Is Keystone High School better than a GED Diploma? Is Keystone’s Online High School program worth it? How long do I need to complete the program? How much does Keystone High School cost?
In this post, we try to provide you with answers to these questions. Please read this review carefully before making any decisions.
The Keystone School (or Keystone National High School) is a private online distance learning and correspondence high school based in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.
The school offers students the option to take courses for supplementing homeschool or other high school programs, or for earning their high school diplomas at Keystone Online High School.
Keystone offered its first courses in 1974 under the name “The Learning & Evaluation Center” but changed its name to Keystone in 1994 to become a major player in the U.S. homeschool market.
The Keystone School’s Online High School program offers students an affordable, flexible, and well-reputed option to earn a high school diploma from the comfort of their homes.
Keystone’s Online High School program is targeted toward a variety of students, from those who struggle in a traditional class setting to homeschooled, career-bound, or college-bound students.
The school’s online curriculum can easily be tailored to any specialized goal of its students that can take individual high school-level courses, or enroll on a full-time basis.
The school offers over 120 high school-level academic courses including high school graduation program core subjects, a number of electives, AP® (Advanced Placement) courses, and six international language courses.
Regardless of whether the students take just a single or a few courses or are enrolled on a full-time basis, they work at their own pace and have access to the school’s instructional support.
In that sense, Keystone’s Online High School program might be a better option for students that require some guidance to learn the subject matter than, for example, earning a GED diploma which is now possible in an online format as well, though earning a GED® comes at a much friendlier price!
Keystone’s Online High School Diploma program is for students in grades 9 through 12. Students can choose a learning format that will fit their unique learning style and requirements.
Besides online learning through multimedia and an interactive platform are the school’s high school diploma programs also available in a paper-based printed version, the school’s correspondence courses.
So Keystone School’s education programs offer lots of flexibility which is a great help for students looking to achieve their goals, both academically, professionally, or personally. In that sense, it is similar to other online high school programs, such as PennFoster High School from Scranton, Pennsylvania.
And as stated earlier, regardless of whether the students want to enroll full-time or just take an individual course, the school offers courses for grades K–12 to AP courses, credit recovery courses, and world language courses.
So adults who never had the chance to complete a regular high school curriculum have the chance to earn a high school diploma through the school’s accredited programs, or just learn the skills required to advance their professional careers. Enrollment can take place at any time the students want.
At Keystone, flexibility is the keyword. For over forty years, the school has offered successful education models in a highly flexible way while supporting its students to develop the discipline required to successfully attend an online learning program and to be successful in college and/or the job market.
Is Keystone School Accredited?
Accreditation in the academic world is a way of ensuring the quality of a school and the offered programs. It can be awarded to academic institutions that meet or exceed specific criteria regarding academic programs, student services, and teacher support, just to mention a few.
Keystone Online High School is accredited by MSA-CESS (The Middle States Association of Colleges & Schools, the Commission on Elementary & Secondary Schools, and also by AdvancED/The Northwest Accreditation Commission.
Additionally, the school holds accreditation from Cognia, the world’s largest organization of education professionals. Cognia is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that runs rigorous reviews of educational institutions to make sure all students can realize their potential.
Are Keystone diplomas accepted?
As stated earlier, Keystone Online High School offers over 120 high school-level courses. This includes core high school subjects, AP (Advanced Placement) courses, a number of electives, and six international languages. Compare this also to what James Madison High School offers to students looking to earn their high school diplomas through an online program.
The school’s Online High School program is for learners in grades 9-12. Students can attend the program from anywhere and at any time they want and the program’s comprehensive curriculum is available online and in a printed correspondence format.
The diplomas issued by Keystone are recognized and accepted by the vast majority of universities and colleges, and by employers across the nation. Keep in mind, though, that colleges are not accepting diplomas as such, they accept students, often based on their transcript, resumes and cover letters, letters of recommendation, etc!
The school’s online courses are available through the highly sophisticated “Keystone Learning Management” system which gives the students access to online study materials, assignments, and communication with instructors.
Online Core Curriculum
Students can learn through the school’s multimedia and interactive curriculum at their own pace. They have continuous access to teacher support to guarantee a rewarding and interesting high school experience.
Keystone’s Online High School curriculum comes with lessons in an online format that feature state-of-the-art multimedia learning through animated tutorials, activities that keep studying an interesting experience and reinforce concepts, virtual learning labs, and interesting, interactive graphics.
The core curriculum covers topics that are usually addressed in high school grades 9-12. Students need to earn 21 credits in total or more between the 9th and 12th grades.
When students meet all of Keystone’s graduation requirements, they will be awarded the Keystone High School Diploma. This credential has the same status and value as a diploma issued by any private or public high school in the U.S.
