Does Accreditation Matter?

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I recently received the following email with questions about accreditation for both colleges and home schools. Sarah writes:

Thank you so much for all the information. I am currently homeschooling my 7th grader through CAVA (California Virtual Academy)…just thinking ahead!!!!

I hear so much about WASC (Western Association of Schools & Colleges) accreditation in our state.

Do colleges “really” care if High Schools are accredited? Obviously, if I “independently” home school him for 9th-12th it would not be accredited. It almost seems like a “scare tactic” rumor spreading through our state? Please advise.

Sarah, it is more important for colleges and universities to have a regional accreditation than for high schools.

There are six regional associations that accredit public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the United States. They are the following: Western Association of Schools & Colleges; Southern Association of Colleges & Schools; Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; New England Association of Schools and Colleges; North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; and lastly, the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools.

Regionally accredited schools are predominantly non-profit institutions whose main objective is academic. Most nationally accredited schools are for-profit and are more geared toward vocational, career or technical programs.

If a student transfers from one regionally accredited college to another, the likelihood of his coursework transferring is high. However, if transferring from a nationally accredited school to a regionally accredited one, seldom will his completed courses transfer.

Play it safe and stick with a regionally accredited college or university.

Now, regarding high school accreditation, it is really a non-issue. Most colleges will not ask to see a high school accreditation, just the student’s high school transcripts. There are so many high schools throughout the country, with so many different components , that to add one more requirement would be burdensome on the collegiate admissions office.

So, I wouldn’t worry about your student’s high school accreditation. Concentrate on his grades and test scores!

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  1. The six regional accrediting agences are in the process of being subsumed by a global entity – AdvanceEd. It is a development that is alarming in many respects.