SD Virtual School
Virtual schools are becoming more prominent and common-place all across the United States. While they used to be rare and have low attendance, they are now increasing in enrollment year after year as more and more students have positive experiences and enjoy the many benefits of virtual school.
But what exactly is virtual school? Also known as online schools, virtual schools are public schools that are state-funded and free to students, but they do not require physical attendance of students as everything is completed online. Virtual schools are not private and are not considered homeschools, and they are required to fulfill the same requirements as a traditional public school. This includes state testing, certified teachers, standard curriculum and course programs, and more.
Virtual school teachers must be certified in the state they’re teaching in, and although they work remotely, they have the same responsibilities as teachers in a traditional school setting. Virtual school teachers must be accessible to their students to offer guidance, support, and instruction. They must track academic progress and attendance, they assign homework and grade tests, they communicate with students and parents regularly, they work with their school administration to improve academics, and they complete professional development courses and training programs related to their jobs.
All virtual schools are required to follow state-specific programs and have their students meet requirements for graduation. While the curriculum programs may vary based on the school, students must meet state standards in order to graduate with a high school diploma from an online school. Although there is flexibility in scheduling and when students complete coursework, they are still required to adhere to a semester-based schedule where they submit assignments, take tests, and complete activities according to deadlines set by their teachers.
Not all virtual schools are of the same quality, so if you’re exploring an online school for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to look at the legitimacy of the school. Some smaller online schools offer correspondence or supplemental classes, while more prominent virtual schools offer full course programs and a real high school diploma. Be sure to look at the accreditations of the virtual schools you’re researching. Some may have no accreditation at all, while others, like San Diego Virtual School, are fully accredited and recognized by three major accreditation organizations.
Benefits of Virtual Schools
You likely understand the basics of what a virtual school is, so let’s take a look at the benefits of these schools. As mentioned, not all virtual schools were created equal and not all virtual schools are the right fit for every student. However, if you’re interested in enrolling in an online school, you should be aware of the most significant benefits and how they’ll impact you during and after your time in school.
Probably the most common reason that students enroll in a virtual school is the flexibility. You don’t have to drive or ride to school, you don’t have to show up to a specific place at a particular time, and you don’t have to spend countless minutes wasting time between classes or completing busywork that won’t benefit you. Virtual schools allow students to log in to their classes at any time and from any place, as long as there is an internet connection. Students can complete their assignments at any time they wish, provided they submit them by the set deadline. This means that students with unique schedules can complete coursework on the weekends, at night, or even when they’re away from home. The flexibility is perfect for families with busy schedules, such as those with an aspiring athlete, talented performer, or military service member who may not have a normal schedule.
Employers nowadays agree that they can train most individuals on the technical aspects of a job. What they cannot do is teach adults the soft skills needed to be successful as an employee. Young adults today are missing some key skills that are keeping them from getting their dream jobs and becoming the successful adults they once hoped to be, but many of these skills are acquired by students enrolled in virtual schools. Online learners master the skills of self-discipline, time management, critical thinking, self-motivation, problem-solving, collaboration, personal responsibility, and so much more. Many students in traditional schools don’t have the opportunity to master these soft skills, but virtual learners do, and that benefits them a great deal both during school and after graduation.
Although online students are not physically present with their peers and teachers during class, online schools often foster a far more positive learning environment than traditional schools. Because virtual students don’t have the distractions or frustrations that come with traditional schools, they are far more likely to be focused on their work and encouraging toward other students. Additionally, teachers are accessible to help students at any time and they are incredibly supportive and helpful both during class time and in general correspondence. Due to the nature of the virtual classroom, students don’t experience social anxiety, bullying, or any other physical or emotional distractions that can so easily derail their academic progress in a traditional classroom.
If you want to learn more about virtual school or if you are interested in enrolling your child, get in touch with San Diego Virtual School to have your questions answered. We look forward to showing you all of these benefits and more as you experience the amazing advantages of an online learning environment.
SD Virtual School
New Year Habits to Help You Be a Successful Student
As the first semester of the school year comes to a close, students everywhere are reflecting on their recently completed courses and looking forward to the second semester. With every New Year, students make resolutions and set goals to stay on top of their studies and help them become better and more successful students. If you’re among this motivated, disciplined, and determined group of students who aim to be more successful each semester, here are a few good habits you should embrace this New Year.
Get & Stay Organized
Organization is half the battle when it comes to academic success. How can you study your notes, turn in your homework, and be prepared for an exam if you can’t find your notes, the homework assignment, or the study guide? Figure out a new organizational technique if your last one didn’t work, and do your best to fine-tune your organization to make it work for you. And be aware that it’s not just enough to get organized in January—you have to stay organized throughout the semester. This might mean cleaning out binders and your backpack every so often, cleaning up your study space weekly, and ensuring you are staying on top of organizing all of your school things.
Study Consistently & Don’t Cram
Make it a point to study consistently and not just right before a big exam. Cramming for tests isn’t as effective as most students think it is, but what is effective is studying regularly throughout the entirety of the semester. Go over your assignments regularly and ask right away if you don’t understand something. When you do have a big exam coming up, spend a little bit of time each day leading up to the exam reading over notes, assignments, and study guides, and you’ll be far more prepared for your exam and far less stressed than if you only crammed the night before.
