Does Online School Affect University Admissions?

06/06/202411 minute read
Does Online School Affect University Admissions?

Students at CGA have been known to get into some of the world’s best universities, including Princeton University, Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford, to name a few. But does attending an online school directly correlate with this success?

We met with a recent CGA graduate, Jasmine Wei, from Auckland, New Zealand, who got accepted into five of the best US universities: Vanderbilt University, University of California (UCLA), Washington University in St. Louis, Williams College, and UC Berkeley. She shared her insights into what makes learning online the ideal choice for students wanting to gain acceptance into top universities worldwide.

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How to Make The Transition to Online learning?

Initially enrolled part-time while attending a traditional school, Jasmine transitioned to full-time online education after experiencing firsthand how CGA was able to provide a learning environment where she could really achieve more academically. "My school limited my subject choices to five or six subjects maximum, but I really wanted to do more," Jasmine explains. Seeking more flexibility and a broader range of subjects, she found CGA’s curriculum perfectly suited her needs.

One of the standout features of online school for Jasmine was the small class sizes and the personalised attention she received from her teachers. "The student-teacher ratio at CGA allowed for more personalised attention, and people were actually invested in their learning, and wanted to participate a lot in classroom discussions, especially for subjects like English and Psychology,” she shares. For Jasmine, it was this student engagement that she admired and felt was lacking in her traditional school setting.

Making the transition to online schooling full-time can be a big adjustment for students and families. To understand how to approach this smoothly and have all the right questions answered CGA’s developed an easy four-step guide, to make this process as stress-free as possible for you and your child.

Step1: Personalised discovery call 
Step 2: Formalising the transition from current school to online school
Step 3: Assessment, enrolment and orientation
Step 4: Securing educational status and preparing for the future

What University Mentorship Looks Like in an Online School

Jasmine attributes much of her academic success with online schooling to the mentorship and support she received from her teachers at CGA. "Ms. Austin helped me join CGA, and despite my young age, I never felt out of place in her [psychology] class," she shares. "I started doing psychology actually quite young. I think I finished my entire A-level when I was 15. I really like that CGA puts you in classes based on ability and not your age. I didn't feel any constraints going into the class being so young.” This approach ensured that she was challenged appropriately and could progress at her own pace.

The support from teachers like Ms. Austin, her psychology teacher, and Ms. Thompson, her English teacher, was important in her achieving top grades and gaining admission to universities. "All the teachers are so great. Recommendations played a big part in my admission. Mr. Fan, my counsellor, was also very helpful in making my college list and revising my essays," Jasmine explains. She also praises her chemistry teacher, Ms. Husband, for contributing significantly to her academic success. "I feel like they both wrote me an excellent recommendation, I believe. And I just really enjoyed their classes as well.”

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Creating An Impressive University Admissions Portfolio

When it comes to university admissions, academic officers look for more than good grades. What makes a standout university admissions portfolio is students who have a wide range of interests and experience in different fields. Whether it’s participating in a passion project at the local community hall, being a young performer, a professional athlete, or completing an internship at the United Nations, these experiences shape potential candidates for acceptance into the world's best colleges.

Extracurricular Activities

Being at an online school, which means having the freedom to schedule your own timetable, Jasmine found the flexibility to balance her academic workload with a variety of extracurricular activities. “I was able to organise a fundraising concert for Ukraine and through that I was able to work with a lot of people.” Jasmine’s extracurricular activities also included founding a nonprofit focused on sustainability and conducting research with a PhD candidate from the University of Connecticut, resulting in a publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

On top of this, Jasmine also had the opportunity to continue practising music. She has been playing the guzheng, a traditional Chinese zither, since she was four years old. "I have been a Chinese zither player since I was four, and I continued doing that when I was in CGA. I mean, it gave me a lot more time to practise since I didn't have to transport to school and back. So that was fun.”

