May 25, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

While online studies have serious traction in the higher education market, this mode of study may not automatically come to mind when people think of high school. However, the reality is that not only do online high school degrees exist, but they’re also a smart pathway to reaching your goals -- particularly if your goals include attending college and/or working in the US. 

Here’s a closer look at why online high school degrees are an appealing option for globally minded international students, along with one particularly exciting option putting US degrees within reach of students from all over the world. 

Why US Degrees Dominate

The US, which recently earned a spot on US News & World Report’s roundup of the “Top Five Countries for Education,” is widely hailed as having one of the world’s best education systems. The US is also home to an astounding majority of the “Best Global Universities.”  In fact, the country llays claim to eight out of the top 10 places based on 13 indicators measuring factors including academic research performance and global and regional reputations. 

Given the lofty status of US universities, it’s hardly a surprise that so many of the world’s best and brightest students aspire to receive their degrees from them. It also follows that the competition is fierce for these coveted degrees from higher education institutions which may boast admissions rates as low as four percent. 

While this can be disheartening news for international students, they can adopt several strategies increasing their changes. One promising tactic? Procuring a high school degree. Says Paul Zagnoni, President of the US’s Brighton College Virtual Higher School: “A US high school diploma provides easier entry and acceptance into a US university. Transfer of credits/classes/degree becomes a non-issue.”

Think you can get away with a GED, meanwhile? Think again. While many people think of the GED as a substitute for a high school diploma, experts say this is not the case. For starters, not all four-year colleges welcome applications from GED holders. And even if they do, there is still the matter of perception: Not only do degrees speak to proven academic achievement, but also to more positive behaviors, such as commitment and follow-through. 

Having a GED on your transcript can even return to haunt you on the job market. Proposes NPR, “The latest research, however, shows that people with GEDs are, in fact, no better off than dropouts when it comes to their chances of getting a good job.” Adds Dropping Out author Russell Rumberger, “If you look at employer surveys, the things that employers generally most look for or think are important, especially at lower-end jobs, are the things like perseverance and tenacity, and those kinds of qualities that are not measured by the GED….The GED is better than no credential for a dropout, but it’s not as good as a diploma. It doesn’t replace a diploma, in terms of labor market outcomes.” 

The takeaway? A US high school diploma may matter much more than you think it does. This doesn’t just apply to traditional learners, but to non-traditional learners, as well. Even if you dropped out of high school and/or have spent time in the workforce, it’s never too late to start reaping the rewards of a high school diploma. 

Introducing Brighton College Virtual High School

We’ve established that having a degree from a US high school comes with big benefits. However, you may be thinking to yourself that this is easier said than done. After all, it’s not like picking up and moving to the US is an option for most international high schoolers. Which is what makes Brighton College Virtual High School (BCVHS) such an outstanding opportunity. 

Offering accredited online programs with an NCAA-approved curriculum for students looking to gain access to all of the advantages of an American education, BCVHS delivers a world-class education -- wherever you are in the world.  It also comes with all of the benefits of online learning, including flexibility, affordability, and customizability, thereby making it even easier for students to achieve their goals. 

Not only that, but BCVHS offers other pathways beyond the high school diploma, with tracks including combined high school diploma and career and technical education (CTE) and combined high school diploma and associate degree programs. 

If you’re concerned that lack of English proficiency will hold you back, meanwhile, Brighton College Virtual High School may be exactly the solution you’re looking for. Explains Paul Zagnoni, President of Brighton, “BCVHS has one of the best online ESL programs available and can help them achieve the TOEFL score required to be accepted into a US university.”

US degrees are regarded all over the globe as an educational gold standard, but just because they’re elite doesn’t mean they’re impossible to procure. In fact, thanks to BCVHS’s online US degree programs, acquiring these credentials is easier than ever. Continues Zagnoni of the BCVHS option, “Students should have internet access and a computer…it’s that simple!”

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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