Online High School Science Classes | Which To Pick?

Taking science classes in high school is mandatory, and it is a good idea to educate yourself on what to expect. Online courses are great because they offer much more flexibility for learning since you are able to learn at your own pace. As you prepare for online high school science classes, you should be aware of what you are up against so that you are not only ready for your classes but also so that you are prepared for college. Learn which online high school science classes colleges and universities expect prospective students to have taken and make sure you are on track to have completed them all before graduation. If you don’t take all of the required courses, you will come into college having to catch up or in some cases not get accepted at all and that isn’t good. This post will highlight what an online high school science curriculum consists of, what colleges are looking for, and how to look impressive on your future applications.

What’s the Standard? 

The majority of high schools ask that enrolled students finish anywhere from two to three years of science classes as a graduation requirement. With online high school science classes there isn’t exactly an opportunity to do any group experiments, however, there are still ways for students to be hands-on with their learning while remote. Educators can assign virtual projects that students can complete in their home or even on their computer in order to stay engaged when studying online. Typically, courses happen in this order: biology, chemistry, and physics. However, in some places, online high school science classes are done in reverse, with the “hardest” class coming first. 


Biology is typically a first-year online high school science classes simply because it has only a minimal amount of math compared to the other science classes. This means that students will have plenty of time to gain more knowledge in that area before moving on to higher-level online high school science classes. In Biology, students will learn about cells, human development, genetics, and living organisms. 


In sophomore year, students will learn Chemistry, which is very math-heavy. An online course is great for students who are not very strong in math since they will be able to go at their own pace. Chemistry is one of the harder online high school science classes, so it is very important to pay attention during the first year and fine-tune mathematical skills. Chemistry teaches students about acids and bases, chemical energy, the periodic table, and so much more. 


Junior year is typically the year that students get to select which science class they would like to take. Physics is great for students who have a firm grasp of complex math concepts or who would just like to challenge themselves more academically. This online high school science class is also great for students who want to focus on STEM majors in college. Some topics students will cover in physics are time, space, matter, electricity, and motion, just to name a few. 

Earth or Physical Sciences 

For students who want less intense online high school science courses, there is earth or physical science. They are not very math-focused and are great for students who have difficulty keeping up in their science classes. Some topics covered in earth science include geology, astronomy, and life processes. In physical science, students will learn about kinetics, magnetism, optics, and many other important topics. 

Which One Is Best? 

While physics does look very good on a high school transcript, it is most important for students who are wanting to major in STEM fields, or who are striving to stand out to a college that does not allow in many applicants. However, if you are a student who math does not come easy to, it would be best to stick with earth or physical science and opt to take on more difficult courses in other subjects such as English for example.

Optional Courses 

The majority of high schools do not require seniors to take science classes, however, they are more than welcome to do so. There is a large selection of interesting electives to choose from such as zoology or human biology. With the extra room in their schedules, many students use this year to enroll in AP or “advanced placement” classes since these look very good to potential universities. 

What Are Colleges Looking for on Your Transcript? 

Colleges are wanting to see that students have taken two or three years of online high school science classes and passed their required online courses, especially chemistry and biology. Other schools are much stricter and will strongly urge students to have four years of science under their belt, even requesting an AP course as well. If a student is wanting to major in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (also known as STEM fields), they will have to take four years of science with Physics as a requirement. If they are properly taken advantage of, online high school science classes can set students up for plenty of success in higher education.

Impressing Colleges with High School Science Courses

It is a good idea to focus on the online courses that match what you would like to do in the future. There is no need to take overly complex online courses just to appeal to colleges unless you are very strong in that area. What colleges want to see most is that students are performing at a high level in the classes that are linked to their intended area of study. Taking on difficult classes that you are unable to keep up in will likely cause your grades to drop and therefore weaken your transcript. Getting good grades in every online science class you take is better than taking on more than you might be able to handle and achieving average or below-average grades. 

For STEM Majors 

You’ll need to have a strong understanding of STEM-related subjects if you are selecting a major in this area. All of the skills you pick up in your online high school science classes will come into use here and colleges want to be absolutely sure you are ready for the course load. Not to mention, there are many other students who are also trying to get in as well and there are only so many spots available in each program. As mentioned before, STEM students should have four years of science classes on their transcript and physics is mandatory. They should also take as many honors classes as they can handle during high school. AP classes also look great on a transcript, and as always, the grades achieved in each course must be very high. 

AP Science Classes to Choose From 

There are a variety of online science classes to choose from on the advanced placement level. Students can take AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, and even AP Computer Science to name a few. The goal of advanced placement courses is to build upon what students have already absorbed in their regular or honors science classes. AP classes are very math-focused and are meant to be much more challenging than the average online course.

Online high school science classes are very important not only for STEM majors but for students in general. Having a strong foundation in this area is an excellent way to look better on college applications. Science in any capacity can be challenging for students who are not strong in the subject, however, stellar grades in regular level coursework will act more in their favor than weak grades in harder courses that they are unable to handle. Online high school science classes are both necessary as well as rewarding when taken seriously. The online courses students opt to take in high school will affect their opportunities in higher education, so it is essential to choose them wisely.