To earn their Keystone High School Diplomas, students need to take at the minimum 5 credits with Keystone, including one in English, one in Math, one in Science, one in Social Studies, and additionally one credit of choice, core or elective. For more free math support, such as practice tests, check out this page.
The minimum requirement to graduate from Keystone with a diploma is 21 credits, but the students are encouraged to develop a 4-year learning plan and sign up for courses that will give them the best possible foundation for college and/or career.
This often means that they will earn more than just the minimally required 21 credits. College-bound students are generally encouraged to take a minimum of 2 extra credits, preferably in the same international “world language” as their electives.
To enhance students’ academic success, the school offers a number of elective courses, which allow them to study in academic fields outside the program’s core courses. Elective courses are available in areas such as Forensic Science, Digital Media, Fashion & Interior Design, World Languages, and more.
Students looking for a more challenging education have the option to benefit from Keystone’s Advanced Placement® (AP) courses, just as is offered by Excel Online High School’s diploma program.
This option prepares them to successfully sit for the AP exams from the College Board. Across the nation, colleges and universities offer credit to students that took these AP courses. Credit will vary by school and usually depends on a student’s score.
Admission to Keystone
All applicants to Keystone’s Online High School program are required to be proficient in written and oral English and they must provide proof they completed the 8th grade.
Students that don’t have any documentation for admissions to the 9th grade (for example, homeschooled students), must follow these guidelines:
The minimum age to sign up for Keystone’s Online High School is generally 14 years of age. Students that are 14 or older are considered “age-appropriate” for 9th grade. They can also sign up for the program using some sort of official documentation such as a birth certificate.
Students under the age of 14 may also qualify if they can provide proof of completing the 8th grade through providing a certificate of completion, a middle school transcript or grade report, standardized test scores that show at least 8th-grade achievement, or a complete homeschool portfolio.
If there are other relevant circumstances, students and/or their families should contact one of Keystone’s study advisors for advice.
So Keystone is accepting enrollments throughout the year for applicants that have completed at least the 8th grade and who want to enroll on a full-time basis or as a supplement to their current high school education program.
Adult High School
Keystone offers an Online High School program for traditional high school-aged students. Individuals 19 years of age and older may benefit from Keystone’s adult learning programs that offer them the opportunity to earn a nationally accredited high school credential.
They can also take courses offered by the school that will prepare them for careers in a number of high-demand professional areas just like other online high schools, such as Acellus Academy, offer in a similar way.
How much is Keystone School tuition?
The tuition fees for Keystone’s Online High School courses are per course. You can purchase just one single course to advance in that subject field or buy multiple courses to create a full-time high school curriculum.
Whichever option you choose, you’ll always have a full calendar year (from your purchasing date) to complete each high school-level course.
In Keystone’s Online High School program, full-time enrolled students usually take 5 to 6 full-credit courses per year, so they can earn at least the required 21 credits for graduation within four years.
Prices vary by course option. A Science course with lab work is a little more expensive than the average course while a correspondence (print-based) course will set you back a little less.
Keystone’s tuition fees range from $399.00 to $549.00 for a full credit course. The school offers many half-credit courses as well, both available online and in print format (correspondence). Here are a few examples.
Half-credit core and elective courses are $289 (online) or $229 (correspondence). Full-credit core and elective courses are $399 (online) or $299 (correspondence). AP (Advanced Placement) courses are $499 (online available only) while the AP Science course is $549.
Students can expect, however, that a full year of high school courses (full-time based) will cost anywhere from $1800 to $2800, depending on the chosen course options.
Students can sign up for as many high school courses as they want and work toward their high school diploma at their preferred pace.
To students taking a full traditional high school course load, Keystone will offer a discount. This discount is only applicable when the courses are all bought for the same students and at the same time.
For a 5-course program, the discount is 5 percent and for a 6-course program, the discount is 10 percent. However, these discounts are only available for students that enroll by phone. Students that enroll online, by mail, or by fax do not qualify for the discounts, and they can also not be applied for retroactively.
Keystone Pros and Cons
Pros – The program’s flexibility allows students to study at any time, at any place, and on any device. The program is self-paced, so students can move through the lessons quicker or take more time if they need it. Course selections include AP (Advanced Placement) courses, so they can challenge themselves, and the school offers credit recovery.
Cons – As with other online education programs, there are growing concerns about safety issues related to internet-based programs. Furthermore, many students experience difficulties associated with independent learning. They need to be self-disciplined or learn that. Another issue for many students is possibly the cost as it is between $1800 and $2800 annually!
The Keystone School
920 Central Road, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania 17815
Last Updated on October 4, 2021.