As Academic Advisors and Veritas Scholars Academy veteran moms, we’re often asked when the ideal time is to join the full-time Diploma Program. Our typical replies sound something like, “Any time is a great time to join the Diploma Program! The support of an Academic Advisor is valuable no matter your student's grade level.”
We know many families don’t consider doing a full course load with Veritas Scholars Academy until as late as high school. However, waiting until a student is in 9th grade ultimately limits their academic opportunities, social life, and time to excel and enjoy electives and extra-curricular activities.
Note: Some families opt to follow the Diploma academic track guidelines with Veritas prior to formally enrolling in the Diploma Program. This means taking a full load of live classes in the grammar years– especially in 5th and 6th grades. For those who aren’t ready to enroll in the Diploma Program, this can be a good alternate route to meet graduation prerequisites. Talk with a Family Consultant to learn more about how this works!
Below are the five main things your student will miss out on by waiting until high school to enroll in the VSA Diploma Program or by waiting until 9th grade to see what the prerequisites to the Diploma Program are:
#1 They’ll miss graduation prerequisites taken during 7th and 8th grade.
Prerequisite classes for all high school Diploma Program requirements are taken in 7th and 8th grade. If a student joins VSA after they’ve already begun their high school years, they’re commonly required to have a heavier workload to complete the prerequisites. This can cause undue stress, fatigue, and anxiety for the student. Adding in the middle school prereqs in high school also leaves little to no room for electives, advanced classes, or extracurricular activities.
Additionally, If you plan for your student to go to an elite college or receive college scholarships, they view a school profile and look at courses offered there. They ask the admission question, “Did the student use all the courses available to them and their highest level?” Planning for and keeping prerequisite courses in 7th and 8th grade allows for the maximum level to be reached in a subject area per the student’s aptitude.
#2 They won’t have the opportunity to graduate with Honors or Highest Honors distinctions.
Many classes at the Associate’s level in high school are honors classes and will be reflected as such on the transcript. However, for students who strive for the Honors or Highest Honors track distinction at Veritas, the sequence of courses is essential and typically requirements begin in 6th and 7th grade. One example of this is starting Omnibus in 7th grade so they can take all 6 years of Omnibus– a requirement for the Highest Honors distinction.
If you aren’t aware of the sequence of courses in early Secondary school, then students are often forced to double up subjects in high school to meet Honors graduation requirements. Students who pursue Honors are taking the most rigorous and work-laden courses. Starting early down that path prevents fatigue, and the stress of playing catch up. There are times when Academic Advisors are forced to deliver disappointing news to students who enroll in the Diploma Program in the later years that there simply is not enough time to complete the graduation requirements for the Veritas Honors distinction.
#3 They may miss having their previous coursework count for VSA academic credit.
Parents often assume that if they teach a subject using a similar or identical curriculum to what is taught in live classes, their 7th and 8th-grade students will be set up for success in future subject levels. There are specific criteria for the transfer of outside or homeschool courses per the Middle States Accreditation and ACCS requirements. Veritas may ask for your students to take a placement test to ensure they will thrive at the level you plan to enroll them in.
Enrolling in the Diploma program means you’ll have an Academic Advisor’s guidance for crucial subject areas in advance of 7th or 8th grade. This will lead to better success in meeting graduation requirements.
#4 They may miss out on having a strong, close-knit community during high school
Starting in 7th grade, full-time Diploma students are placed in exclusive groups within our learning management system (Schoology). Relationships are forged quickly, and class culture forms from the earliest possible years. Joining the Diploma Program later in high school means your student misses out on this valuable time to build connections with their classmates.
#5 They’ll miss having time to acclimate to the rigors of Veritas Scholars Academy during years when grades are less pivotal.
Acclimating to the rigor and pace of VSA in the younger years provides a lower-stakes opportunity for students to learn time management and the importance of taking ownership of their studies. The grades received during grammar school are insignificant on high school transcripts, with one exception: grades and subjects taken in 7th and 8th grade, while not reflected on a student’s high school transcript, do have the necessary prerequisites needed to graduate high school at VSA. The omission of 7th and 8th-grade grades from the transcript allows time for a student to make mistakes. Being part of the Diploma Program and under the supervision of an Academic Advisor in middle school or younger allows students to make mistakes, experience consequences for their actions, and mature before grades begin going on their high school transcript.
Distractions from things like chat rooms and wasting time away from their studies with middle school frivolity can be eliminated as they mature and experience life as full-time students. The stakes are lower in 7th and 8th grade, and mistakes made in lower grades can be absorbed in a way that is not possible in the high school years.
Joining the full-time Diploma Program or following the live course schedule at any year is beneficial, but joining before 7th grade will provide your student with the most benefits!
If you’re considering the Diploma Program and want to talk to an expert, schedule a free consultation with a Famly Consultant today. They will take time to hear your unique family rhythm, education history, and educational goals to help you make the right decision for your family - they’ll even map out a complimentary academic plan custom-tailored to your student(s)!