Q:

Could you please give me some details about the plusses and minuses of a high-school student taking online courses? My son is interested in taking several. -- Online Learner

A:

The courses that several colleges are offering online can be very rigorous and challenging, and provide offerings frequently not available at the local high school. These can be good choices as well as the online programs offered by more than 20 states. You should be aware that there is an avalanche of Web sites with online offerings that may or may not have merit. There is concern about the caliber of instruction in some of these virtual schools. Your son must be careful to choose courses that will be accepted by his school as credit toward graduation, unless he is doing them solely for enrichment purposes.

Another drawback of taking online courses is that many colleges have not yet developed policies relating to which online courses will be accepted on incoming transcripts for admission. Others have a stated policy. Looking at the policies of colleges your son might attend also needs to be done.