aren’t taught by actual teachers, most of the exams and quizzes aren’t the same either. Patton says that her program allows her to use her notes on all the quizzes and exams. As well as being able to have access to notes, the questions are mostly multiple choice.
Patton says, “The worst part is that you’re definitely tempted to go online and look up the answers. So if there was something I didn’t understand, and I looked it up then I didn’t actually learn it, but I still got it right.”

In addition to the testing and learning, Patton says that another downside to online schooling is that you can miss out on getting involved in high school activities; academically with clubs and electives, and also socially.
“When I like see on people’s snapchat stories like football games and stuff, I was kinda like ‘dang it. I wish I coulda been there.”

“When I like see on people’s snapchat stories like football games and stuff, I was kinda like ‘dang it. I wish I coulda been there.’””

— Karis Patton


Even though she says there are a few trade offs, Patton really enjoys online school.
“I can get ahead. I can just like move at my own pace, which is nice. So if there’s like something that I find easier, I can do that faster and take my time on the things I need more help on. Online schooling gives you the flexibility to move at a speed that is comfortable to an individual and that satisfies their needs.¨

Abbey Schley ‘22 agrees with Patton on this.
“I slept in a lot and had more time for ballet and had my own schedule,” she says.
Schley went to Northwest Junior High as a 7th grader, but then she decided to try online schooling so she could focus on her growing passion for ballet. After a year of online courses, Schley decided to attend public school again at West High School for her teenage years.
Schley says,“I wanted to be back at school with my friends and learn from teachers.”

Contrary to Schley, Patton adds that online school is way less stressful and that is a fine trade off for not going to school with your friends.
“I’m definitely not worried about grades. All you really have to do is make sure you do well on the assignments, quizzes and tests, and stay on track.”

The debate between online and public education is still up and running and from 2012 to 2015 online students under the age of 25 jumped from 13% to 25%.

In the end, it is mostly up to the student about which education they are looking for to satisfy certain goals in their lives.

“We look for students who have challenged themselves academically, regardless of environment.”
Meghan Kuhn, Chicago Regional Admissions Representative at Cornell College

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