Academic Achievements

Jasmine's dedication and hard work has earned her numerous accolades:

  • Dux of CGA
  • CGA Top in Subject Awards: English Literature, Biology, 2x Psychology, Business Studies
  • John Locke Global Essay Competition High Distinction
  • Bronze in New Zealand International Biology Olympiad & Chemistry Olympiad
  • Catalyst 2030 Challenge Global Finalist


Jasmine also found that the structure of online learning made her more productive and ambitious. "With all the free time that you get, there's no lunch break or free periods where you have to stay somewhere around the school. So all of that time adds up. For example, each day between classes, you'd have time to finish basically all of your homework before school even ends," she explains. "When I went to an in-person school, I couldn't really have a meeting during lunch since it's really loud, and I wouldn't find a space to do that. But in CGA, if I have a two-hour break between my classes, I can eat, do a meeting, and practise my instrument. So I was a lot more productive."

Because of all the extra time she received outside of classes, Jasmine could dedicate more time to focusing on applying for colleges, which made her more ambitious to reach her goals.

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How Online Learning Compares to Traditional Schooling

Jasmine’s time at CGA shows the benefits of online learning over traditional schooling. "CGA's online classes were much more engaging, and the personalised attention from teachers made a big difference," she notes. The ability to take more subjects and the flexible schedule allowed her to pursue her interests without being restricted by a rigid timetable.

Making Friends Online

One of the misconceptions about online education is the lack of social interaction. However, CGA offers many opportunities for students to connect and collaborate. Through platforms like Slack and various extracurricular clubs, students can engage with their peers, form friendships, and participate in meaningful activities. Jasmine found it easy to make friends and organise events despite being in an online school. "I think it's not that hard to meet friends online. You can message them in class and get their social media or Slack contacts.”

Reflecting on her time at CGA, Jasmine offers valuable advice for current and prospective students. "Be proactive and reach out for opportunities. CGA provides a lot of resources, but you need to take the initiative.” Jasmine’s proactive approach allowed her to maximise the benefits of online learning and achieve her university goals.

Deciding on The Right Curriculum

Being in an online school offers a diverse range of subjects that cater to the varied interests and academic goals of students. The curriculum at CGA includes International GCSEs, A Levels, US Diploma, and Advanced Placement (AP) courses, all recognised globally for their academic rigour and flexibility. Students learning online at CGA can choose from subjects such as Mathematics, English Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Economics, Psychology, and more.

Jasmine benefited from this extensive curriculum by taking nine A-levels, including subjects like Psychology, which her previous school did not offer. "I self-studied many A-levels, and CGA gave me the freedom to do that." The ability to take on as many subjects as she was able to with in-depth A-Levels allowed Jasmine to build a strong academic profile that stood out in her university applications.

The Importance of a Supportive Online Environment

The success of CGA's online education model is built on its team of expert teachers and the advanced technology that supports interactive learning. CGA employs teachers with extensive experience and qualifications from top universities. These educators are adept at creating engaging and effective online lessons that keep students motivated and focused.

Jasmine praises Mr. Fan, her counsellor, for his role in her university success. "We met up around once a month to talk about things, and that's been very helpful for me, especially in making my college list and revising my essays,” she shares. “It's really easy to book meetings with him and he's super accessible all the time, and would follow up on things…it feels like he remembers everything, and he really cares.”

CGA's use of technology enhances the learning experience by providing tools for real-time interaction, progress tracking, and access to many educational resources. The platform's capabilities ensure that students receive the support they need, whether through one-on-one sessions with teachers. mentors or collaborative projects with peers.

Choosing Williams College

After three years at CGA, Jasmine received offers from several top universities, including a full scholarship at Vanderbilt University. Ultimately, she chose Williams College, citing her visit to the campus and the immediate connection she felt. "I went with my intuition; Williams just felt like the right place for me," Jasmine says. At Williams, she plans to explore various subjects, including physics, philosophy, and potentially architecture.

Jasmine is a strong example of how online schooling at CGA can positively impact university admissions. Her experiences show that with the right support, flexibility, and resources, students can achieve their acceptance into their dream university while building a portfolio that stands out in the competitive university admissions process.

Interested in making the transition to online learning? Speak to an Academic Advisor today.