Take Notes & Use Them
You may think you’ll remember everything your teacher said and everything you read throughout a particular class, but that’s just not the case. Take notes and be thorough in your notes. Make references to images or sections of your textbook so you can read further to refresh your memory when you’re reviewing later, and notate anything you’re uncertain about so you can learn more about it during your study time.
Stick to a Schedule
Whether you attend a traditional school or an online school, having a schedule and sticking to it is a vital part of being successful in your studies. Sticking to a schedule might mean you set aside time each night to do homework as well as a set time each weekend to review notes. Or it may mean that you schedule your school time in blocks of time that are conducive to your personal schedule. Just be sure to establish a schedule before the semester begins and stick with it until summer.
Being active is an important part of staying healthy, and being healthy will directly relate to how successful you are in school. If you’re constantly sick, you’ll have trouble focusing on assignments and may struggle to keep up in your classes. Getting enough physical exercise is good for your physical and mental health, and it can be fun to socialize in group sports and other physical activities. Be sure to include physical activity into your schedule and stay consistent with being active all semester long.
Get Enough Sleep
Middle school and high school students are notorious for not sleeping enough. Being unrested and exhausted is not good for any part of your life, but especially school and academic success. If you need to set an alarm on your phone to remind you to go to bed at a certain time each night, do so. Turn off your devices and lights and get in bed at the same time every night to make it easier to get used to a set sleep schedule, and don’t sacrifice sleep unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Get Involved in Class
Discussion-oriented classes are extremely beneficial, and they are usually more enjoyable than lecture-based classes. But if you don’t get involved in the discussion and actively listen, you won’t get nearly as much out of the class, and you’ll likely find yourself missing out on very important information that you need to know. Getting involved in class will not only help you learn more during your actual class time, but it will also help you establish good relationships with your teachers and peers, meaning it will be easier to ask questions and get extra help when you need it. Another important part of being involved in class is asking questions. Don’t be afraid to ask something during class time or in a separate email or correspondence with a teacher. It’s better for you to clear up any confusion right away rather than go weeks without fully understanding an important concept.
This habit applies to the short-term future as well as the long-term future. Plan ahead in your classes and be sure to look ahead on the calendar to know when you have tests, quizzes, and big deadlines for assignments. You’ll be able to plan better and won’t be stressed out due to procrastination and last-minute work. You should also be forward-thinking in the long-term. What do you want to do over the summer to improve your academic success? What do you want to do after you graduate from high school? Think about what you can be doing now to help set yourself up for future success.
SD Virtual School
The holidays allow time for much-needed rest and relaxation. However, many students struggle to get back into the swing of things once school starts again in January, and that can put a damper on their learning and progress. It’s important to take time to rest over the holidays, but students should also be cognizant of how they’re spending their time, taking care to do some productive and educational things that will benefit them now and in the future. Not only should students be trying to retain what they learned during the past semester over the holidays, but they should also be striving to learn more during their time off from school. Here are a few excellent ways to ensure students don’t forget what they’ve learned during their time off from school.
Take some time to look back on the past semester. What did you do well? What did you do poorly? What can you do differently or better in the upcoming semester? Consider improving study habits, sticking to a schedule, and having more accountability in your studies to keep you focused throughout the remainder of the school year. You should also reflect on the things that you learned, including what was most interesting to you, what you should maybe review and learn more about, and how you can apply what you learned in your life outside of school.
Goals should be actionable and realistic, but they can also cover a variety of topics and areas of life. You may have some academic goals, some personal goals, and some physical goals. Taking time to reflect on the past few months and look forward to the future with intentionality will help you retain what you’ve learned and also strive for more in the upcoming months.
It honestly doesn’t really matter what you’re reading as long as you are reading something. Sure, a textbook or informative non-fiction book would be ideal, but even a comic book, blog posts, or movie reviews are going to help you hone your reading skills during the holiday break. The best thing you can read would be notes from the past semester, especially those that are pertinent in your primary subject areas and that contain information you’ll need to have mastered for the remainder of the year. But again, reading a novel, a magazine, or any written text will be beneficial for memory and increased learning.
Writing can be incredibly relaxing and cathartic, and it has huge educational advantages as well. Again, you can write just about anything—journal entries, poems, blogs, letters, stories, and so on. Any form of writing is going to help you retain information and grow as a writer, provided that you apply the writing rules you’ve learned in school while you write. You may use writing as a way to reflect on the past semester and set goals for the upcoming months.
Tapping into your creative side is a good way to keep your brain active and improve your memory. Any type of creativity is welcome, whether it be drawing, painting, sculpting, coloring, mixed media, and the like. Maybe you like cooking or decorating, or maybe you want to hand-make someone’s gift this holiday season. Any sort of creativity is great, so embrace whatever gets you excited and make something amazing.
