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10 Reasons Online High School Students Should Play Sports

In June, Juliana W. Miner of The Washington Post reported that 70 percent of children quit playing sports by the age of 13 because they’re not having fun anymore. This is a real shame! Given the fact that one in five children between the ages of six and 19 are, according to the Center for Disease Control, obese, and one in three children are overweight, it could be argued that athletics are more important for young people than ever — especially as they enter the crucial years before adulthood. The habits formed in these years can shape the rest of their lives.

Physical fitness is definitely one reason why high school students should play sports, but not the only reason. When your child is an online high school student, there are several important aspects of athletic participation that go beyond the simple need for 60 minutes of vigorous activity each day. Sports offer important opportunities and life lessons that the classroom — traditional or digital — just cannot provide.

Make no mistake: we are not suggesting that every teenager should be gunning for a full basketball scholarship to Duke University or setting their hopes on a spot on the U.S. gymnastic team. Rather, simple involvement in sports has value because of the doors that open to other areas of development. Athletic participation offers more to young people than an accurate jump shot (although that’s a nice skill to have, too).

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that the online high school students enjoy when they step away from the laptop and onto the playing field.

The Big 10: Our favorite reasons why online high school students should play sports

  1. Sports teach kids how to win. Pro golfer Jack Nicklaus once said that youngsters need to learn how to win. Winners, Nicklaus explained, need to learn how respond to pressure. They need to make mistakes so they could learn not to make them again. They must learn how to compartmentalize those mistakes and work around them. Winners understand that every competition — like every day of life — has a unique rhythm and pace. Understand the flow, avoid catastrophic errors and keep moving towards your goal! These lessons translate well on the golf course, the classroom, the workplace and almost any other aspect of life.
  1. Sports teach kids how to lose. “Trying to make everything go perfectly for your kids is exhausting,” writes Sharon Martin, LCSW, of the Happily Imperfect blog. “But worse, you’re not doing them any favors by helping them avoid mistakes.”

    One of the healthiest places to make a mistake is on the field of play. The agony of defeat can be experienced during an athletic competition, analyzed and then left behind. Ultimately, the score of a high school soccer game or a Babe Ruth League baseball game should have little impact on a youngster’s life (parents: this is an important lesson for you, too), but the takeaways from a loss — what did I do wrong? How can our team improve? How could I have prepared differently? — are inherently valuable.

  1. Sports teach kids the importance of competition. Competition should be a joy, a puzzle to be solved, and that energy can carry over to every part of life.

    “There is a misconception that competition is bad; that self-esteem will be affected if a child loses. BUT to lose, is not to be a Loser,” the A&C Field Hockey Academy in Mississauga, Ontario, explains. “If a child can experience the thrill of winning and the disappointment of losing early in life through competitive sports, they will be well equipped for the reality of life. Competition provides motivation to achieve a goal; to demonstrate determination, creativity and perseverance to overcome challenges; and to understand that hard work and commitment leads to a greater chance of success.” Wise words.

  1. Sports give kids a chance to be part of a team. Do you think that sharing ideas, increasing efficiency, developing strengths and negotiating complicated relationships will be important to your child’s future success? Team sports offer microcosms of situations that students find in everyday life. Sports provide opportunities to enjoy the camaraderie (and work through the challenges) that come from being in close quarters with one’s peers for extended periods of time.
  1. Sports offer kids a chance to get coached. Your child may be a natural athlete, but she’s not going to improve by simply winging it on her own. Her ability to hone her skills will depend on the mentoring she receives from the coaches in her life.

    “Coaching is an interactive process that helps another person learn something, or take performance to the next level,” notes the American Management Association. The sooner your child learns how to accept — and participate — in the process of being coached, by athletic instructors, teachers, mentors or managers, the faster she’ll mature and grow.

  1. Sports provide physical fitness. Sure, we all know that physical activity is good for our kids, right? Do you realize, however, just how important that it is to their long-term health and wellness?

“There is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence on the positive effects of sport and physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle,”, a website operated by the Swiss Academy for Development, reports. “The positive, direct effects of engaging in regular physical activity are particularly apparent in the prevention of several chronic diseases, including: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression and osteoporosis.”

