Experiences in Online Education: The Story of Isaac Walker
VLACS Student Has Sights Set on Harvard University in the Fall
Isaac Walker is not your average high school student. Not only is the 17-year old from Dunbarton, NH, an accomplished athlete and seasoned volunteer, he’s also a veteran campaigner and what appears to be a budding community organizer. In addition to all of those things, Walker is also a proud student of Virtual Learning Academy Charter School.
Come this spring, Walker will have completed enough online courses to earn his high school diploma and then, only a few short months later, will attend Harvard University as part of the Class of 2019. With his experience in online education soon coming to an end, Walker said if it wasn’t for the flexibility and accessibility of getting a high school diploma with VLACS, he likely would’ve never been able to take on so many activities all at the same time.
The story of Walker’s experience in online education with VLACS began in eighth grade, when Walker says he had a decision to make about how he would pursue his high school diploma. Having only ever been home educated, Walker said he watched as his sister started taking courses with VLACS and became intrigued by her reviews. After taking a few online courses himself, Walker said he was convinced that pursuing an online high school education with VLACS would be the way to go for his high school experience.
“I took a few VLACS courses and they worked out really well for me, both scheduling and academic wise,” said Walker. “I took even more classes the year after that and decided it would be a good idea to go full time and make VLACS the center of my high school education.”
As the years progressed, Walker says he became impressed with many aspects of VLACS’ full time online education program.
The areas that Walker said he enjoyed include:
The level of interaction Walker said he was able to have with teachers through VLACS courses was impressive. Routine communication with teachers proved to be in-depth and of “enormous value,” especially the scheduled phone calls that Walker says allowed for time to talk, ask questions and simply discuss the course content. Teachers are also very responsive in tracking a student’s progress throughout their online course, he said.
“Everything is very, very personal with VLACS,” said Walker. “They made it really easy to get in touch, whether it was office hours, phone calls or through email.”
Flexibility in Schedule
Walker said one of the best things about VLACS courses was the flexibility and structure they provided at the same time. As a full-time student, Walker says he was able to create his own schedule that allowed him to study whenever he was able, whether it was morning, noon or night. And because VLACS provides pace charts, Walker said he was able to tell if he was on track or not and adjust things accordingly.
“You can work your schedule around your life without feeling like you’re failing,” he said.
For Walker, having pace chart helped him determine what he needed to complete week to week in order to remain on point. This then allowed him to study whenever and wherever made sense, given what was going on that week. Walker says he found time to study and take quizzes both before and after extracurricular activities. He said he’s even found himself studying in the most unexpected places.
“I’ve even written an essay in the car,” he said.
Increased Opportunities Outside of School
The flexibility of VLACS online courses has helped Walker excel as a competitor in both swimming and rowing. In fact, Walker intends to compete for Harvard crew when he enrolls in the fall. Walker was also able to launch a successful career volunteering and campaigning for various political causes, including United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign.
“I was very lucky,” said Walker. “A lot of people wouldn’t have been able to do this.”
Social Interactions Abound
Finding the balance between school and sports, not to mention a social life, is never easy. Walker, despite his crazy schedule, said he was somehow able to compete in sports, excel in school and maintain friendships throughout his experience with VLACS. If anything, Walker says he feels he was able to make even more friendships than he would have had he attended public school.
“I have friends from VLACS all over New Hampshire,” he said. “I’d say my range of friends is probably larger than most people I know.”
When the fall rolls around, Walker said he intends to hit the books at Harvard and focus on government and history as major concentrations. He said he’s also going to join the Institute of Politics organization on campus, and as mentioned earlier, will row for the Harvard Crimson along the Charles River.
As for his experience with VLACS, Walker said he would definitely recommend online education to others—provided that they are willing to put in the effort to handle a flexible schedule and get work done.
“It’s an amazing way to learn,” he said.
AT VLACS, we strive to make every student’s experience as successful as the one Isaac Walker has enjoyed over the years. Our admission process for full-time students is intended to help support students as they transition to online learning. Contact us today to start earning credits toward your high school diploma.