Use Math Skills in Real Life
Math skills are some of the first to go when you aren’t using them regularly, so try your best to integrate what you learned in math class into your real life over the holidays. Maybe that involves baking and working on your fractions. Maybe it’s about figuring out the percentage of a tip for a server at a restaurant or budgeting for your family’s upcoming vacation or grocery trip. Math appears in sports of all kinds, weather predictions, road trips, and so on. Find ways to use what you know and build upon your mathematical knowledge even when you’re not in school to help you retain what you learned and to learn more.
Do Science Experiments to Refresh Concepts
Everyone loves a good science experiment! Chances are you can find one or several related to some concepts you learned over the past few months, and you can get the whole family involved and teach them about how and why the experiment works. You can find a variety of fun science experiments online, but you can also look for chemical reactions and other scientific concepts in your daily life, such as when you cook, talk about the weather, and more.
The holidays are the perfect time for some fun family get-togethers, so why not make a few educational? Go to some art, history, or science museums in whatever city you’ll be in this season, and learn about interesting and educational things while getting some quality family time. It can be exciting for students to see things in a museum that they learned about at school, and they’ll enjoy teaching their families what they already know about the subject.
Being active can help you remember some things you learned from biology, health, or physical education, but it’s also just good for the brain and body. If you can get some fresh air while exercising, that’s even better. Staying active will keep you productive and focused on whatever you have going on during the holidays, and it will improve your mood and help you sleep better as well. Getting your heart pumping will bring more oxygen into your brain and muscles, improving overall function and blood flow, which can contribute to a better memory, better information retention, and an overall healthier lifestyle.
SD Virtual School
Whether you’re an online student or a student at a traditional school, study groups can be hugely beneficial. They can help you increase your understanding of concepts, get clarification on certain materials, and review information to help you prepare for a test. All students can participate in or organize a study group, even those who are online students. Online study groups can be just as effective and helpful as in-person study groups, and with some preparation and organization, your online study group can help you increase your understanding and improve your grades.
Each online study group needs a goal. It may be to review information from a specific chapter and ensure everyone is comfortable with all the concepts. It may be to prepare to write a paper on a specific idea. It may be to study for a test and get the best grade possible. Everyone in the group should have a similar goal so that each study session can be focused on achieving it. Individuals should discuss their goals for an online study group before the first meeting to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Choose a Platform
Once you’ve established a group of people for your study group, choose how you’ll actually meet online. Your school may have a platform for you to use, or you may need to set one up outside of your school. Google is a great tool for this, as you can organize Google hangouts, share screens, use Google docs, utilize a virtual whiteboard, and so much more. You may also consider using ThinkBinder, Rcampus, or something else similar.
Every student has different strengths, and it’s important to utilize everyone’s strengths within the group as well as ensure all aspects of the group are organized and taken care of. You should select a leader for the group who can ensure everyone stays on topic, knows when to move on from one concept to the next, and hold members accountable for their roles. You may also wish to have a note-taker, a time-keeper, and so on.
No one likes being part of a group where only a few people pull their weight and the rest just show up without contributing to the group. You should establish expectations for the group right from the start so that anyone who does not wish to uphold them can find another group. These expectations should include things like being prepared for the study sessions, committing to stay on task and focused during meeting times, staying positive and encouraging during study sessions, and more.
Determine How Study Time Is Managed
This may be primarily up to the group leader, but it’s important for the entire group to have a conversation about how the study session time is going to be managed at each meeting. It may change from meeting to meeting, but each group time should include asking members what they want to touch on, a review or presentation of information, and a summarization of what the group went over during the session. Certain meetings may be more focused on one concept than on a comprehensive review, but the group should decide how study time is going to be managed from the start so that everyone is on the same page.
This is a minor detail of creating a study group online, but with any study groups, the number of members should be limited. If a study group gets too big, productivity will lessen and the group may deal with some unforeseen challenges. It’s best to keep online study groups around five to eight members, but you may find that slightly fewer or slightly more work best for you. As others seek to join your group, just be aware of how the group dynamic shifts and be cognizant of the productivity and efficiency that occurs during study time.
Consistency is an important factor in the success of any study group, and it may be even more important in online study groups. Consistency is multi-faceted in these situations. Your group should be consistent in meeting regularly, ensuring that everyone is aware of the meeting schedule and what is going to be covered at each meeting. You should also be consistent in communicating with one another outside of the meeting times so that everyone knows what to expect at the next meeting and is properly prepared for it. Finally, you should be consistent in the way you run the group meetings. This includes not only sticking to the agenda you’ve determined, but also in starting and stopping on time. This consistency will make your group more effective as all group members will know what to expect and will feel as though their time with the study group is respected, leading them to then return that respect toward the group and other group members.
Wrap Up & Summarize
Having a summary at the end of each meeting should absolutely be included in your normal agenda for meetings. One person may have the job of keeping notes of key things you go over, or it may shift from one person to another during each meeting. Either way, someone should be in charge of notating the main ideas and concepts that you review during the group meetings, and the summary should be discussed at the end of each meeting. Additionally, it will serve the group best if that summary is sent in writing to each member at the end of the meetings so that they can easily reference which meetings covered what information.