No one wants to see their child suffer. Sometimes, that’s a reason to allow them to avoid physical activity. Sports can be hard work, losing isn’t much fun and getting into game shape may involve strenuous conditioning which, again, is not as entertaining as a few hours of video games. The truth, however, is that allowing your children to lose their physical fitness sets them up for very unpleasant problems for the rest of their lives.

  1. Sports offer a great chance to socialize. Online high school students need to embrace opportunities to spend time with their peers. Team activities provide regular, regimented interaction with other young people. Practices and games offer a chance for kids to talk, exercise, goof around and bond as a team — with the added bonus of adult supervision and guidance.
  1. Sports give kids a chance to travel. We’re not even referencing major road trips to other areas around the country or overseas. Sometimes, it can be a thrill for a young person just to get out of their hometown. As a young person growing up in small-town Western New York, I remember the thrill of playing a football game in Bradner Stadium in Olean, N.Y. — I didn’t know at the time that Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers had played there years earlier, or that the stadium had existed since 1922. All I knew was that I had a chance to travel a few hours to play in a stadium that, to my teenage eyes, looked and felt like the Rose Bowl. It was a thrill I remember to this day.
  1. Sports teach kids how to play by the rules. Rules can be frustrating, limiting, infuriating — especially when you believe that an official is interpreting them incorrectly — but they are the foundation of sports and society. Learning to compete with as a sportsman within the rules of a game is a great way for a young person to learn the importance of fair play, ethical behavior and self-control.
  1. Sports give your kids time to hang out with you. Teenagers are sometimes mortified to spend time with their parents. Sports, however, give you a chance to get your child and her peers together in your car as you drive them to a game; opportunities to take them to dinner after a tough competition; and even time to show them some of your own moves on the practice field. Who knows? Maybe your children will finally realize how cool you really are.

Want a more flexible educational opportunity for your child?

George Washington University Online High School provides both an elite education and real flexibility for young people who want to prepare for a successful future while embracing their interests today. If you think that online education is right for your family, visit GWUOHS online today.


4 Things to Remember When You Read Online High School Reviews

Once you’ve decided to place your child in an online school, choosing the one that will be the best fit can be complicated.

Researching reviews of online schools is a great place to start, but how do you know that you’re getting an accurate picture of how other parents and students feel about the school?

If others have expressed dissatisfaction with the experience the school provides, does that mean that you and your student will also be unsatisfied with the school?

We spoke with George Washington University Online High School Head of School Alison Mistretta, who shared four tips that parents and students should remember as they are reading reviews for online schools.

  1. There are valid concerns associated with many online high schools.

According to Mistretta, there are several concerns that tend to crop up in online reviews, including:

  • Lack of access to teachers and faculty – Does working remotely make it difficult for students to contact their teachers when necessary?
  • Individual student attention – Do students receive the one-on-one attention they need for success?
  • Social interaction – Can students connect with fellow classmates?

GWUOHS has worked hard to create an environment in which all of these concerns are addressed.

“We have developed procedures and processes, which guarantee that teachers are regularly available to students,” Ms. Mistretta says. “Our instructors are consistently accessible by phone, Skype and during Help-Desk hours, which students can visit for individualized instruction. This is in addition to the weekly live ClassConnect sessions that teachers conduct with their students, during which supplemental lessons are taught by the instructors.”

In addition to ensuring that students receive the one-on-one instruction that they need, GWUOHS provides social opportunities for students, helping students develop leadership and teamwork skills while enjoying the opportunity to connect with their peers.

“Students have the ability to work together, whether it is during group activities or discussions,” Ms. Mistretta notes.  “We have a wide array of extracurricular activities and clubs that students can participate in with their peers – we have seen amazing relationships and bonds built when students collaborate during these activities.”

  1. You Must Learn to Read Between the Lines

It’s important to remember that even the best online high schools aren’t going to be ideal for every student. You will find negative reviews; in fact, if you only find positive reviews that sound like sales pitches for the school of your choice, that should raise a red flag.

