Stanford Online High School's student run news site

OHS Observer

Stanford Online High School's student run news site

OHS Observer

Stanford Online High School's student run news site

OHS Observer

Does starting out earlier at OHS result in increased access to high-level classes?

Stanford Online High School (OHS) is a platform for students to engage in higher learning earlier in their academic careers. Many aspire to get admitted to OHS as early as possible, aiming to delve into advanced courses sooner and solidify a strong academic foundation. But the question remains, does joining earlier actually enable you to take higher-level courses?


According to an OHS advisor, Ms. Gomez, while 7th and 9th grade are popular entry points, data doesn’t necessarily show that students entering middle school dominate the advanced curriculum offered at the OHS. Both middle school and high school entrants seem equally represented in these challenging courses. Gomez says, “In advanced science and math courses, for example, an equal number of students started in middle school versus high school.”


A synthesis of student feedback revealed:

  • Entry Statistics:
    • 55.6% commenced in the 9th grade.
    • 22.2% began in the 7th grade.
    • The 8th and 10th grades saw 11.1% admissions each.
    • Almost no students were accepted into 11th or 12th grade.


This graph indicates the entry grade of polled OHS students. Because data is based upon poll respondents, it is not representative of the entire OHS student population. (Rajalakshmi Sriram)


7th-grade entry:

Students who joined OHS in 7th grade shared that starting in middle school provided a broader overview of potential courses. Some felt that it helped them plan their academic trajectory without the pressure of immediate decisions. Meanwhile, others believe that joining later might make it challenging for students to adjust due to a less comprehensive introduction.


8th-grade entry:

A few students who entered OHS in the 8th grade expressed that the school allowed them access to higher-level courses than a traditional brick-and-mortar school would offer. However, they didn’t necessarily feel that early entrants had more access to higher-level courses than those who joined later.


9th-grade entry:

Students who joined as a freshman highlighted that the distinct advantage of OHS is the merit-based placement in advanced courses. They believe that the course level you reach depends more on personal planning and prior knowledge than the grade you enter OHS.


10th-grade entry:

A sophomore enrollee stated that most individuals who enroll in OHS post-sophomore year likely have prior experience with advanced courses, so they don’t perceive a distinct advantage for themselves. This makes sense in most scenarios since it is difficult to be admitted into OHS after the sophomore year.


Data of rating on a scale of 1 to 10 students gave for indicating advantage or no advantage.
(Rajalakshmi Sriram)


Most students believe that while OHS offers an academic advantage over traditional schools, the grade of entry isn’t the only determining factor in accessing higher-level classes. Personal motivation, prior knowledge, and planning play crucial roles.


Starting earlier at OHS does provide students with a broader view of available courses and potentially eases their adaptation to the OHS environment. However, in terms of accessing higher-level courses, individual factors like motivation, planning, and prior knowledge plays a more significant role than the grade of entry. While an early start may offer certain advantages, there are other pathways to advanced courses at OHS.

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