SD Virtual School
The world is changing drastically at a break-neck pace, and while some things may remain the same for a time, just about everything will have to adapt to the technology-driven era that we now live in. Education is no exception. Online colleges and universities have seen a huge boom in enrollment, and it is estimated that about one-third of all college students take at least one class online at any given time. That is a far cry from the traditional college experience that many of us one had. Even more than that, however, is the increase in online education for younger students, including those in both middle school and high school. While private schools and homeschooling have all been available as alternatives to a traditional public school environment, more and more students and parents are discovering the benefits of an online education and are jumping aboard this fast-growing educational revolution. The more people enroll in online schools, the more those online schools have resources to pour back into their educational models, and the more the students benefit. If you’re considering enrolling your child in an online school or allowing them to take some virtual learning classes, get in touch with San Diego Virtual School to learn more and see for yourself all the amazing benefits that an online education can provide for your child.
By far, the number one benefit of getting an online education is the flexibility it allows. Most families first begin exploring online schools due to the increased flexibility. Students at traditional schools spend a lot of their time at school doing busywork, traveling between classes, socializing at lunch, and waiting for their next class to start. With an online learning environment, students don’t have any of that downtime, meaning they can get an entire day’s worth of lessons done in half the time (or less!). Online students can also work at any time. They typically need to check in with instructors regularly or log on a certain number of times per week, but that can be done at any time, day or night. If your student is a night owl, he or she can start their lessons at midnight rather than at 7 am. If you have a busy family schedule, assignments can be done on the weekends. Many of our students are those with unique schedules, like military families, students who work full-time, or those who are training or competing in athletics, performance arts, modeling, and more. No matter why you need the flexibility, online schooling offers it.
Students will learn hard skills, or job-specific skills, in college or during training for a particular job. Soft skills are things that employees are expected to have mastered already before applying for a job or beginning a career. Unfortunately, many high school and college graduates lack these soft skills that are vital for their future success. Thankfully, however, many students who are virtual learners are able to practice and master these soft skills while in school due to their unique learning opportunities and atmosphere. Soft skills include communication, empathy, self-discipline, adaptability, work ethic, teamwork, flexibility, self-motivation, conflict resolution, time management, problem-solving, critical thinking, and more.
A traditional school environment can be very challenging for some students. There are a lot of distractions and interruptions during learning time, peers can be mean, and even teachers can be discouraging and unsupportive. At San Diego Virtual School, we pride ourselves on our positive learning environments, and so do many other online education programs. Students interact in our virtual classrooms through group chats, discussion boards, and the like, and we are always so proud of how respectful and encouraging they are to one another. Our teachers set the tone for a supportive and positive environment, making all students feel safe in expressing their feelings and contributing to class discussions. If your child has struggled with focus, bullying, or social anxiety in a traditional school, an online education might be perfect for him or her.
More Access to Instructors
Many people believe the myth that online students never interact with their teachers. This is incredibly far from reality. In fact, many of our teachers are available at a variety of hours and they are always willing to offer extra assistance or answer questions for students who seek them out. Students don’t have to wait days or weeks to get to class to have their needs addressed because they can email or message their teachers at any time, helping them right when they need it and encouraging their motivation and progress on assignments.
Better Preparation for the Future
Whether your child goes on to complete an online college education or not, online learning will prepare them for the future better than any other educational environment. Not only will they have mastered the soft skills necessary for them to be a successful adult, but they will also understand the importance of personal responsibility and independence. Those two things are completely vital for high school graduates to have success in anything they take on after high school, including a job, a college education, or a training or certification program of any kind.
An online education offers countless benefits to students, no matter their age, grade level, or educational experience. While middle school students may need a little more assistance navigating their online learning environment at first, independence and self-discipline are skills they will master in a short time, followed by all the other important soft skills that young people need. To learn more about enrolling your child at SDVS and getting the best online education available for him or her, contact us today.
SD Virtual School
Bullying in any form is awful. It’s unacceptable behavior regardless of the bully’s age, and it can occur in a number of different ways. It can have devastating effects on children and teens, so it’s incredibly important that it is handled appropriately and quickly. Bullying used to be something that only happened in face-to-face situations, such as on the bus, at school, at an afterschool hangout, and the like. Nowadays, online bullying has become rampant among children and teens, although other forms of bullying are still present. Let’s look specifically at online bullying, its effects, why it needs to be addressed, and how to deal with it if it affects you or someone you know.
What Is Online Bullying?
Online bullying is any form of harassment, threatening, or humiliation done via digital technology. This can include text messages or instant messages, emails, or anything done on social media. Online bullying can seem minor, such as one child texting another child mean things, or it can seem as extreme and major as a group of kids creating an entire social media profile to make fun of a classmate. No matter the level to which the online bullying is taking place, it can be very challenging for students to deal with and should never be ignored. It’s important to note that cyberbullying can be done by one person or several, and the identity of the bully may not always be known. Online bullies may make physical threats, inappropriate and sexual comments or suggestions, spread lies or rumors, reveal secrets, or exclude individuals from certain things. Because online bullying is done via the internet, students may feel at risk anywhere because their attackers can reach them anywhere they have an internet connection. This means that every safe place they’ve known no longer feels safe.