If only positive reviews are available, then it’s time to do a little more digging.

“It is imperative to do the research – Is the school accredited, and, if so, by which accrediting institutions?” she asks. “What are the post-secondary success rates of the school’s students? What extracurricular activities does the school offer? Does the school offer college/career services?”

If you can’t find answers, keep looking.

  1. Find trusted sources of reference

Online high schools are gaining in popularity; even so, most parents still choose the traditional route of brick and mortar schooling for their children. This can make it challenging to find a word-of-mouth equivalent that will help you find the school that will best fit the needs of your child and your family. Don’t be afraid to ask the school you’re researching for references.

“At GWUOHS, we are always open to speaking with potential families to discuss any questions or concerns they may have regarding enrollment at our school,” Ms. Mistretta says. “We also have put prospective families in touch with our current families, so they can talk through their experience in our learning environment.”

  1. Identify (and stick to) your criteria when school shopping

Ultimately, you want to find an online high school that will accommodate the unique needs and strengths of your child. Once again, you will find negative online reviews, but the complaints cited may not be relevant to your student.

“It is important for parents to know specifically what they want for their child in an online school,” Ms. Mistretta concludes. “This makes for a much more effective search when deciphering through all of the online schools that are available.”

Looking for one of the best online high schools?
George Washington University Online High School is an elite online institution that can prepare your child for the most rigorous colleges and universities in the United States. Want to learn more? Visit us online today.


What Do The Most Rigorous Colleges In The U.S. Expect From Prospective Students?


The job market continues to evolve by leaps and bounds. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ December 2016 jobs report, employment in the financial world, education and health and professional and business services continue to rise at an aggressive pace. These industries require innovative thinkers, strong leaders and skilled workers — and those skills are honed by an outstanding education.

A college degree and a social network are vital to success in the workplace, which is why thousands of students apply to for the nation’s most elite schools each year. The fierce competition for spots in the freshmen classes of these universities and colleges, however, means that many talented, capable students will have to pursue their education elsewhere.
Standing Out From the Pack

While there is no magic formula to guarantee admission to your dream school, there are a few steps that you can take to make your application stand out. We took a look at the admissions requirements of five of the institutions that appeared on’s list of 2017 Colleges with the Best Academics in America to glean some clues for grabbing the attention of admissions counselors.

Your Grades Matter; Your Classes Matter More

It’s no secret that grades matter; in fact, without a high g.p.a and equally impressive SAT or ACT scores, you may not even be considered for many of the nation’s top universities and colleges.

But here’s the kicker: a perfect g.p.a doesn’t look quite so impressive if the classes that you’ve taken are the bare minimum needed for graduation. The most rigorous schools want to see that you’ve taken challenging classes, preferably at the college level.

For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has an acceptance rate of 8 percent, recommends that prospective applicants have taken, at a minimum:

  • One year each of physics, chemistry and biology
  • Two years of a foreign language
  • Four years of English
  • Two years of history or social studies
  • Math through calculus

In other words, they want to see students who are serious about their education.

Perhaps you’re fortunate enough to live in a large, thriving city with a wide array of public and private schooling options that offer robust academic programming. If you live in a smaller town, or the high school that you’re attending just doesn’t offer the classes that you need, consider other options like online schools or supplement your education with local college extension or summer programs.

Grades are important, but an A- in a challenging college-level class may look better than an A+ in an easier, high school course.

Brush Up on Your Writing Skills

Some students shy away from essay questions, or treat their college entrance essay like a six-week class in digging ditches. Why? Because writing can be difficult. Writing requires more than filling in a bubble; writing requires that you dig down deep and express your opinions and beliefs in logical, cogent and entertaining ways. That’s really hard!

Today’s most rigorous schools want to see not only what you know, but how you think. For example, Yale University, a prestigious school with a 7 percent acceptance rate, asks that their applicants write two essays. This allows the admissions counselors to get a sense of who the applicant is, and how they will contribute to the student body. Clearly, it’s important that you get comfortable with essay questions.

