Why Online Learning Works for Rural Students

25/04/20247 minute read
Why Online Learning Works for Rural Students

From rural New Zealand to a global curriculum of endless opportunities, Mirabella showcases the potential of online education for students in remote areas.

Mirabella's dad stumbled upon CGA through a Facebook advertisement, sparking their interest to enrol online. “The reason that I thought CGA would be the right decision for me is because I really liked how at CGA you study for your ability and not age, and I knew that I wouldn't be able to get that at many other schools.”

Having been a full-time student at CGA for just over a year, Mirabella enjoys studying a wide range of topics, including subjects like Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English Language, and Psychology. “I like all my subjects, but Biology is my favourite - I have a really good teacher.”

Scholarship Success

“If I didn't get the scholarship, I wouldn't be able to go to CGA.” For Mirabella and her family, the scholarship meant the chance to access a world-class education despite financial constraints. “My whole life would be different if I didn't get the scholarship.”

In 2023, Mirabella took the first step by reaching out to CGA via email to inquire about available scholarships. Following impressive diagnostic test results, school reports, and video interviews, Mirabella was selected as a scholarship recipient. “For the 2024 scholarship, I was actually in the process of submitting my application when I received an email notifying me that I had been awarded the scholarship again. This was a cool surprise, as it meant I didn't need to complete the application process again. That was amazing.”

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Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide

Living in a rural area can present unique challenges and opportunities for students. For Mirabella, living close to her home was super important, and CGA allowed her to stay within her community and gain access to education without having to travel outside. “I definitely would not be able to get an education like this, unless I went off to a boarding school, which I wouldn't want to do because I really like where I live and I wouldn't want to move away from it and my family.”

Mirabella also appreciates how CGA gives her a classroom of students from all over the world, and access to a wide range of extracurricular activities that she hadn’t received in traditional schooling. “Being able to talk to people all around the world is quite cool, and from CGA I've had access to a lot of other opportunities which I didn't really get at my old school.”

Her story was highlighted in an article by News Hub NZ, where she is an inspiration to rural students, showcasing the potential opportunities presented by online learning. She bravely addresses the challenges of drugs and bullying in her local high school, opting for CGA to create a more positive environment. She also shares her aspirations of entering medical school and credits CGA for making this dream achievable, while also providing her with the flexibility to pursue her passion for running.

A New World of Opportunities

Among the extracurricular activities that Mirabella took part of is the ‘High School Academic Research Competition’ which Mirabella participated in last year and will again in 2024. This is a global competition where talented students from around the world compete to present high-quality research on any topic. It challenges students to sharpen their critical thinking skills, immerse themselves in the research process, and hone their writing skills for success. Mirabella enjoys taking part in this and is thankful for the opportunity given to her. “I probably wouldn't have been able to do this without CGA.” Mirabella also attended the CGA social day in New Zealand and got a chance to meet some of her classmates.

Mirabella is also a competitive runner and is now able to dedicate more time towards her passion. "I compete in running, and now I have more time for it because I'm not attending a regular school. I train twice a day and fit in an exercise session in between. Being at CGA has really allowed me to prioritise my running."

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Mirabella’s Achievements

Mirabella won four awards in CGA's Aoraki Prize Giving 2023.

  • High Distinction Award, Pre IG stage 1
  • Academic Achievement Award, Pre IG Stage 1 for Science, Global Citizenship and Computer Science.

She attests her wins to the support of her teachers at CGA. "At CGA, there's a lot of support whenever I have a question. I can email the teachers or ask them in class. They even offer Zoom meetings or office hours if we need extra help. They're really good at replying to emails and providing resources for studying outside of class. So I think that really helped a lot.”

Not only is Mirabella enthusiastic about her academics, she also strives for success in her competitive running with hopes to compete in the nationals this year. "I participate in a lot of running races. While I haven't competed in any national-level races yet due to age restrictions, I've achieved some success in local races…and I'm hoping to go to nationals this year.” Mirabella won first overall in the women’s 5km Whitianga Half Marathon, and first U18 for the 10km Waihi Nugget Trail Run.

Where to Next?

When asked about her goals for the future, Mirabella’s answer was crystal clear: "I really, really, want to go to Stanford and run for their track and field team. I've wanted to go to Stanford for as long as I can remember. I want to study medicine at Stanford.”

“For students thinking about CGA, especially those in rural areas, I'd say don't let where you live hold you back. CGA offers opportunities you might not find elsewhere. I'd really recommend CGA to anyone in a rural area looking for a great education."

Inspired by Mirabella’s story? Or looking to find out more on the experiences of rural students at CGA, speak to one of our academic advisors today.