Effects of Online Bullying
The effects of online bullying are more far-reaching than most people realize. Even if it’s just a one-on-one situation and the entire school isn’t involved, victims of online bullying can experience significant distress, fear, sadness, and more. The most common feelings associated with being a victim of online bullying include feeling hurt, angry, scared, isolated, helpless, hopeless, and anxious. Some children will experience depression or anxiety due to online bullying, and some children have even become suicidal because of the relentlessness of an online bully. Students who are bullied are more likely to drop out of school or skip school, see their grades suffer, and withdraw from the things and people they once enjoyed. They will likely experience physical health concerns, including sleeplessness, more frequent sickness, and a number of mental health issues, such as depression, low self-esteem, and even a form of PTSD.
While regular bullying is absolutely hard and awful, cyberbullying may be even worse for a number of reasons. First, it can happen anywhere. It’s not specific to just happening at school, and it can leave children feeling like there is no escape from it no matter where they go. Second, online bullying is often done anonymously, which can make kids feel paranoid, untrusting, and more threatened. Cyberbullies often get bolder when they think they won’t be caught or found out, which can make them go to more extremes and be even meaner. Third, since the bullying isn’t done in person, the bully often doesn’t see the immediate reaction of the victim, which can be unsatisfying for them, so they may push things too far for the sake of getting a reaction and feeling fulfilled in their bullying. And finally, the lies, threats, and humiliation associated with online bullying can be something that hundreds or thousands of people see. It’s not just about a few kids in the hallway overhearing someone making fun of a peer anymore. People on the internet are ruthless and students know how to quickly spread their posts to far-reaching avenues to get the most exposure and make the most impact on their victims.
Why It Needs to Be Taken Seriously
A lot of people may say that “kids will be kids” and while that is true, kids need accountability for the things they say and do, and that includes instances of online bullying. Children and teens have committed suicide in response to cyberbullying and although that is an extreme, no child should be made to feel inferior or less than simply because another student wants to harass them on the internet. Kids need to learn how to interact with others appropriately and respectfully, both online and in person, and it is the responsibility of the adults in their lives to do so.
At the same time, children and teens should learn how to handle being bullied in an online setting and respond as well as they can. The best thing to do is not respond to the cyberbully attack and tell a trusted adult about it immediately. Students should remember who they are and stand firm in that and in what they believe, and they should be encouraged to ignore what a bully says to them as best as they can. The stronger the mental fortitude of our children, the less power cyberbullies will have and the more the problem will begin to dissipate.
If you are an adult that learns about online bullying, you should speak to the parties involved and get as much information as possible. Speak to other adults involved in the kids’ lives and come up with a plan to handle the situation before it gets worse. Monitoring technological devices and social media accounts that your children have is also a great way to stay on top of what they are sending and receiving online.
What to Do If You or Someone You Know Is a Victim of Online Bullying
If you are involved in bullying, whether online or face-to-face and whether as a victim or as a bully, you need to talk to someone about it. Victims should not seek revenge or even respond to their attackers as that will likely fuel them to continue. Report whatever you can to the police, the internet service provider of particular websites being used, and any other adults or authority figures that need to know. If you are a student at San Diego Virtual School, talk to one of your teachers or a school counselor or administrator about the issue. You can get in contact with the school via their contact form, through email, or by calling. It’s best to have proof of the cyberbully attacks for your records, but victims should avoid re-reading the comments. If you are struggling due to online bullying, talk to someone right away about the bullying and the feelings that you’re having about it.
SD Virtual School
Food sorting. Group of volunteers packing donation for homeless into paper bags, working in office, copy space. Most students are focused on school, sports, and socializing, and there is nothing wrong with that. But if you or your students are looking for something more meaningful and productive to do on the weekends or with free time, volunteering is a great idea. There are countless volunteer opportunities for students, and each option comes with a slew of benefits and advantages both for the students and others involved. Take a look at the primary benefits that all volunteer opportunities for students will offer, several ways for students to get involved in their communities, and how to find volunteer opportunities in your area.
Benefits of Participating in Volunteer Opportunities for Students
The best part about students volunteering is that they get to contribute to their community. Whether they’re serving food at a homeless shelter, building homes in a local neighborhood, or spending time with the elderly at a nearby retirement home, it feels good to give back. The community will benefit from having more people loved on and cared for, and students will experience a sense of accomplishment, significance, and joy when they serve others. Additionally, students can gain important skills while volunteering. This might be physical skills like learning how to lay a roof or fix a car, or it may be interpersonal skills like compassion, empathy, and understanding. Students can often take on leadership roles in their volunteer position, allowing them the opportunity to help others and grow as a leader. Volunteer opportunities for students often give them access to a wide network of individuals in their community, some of which may be important individuals within a particular industry or in the community itself. It always helps to have connections, especially for students looking to go into certain fields, and volunteering alongside CEOs and other executives will only benefit the student. Volunteering also looks great on applications, both those for college and jobs. Admissions boards and employers like to see that students care about others and are willing and able to serve others and put their community before their own needs. Another big benefit of students volunteering is the difference it makes in the community. It can build awareness of issues in an area, and it can bring about radical change to a neighborhood or city when people help others and then bring the needs to the rest of their community.