Know Your Deadlines

Different schools want different things at different times, and missing a deadline can easily derail your entire plan. Stanford, which has an undergraduate acceptance rate of 5 percent, asks for letters of recommendation from 11th and 12th grade teachers. The University of Chicago requires mid-year reports from the guidance counselors of prospective students. Other schools have their own specific deadlines for SAT and ACT scores submissions. Research your school and make sure that you submit the necessary letters, reports and test scores at the right times.

Where Do You Shine?

The most rigorous colleges are looking for unique individuals who will contribute to the culture of their institution.

Harvard, for example, places high value on creativity. The Harvard Admissions website quotes former Faculty Standing Committee on Admissions member Helen Vendler, who wrote that “We are eager to harbor the next Homer, the next Kant, or the next Dickinson. There is no reason why we shouldn’t expect such a student to spend his or her university years with us.” The bar is set high!

Yale’s admissions office operates in a similar vein. With each application, Yale’s admissions officers consider whether that individual will make the most of the university’s resources, and what they will contribute to the Yale community during both their years in school, and after.

Look for ways to volunteer in your community, develop your leadership skills and explore new interests. As MIT’s admissions website notes, “cloning is still for sheep…What we really want to see on your application is you being you – pursuing the things you love, growing, changing, taking risks, learning from your mistakes, all in your own distinctive way.”

Are you up for the challenge of an elite online education? If you want a competitive curriculum that prepares you to take on the most rigorous colleges in the United States, consider GWUOHS. Learn more now.



GWUOHS Offers A High-Tech Take On High School

GWUOHS Offers A High-Tech Take On High School

Michael Tornatta, a student at the George Washington University’s Online High School, delivers a presentation last month. The school is one of three full-time online high schools in the nation.

Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 2:19 pm

By Danielle Nadler Leesburg Today

High school education comes in many forms in Loudoun County. There are a handful of private schools, the 13, going on 14, public high schools, and of course the homeschool option–But there is a lesser-known option that is venturing into an uncharted educational concept—a high school that is 100 percent online.

The George Washington University Online Highschool teamed with K12 Inc., a for-profit online education company based in Herndon, to launch an independent private school that allows students to log in from anywhere.

The partnership clicked, Head of School Staci Kimmons said. The result is one of only three online high schools in the country.

The school started as a high school three years ago, and just this year added a middle school program. In that time enrollment has grown to 160 students. About 50 of those live in the Washington, DC, metro area and, Kimmons said, “The rest are literally around the world.”

Every one of the classes is online, but the school’s eight teachers work to make the virtual experience feel like a classroom setting. They have what’s called Class Connect sessions through the virtual learning website where the teacher presents a lesson and students can ask questions and have discussions.

“The same way you would in a brick and mortar English class, they do that with Blackboard,” Kimmons said. “They are expected to attend class, and an advantage is if you miss a class or want to go back to a lesson you can always watch the recording.”

“It’s not what you would expect,” according to Becca Levy, who was one of 32 graduates from the school’s class of 2014 last month. “It feels like you’re in a community.”

Like any high school, GWU’s online high school has student clubs, including a school newspaper and yearbook, a service learning club and math club, among others.

Students can also take in-person enrichment programs, and join their classmates for the school’s annual international school trip—destinations have included Greece, Italy and Eastern Europe. Students are also invited to study under a university professor for a two-week Summer Immersion program, which Kimmons said, “lets them actually experience what it’s like to be a college student.”

GWU Online High School’s courses are rigorous and the school is selective in who they accept. Students are required to submit their transcript from their previous school, as well as an essay that illustrates why they can be successful at the online high school. Parents are also required to complete a questionnaire to indicate how involved they will be in their child’s education.

Parent involvement is key with online learning, Kimmons said. “A lot of people have a misconception that they’ll sign their student up for online high school, set them in front of a computer and they’ll take it from there. But students need help with time management, so we want parents to be involved and have conversations about their student’s progress.”

The George Washington University Online High School tuition is $12,000 for full-time high school students and $10,500 for full-time middle school students. They will host a 45-minute online open house at noon Thursday, July 10, and Tuesday, July 29. Go to for more information.

For more information about GWUOHS click below to watch