5 Ways for Students to Get Involved in the Community
Help Other Kids
Whether you volunteer at a camp, coach a sports team, or tutor younger students, helping other kids is a great way for students to get involved in the community. You may have had an older student or adult assist you at a pivotal time in your life and know that it meant a lot—you can be that person to a younger child! Use your skills, interests, and hobbies and give back to the community by serving other kids. Just like you, kids of all ages are our future, so the more we pour into them when they’re young, the more our community will benefit in the future.
Take Care of Animals
If you love animals, there are plenty of ways for students to get involved in the community by serving animals. Volunteer at a local animal shelter, foster pets, or become an advocate for no-kill shelters. You may be able to work with a national park or wildlife rescue organization, or you may be able to secure a volunteer opportunity with a veterinarian. Especially if you’re interested in working with animals in a future career, getting involved with animals as a student is a great way to volunteer.
Clean up the Environment
If you are passionate about the environment, get involved in an organization that feels the same. You can start a highway cleanup crew, join an advocacy group for reducing emissions, volunteer with a property conservation organization, or find a group that supports marine wildlife protection. There are countless volunteer opportunities for students when it comes to the environment, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one near you.
Prepare or Serve Food
Homeless shelters, soup kitchens, food pantries and more are constantly looking for volunteers. Maybe you have a passion for cooking, maybe you think you’d be great at organizing a giant pantry full of food, or maybe you just want to meet the basic needs of those in your community. Several places will take on student volunteers to prepare, package, collect, and serve food, and this is a great way to meet a tangible need of individuals in your area.
Love on the Elderly
Retirement homes are full of people who get very few visitors, and they are always looking for volunteers to come spend time with their residents. Go play a musical set list, join in on bingo night, or simply sit and read with a senior citizen who doesn’t have a lot of visitors. Students may be surprised at what they can learn from the elderly and how their lives can be radically impacted by spending time with an older generation.
How to Find Volunteer Opportunities for Students Near You
If you’re searching for ways for students to get involved in the community, it helps to narrow down your search to what you’d like to do. If you’re not certain, doing a general search can give you some ideas and a starting place to delve deeper into specific organizations and ways to serve. Here are a handful of places for you to start looking for volunteer opportunities for students:
- United Way
- Red Cross
- Habitat for Humanity
- Local Libraries
- Food Pantries
- Animal Shelters
- Retirement Homes
- Girl/Boy Scouts
- Foster Programs
- Local Hospitals
Students can make a big difference in their communities and they will enjoy many benefits of volunteering in their area. Start with this list to get some ideas of how and where you would like to serve, and we’re confident you’ll enjoy your experience and gain a great deal from it, in addition to imparting change in your city.
SD Virtual School
Happy young woman using laptop computer sitting on couch, smiling teen shopping online, banking in internet, freelance and work from home, running e-business, remote distant working, writing web blog. Gone are the days when simply getting a college degree secured a good job. In times past, any college degree in any field was enough to get you an entry-level position, if not higher, at a good company that offered plenty of room for growth and the opportunity to work your way up the ladder. Nowadays, post-graduate unemployment is at an all-time high, and college grads are struggling to get even the lowest positions in a company that specializes in what they majored in. How can you avoid that? How can you prepare yourself for the best career possible and increase your future job prospects? One way is through the electives you take in both high school and college. Sure, majoring in a field that has a lot of jobs is a great start, but not everyone is suited for a career in the medical field or the world of science and technology. So even if you’re choosing to major in something that’s not considered high-demand in the job market, you can still boost your future job prospects by the elective courses you take before graduation. Here are a few tips on choosing the right electives, along with some suggestions of what electives to register for next semester.
Think Big Picture
According to a study done by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, only about a fourth of college graduates have a job related to their field of study in college. That means that even if you have your heart set on being an art historian and study art history for four years during college, you’re more likely to end up in a completely different field. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t pick a major that lines up with your interests and future goals and plans, but you need to think more about the big picture when you’re registering for classes. You should, of course, take the courses that are required for your major, but consider other alternative career paths as well. Maybe you don’t become an art historian but can land a job as a museum manager. You may need some management classes, business classes, and finance classes to improve your odds of getting that job. Or maybe you can get your foot in the door at an art museum by writing grant proposals on behalf of the museum or working in the museum’s IT department. You need some specific skills to do each of these jobs, and while they aren’t directly related to your specific career goals, they could get you in the door at a place you’d like to work.
Consider Your Skills, Not Just Your Interests
You may be incredibly passionate about art history, but you may also have a natural ability to understand complex mathematics. Or you may be thrilled about the idea of working with computers when you graduate, but you also have a knack for writing. When you’re choosing electives, be sure to think about what your natural skillset includes rather than just simply what interests you. We know you spent years taking classes that you didn’t have a say in, and the freedom to select your own classes in high school and college may give you a whole new level of excitement, but you can’t and shouldn’t ignore what you’re naturally good at either. It never hurts to fine-tune some natural abilities and increase your knowledge base of something you’re already gifted in, especially when it comes to future career prospects.
Push Yourself Beyond Comfort Zones
In the opposite way, don’t be afraid to take some classes that push you outside your comfort zones. If you’re not a “math person,” you may shy away from anything math-related, like economics, finance, statistics, and engineering. But you may be shocked to find that something outside your “comfort zone” is actually really enjoyable and you may discover a hidden talent or inclination toward a particular subject that you didn’t know existed. Particularly when it comes to electives classes, you should really take your time to explore a variety of courses to see what you may enjoy and what you may be good at so that you cover all your bases and get a good well-rounded education.
What Electives Should I Take?
Now that you understand the importance of varying your electives, let’s talk about some specific classes that you should take. Some of your electives will depend on your major, while others are just good choices for anyone. If you are a math or science major, it may be important for you to focus on electives that help you with soft skills and non-mathematical knowledge, such as psychology, communications, and writing. If you’re majoring in something more arts-focused, like English, art, education, and so on, you will benefit from the more technical electives, like statistics, engineering, and computer technology. All students should consider taking courses that will benefit them as a business person (such as economics, finance, business, management, and financial planning), a communicator (classes like writing, communications, psychology), and a tech-savvy individual (courses like computer technology, computer programming, and statistics).
While your degree is going to be specific, your education as a whole should be as well-rounded as possible. The goal is to get a leg up on other prospective employees and show your future boss that you will offer more to the company than someone else. Your well-rounded educational background will also show that you are not just a one-trick pony but that you can excel in a variety of areas and learn a variety of different skills.
SD Virtual School
Serious experienced female coach makes records in notepad, focused at screen of laptop computer, has long red hair, wears transparent glasses, watches webinar online. Business and job concept. Getting an education online has a great deal of benefits associated with it. Whether you’re planning to complete middle school online, high school online, or a college education online, you are sure to experience a number of advantages that traditional students will miss out on. However, even with all the benefits and perks of online learning, there are a number of misconceptions about online learning that make some people hesitant or skeptical to even consider it. Let’s take a look at six common misconceptions about online learning and explore the actual truth behind the misconception.
Misconception #1: Online Learning Is Easier Than Traditional Schooling
This is a misconception that needs to be handled promptly so that students don’t enroll in online school with misguided ideas about what the experience will be like. Many traditional students think that online classes are easier, shorter, and less involved than regular classes, but that simply isn’t the case. Online classes cover the same information as traditional classes, and they have similar expectations and standards for all students. While the physical time spent on an online class may be shorter (although it may not be), that doesn’t mean the coursework is easier or the material is simpler. The standards for each class are the same for every state and school district, whether the courses are taken online or in a traditional educational setting.
Misconception #2: You Have No Peer Interaction with Online Classes
Most people think of online learning as completed isolated time sitting in front of a computer with absolutely zero human interaction. However, online learning environments are actually very stringent about the requirements they set on students for peer interaction. Not only do online students post discussions, respond to others’ comments and questions in writing, and have real-time discussions with peers during class time, but they also take part in group work and collaborative activities quite often. Additionally, many virtual learners choose to participate in extracurricular activities, whether through their school or with local organizations, so that they are regularly interacting with peers and others during the school week.
Misconception #3: You Have to Be a Technological Genius to Take Online Classes
It’s true that you need basic tech skills to succeed in an online class or to complete your entire education online, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a technological genius or even be tech-savvy. You’ll need to know how to connect to the internet, how to navigate a web browser, and how to use basic word processors, plus you will need to learn how to use the software program that the online school uses. Most young people are tech-savvy enough to begin online schooling without much preparation, but even the lesser technologically advanced individuals can be ready for online classes pretty quickly by mastering only a few key skills.
Misconception #4: Online Degrees Aren’t Accredited or Transferable
While some online schools are not accredited, that is not something you have to worry about if you enroll at San Diego Virtual School. Our entire program is fully accredited both nationally and regionally, and our students get real high school diplomas upon graduation. Additionally, if at any time one of our students chooses to transfer to a traditional school in the area, their classes will transfer easily and they won’t lose credits. It was once a mindset that online schools were “less than” in terms of legitimacy and challenging curriculum, but those days are long gone. Especially since SDVS is fully accredited, our students never have a hard time enrolling in excellent colleges or landing their dream jobs after graduation.
Misconception #5: There Is No Timeline or Time Limit for Completion of Courses
It’s true that online students can make their own schedules and work at their own pace. However, our online courses do have deadlines, just like any school does, and there is a time limit for completion of classes. This is to ensure students are kept on track with graduating at a certain time and don’t spend unnecessary amounts of time enrolled in classes when they should be moving on to the next course. We fully support scheduling flexibility and allowing students to work ahead or slightly slower than the standard pace, if needed, but assignments, tests, projects, and more all have deadlines that students are expected to abide by. Additionally, courses are done in semesters and students are expected to follow due dates and make classwork submissions in a timely manner.
Misconception #6: No One-on-One Instruction Takes Place in Online Learning Environments
A lot of people think that online learning is all about self-directed study and that no actual one-on-one instruction takes place at an online school. While we do believe in and encourage personal responsibility, independence, and self-motivation amongst our students, our instructors are incredibly engaged with the students throughout the entirety of every semester. Our teachers lead discussions, present lectures on new information, and work with the students to understand the material being presented. Additionally, if students need additional help or have questions, our teachers are very accessible and easy to reach. One of the best parts of SDVS is our staff, and our students and their parents all speak highly of how involved and helpful our teachers are.
If you have any other ideas about online school and you’re uncertain of their validity, please contact us at San Diego Virtual School. If you have any other questions about online schooling, the virtual classroom environment, SDVS’s accreditation, or anything else related to online learning, please contact SDVS today. We would love to talk with you to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have, as well as discuss your ideas and plans for an online education.
SD Virtual School
Getting your degree online, whether in high school or college, offers a number of advantages that traditional students simply don’t get. You enjoy the flexibility of making your own schedule, you get to work at your own pace, and you also acquire and master a number of soft skills, like personal responsibility, self-discipline, and time management. However, you may feel like you’re at a disadvantage when it comes to securing a job after school due to your online education. The good news is that simply isn’t true, provided that you take the necessary steps to prepare yourself for life after school. Having a solid resume is important for anyone, but it is even more vital for online students since some employers may view virtual students a little differently than traditional students. Thankfully, you can create an incredible resume that stands out in the best ways, and you can use your online education to your advantage to prove how well-rounded you are, how much of an asset you’ll be to any company, and how qualified and prepared you are to take on a new career. Here are some top tips from industry experts on how to build a well-rounded resume as an online student.
Land an Internship
Whether you’re in high school or college, an internship is only going to benefit you. Not only will it teach you valuable skills related to a job or industry you hope to work in, but it will also give you some connections in certain fields that could help you get your foot in the door. Caleb Backe, Certified Life Coach and Business Consultant, says this about creating a well-rounded resume: “Finding an internship or volunteer position related to your field of study is always a plus. The key is to network as much as you can so that you have plenty of material for your resume.” Basically, the more you learn and the more you do while in school, the more you’ll have to brag about on your resume.
Get Volunteer Experience
If you can’t get an internship for some reason, get some volunteer experience. Find an organization that means a lot to you or one that relates to the field you hope to be in one day, and do anything they’ll allow you to do. Even if you can’t find something that’s related to your chosen industry, just showing a potential employee that you care about others and are willing to volunteer some of your time is going to benefit you. Being a volunteer will also help with networking and if you can make strides within a particular organization, that will help improve your resume as well.
Have a Job
Maybe an internship isn’t feasible and you simply don’t have enough time to volunteer. If that’s the case but you still want to build your resume, you can get a job. Ideally, the job would be something that is related to what you want to do after graduation, but that’s not an absolute requirement. Caleb Backe says, “Even if you opt to find a job that’s not related but pays the bills, the responsibilities and skills required can be reflected in an advantageous manner in your resume if you write them the right way.” All skills you acquire, no matter how simple or complex, can be translated into meaningful abilities that apply within various fields. Even a job at a fast food restaurant or a grocery store can teach you important skills like punctuality, personal responsibility, respect for authority, a good work ethic, and more.
Take on Extracurricular Activities
Most students tend to participate in extracurricular activities, and the key to creating a well-rounded resume is selecting the right ones. If you play a sport or are extremely passionate about a club or activity, getting involved in it during school is a great use of your time. If you can make it into a leadership role in any group, that’s even better. Business coach Stacy Caprio says students should “try to find actual outside activities to participate in so your resume includes more than simply sat in front of a computer to get a degree. It will be helpful to do volunteer activities, try to find some community leadership activities, and join outside speech clubs or other events you’re interested in. This will show you’re well-rounded and more than just someone who can learn in front of a computer.”
Do Your Research
When you’re applying for a specific position, or even if you’re preparing for an interview, you need to make sure you do your research. You may have a general resume that you use for all jobs you’re applying for, but you can tailor each resume to the specific company and job to make yourself stand out more. The more well-rounded and well-read you appear, the better off you’ll be. Do your research about what works on resumes and what doesn’t, and do your research on the company that you’re applying to work for. BP Greycastle of Name Colorology Group says, “The best way to build and stand out and succeed in a resume or interview is by knowing [about] the person … that will be interviewing you or reading your resume.”
Consult Resume Experts
If you’ve done all the legwork of being well-rounded but you need a little assistance in putting together the perfect resume, you may consider hiring experts to help you. Various companies and individuals will craft an incredible resume for you or will look over what you’ve already done and help you make improvements. A large part of building a well-rounded resume is not only having the experiences but also having the right words to make yourself come across the way you desire. Alexandra Nima from The Sophisticated Geek says that career hacking courses “help anyone, in any situation, to structure and present their skills and past work experience in a way that makes any recruiter pay attention.”