How Do Students Socialize at ASU Prep Digital?

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Socialization is an important aspect of education, whether you’re learning in a traditional school setting or online environment.

But how is socialization embedded into the ASU Prep Digital experience?

ASU Prep Digital provides students with many opportunities to interact with their peers and teachers, despite myths that online students don’t socialize as much as their traditional school counterparts.

In fact, socialization in online learning isn’t much different than in a brick-and-mortar. Let’s take a look at the different ways ASU Prep Digital students socialize.

Live Lessons

Live lessons are one of the best ways for students to connect with their teachers and peers on a regular basis. Teachers use a video meeting platform called Zoom for live lessons. They can share their screen, present materials, and engage with all of their students at the same time.

“We like to present information in a variety of ways to benefit all types of learners,” said Kerri McMillen, a social studies teacher at ASU Prep Digital. 

Through games, mini group assignments, and other activities, students learn the skills needed to complete coursework on their own while building genuine connections with everyone.

Community Events

We love getting students and staff together for in-person events. This is why we’ve created a community engagement calendar for every semester!

From ASU campus tours to trips to pumpkin patches, students and their families can mix, mingle, and socialize with their peers and ASU Prep Digital staff!

Student Clubs

ASU Prep Digital offers over 12 clubs for students to choose from, including book club, yearbook, mythology, and student government. And if students don’t see a club that piques their interest, that’s okay—they can start one of their own!

We encourage our students to find ways to enhance their high school experience, and this is one of the best ways to do so. If you want to hear more about clubs from the student perspective, read this spotlight on Hannah Stewart, one of ASU Prep Digital’s first students!

‘Parents of ASU Prep Digital’ Facebook Group

As a way to empower our families to initiate conversations and interactions within our community of learners, we created a Facebook group specifically for parents of current and prospective ASU Prep Digital students.

In this space, they’re able to ask questions about enrollment, the student experience, and the process of switching from traditional schooling to online learning. Many parents also use it as a way to plan meet ups and events for students who live near the Phoenix area and are looking to make new friends.


Ready to join our community of learners? We always accept part-time applications on a rolling basis, which you can access here. And if you’re interested in learning more about our program for future full-time enrollment, please schedule a call with an admissions advisor.


Socialization in Online Learning vs Traditional High School

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One of the most important aspects of life is socialization. Because it’s a lifelong process, every interaction we have from childhood through adulthood shapes our personality and how we adapt and respond to social situations in society. 

There are different types of socialization: primary, secondary, developmental, anticipatory, and resocialization. Each type serves a different function, whether it’s to learn the values and norms of our culture or what kind of roles we can play in future relationships.


How is socialization linked to education?

Kids spend a majority of their lives in school, meaning a few types of socialization, such as secondary and developmental, are learned and reinforced as they progress on their education journey. How else will students develop social skills like being a good communicator? Or discover what type of career they want without joining clubs that align with their interests? 

This is why many people are skeptical of online high school, and why so many myths surrounding online learning exist. They think that online students miss out on the socialization component, but the truth is that socialization is a huge component of the online learning experience, and similar to that of a traditional high school setting! Let’s take a closer look:


Interacting with classmates

Students in online learning environments interact with classmates on a daily basis, just like in traditional classrooms. Many online high schools, including ASU Prep Digital, host live lessons where students and teachers connect using an online video chat. But the socialization doesn’t stop there. Because students don’t sit in a physical classroom together every day, they’re encouraged to find ways to socialize outside of their live lessons. This can be anything from group chats to virtual study groups, giving students more time to strengthen their friendships.


Student clubs

One of the biggest ways students socialize in high school is through clubs. Most traditional high schools have a set list of clubs they offer, from student newspaper to book club. Online high schools have these as well, and students meet on a weekly basis using online video chat. To create an even stronger community, and increase student involvement, many schools encourage their students to present their own club ideas for implementation!


In-Person Activities

Aside from clubs, the majority of student activities at traditional schools revolve around things like prom, graduation, or pep rallies. Online high schools offer similar activities, but try to take it one step further. For example, ASU Prep Digital plans monthly meet ups for students and staff, ranging from pizza parties to ASU campus tours. This gives students time to plan in advance for activities and make travel arrangements if they live out of state.


Being an online learner doesn’t mean giving up the social aspect of your life. In many ways, online high school will give you the tools to socialize in more ways than you thought possible. Don’t believe us? Stay tuned to our blog to hear from a student who has had an active social life thanks to ASU Prep Digital!

In the meantime, check out some other blog posts about about the different aspects of socialization available in online learning environments:


Socialization Myths in Online Learning

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As more students enroll in online high school, socialization myths in online learning increase as well. At its core, socialization is the process of learning how to behave and interact with others in society. 

Education plays an integral role in teaching social skills and cues, immersing students in diversity, and introducing students to different social situations. Because of this, many believe that students who enroll in online schools miss out on the socialization component. 

Here are a few socialization myths in online learning that we’d like to debunk:

How often do online students interact with their teachers and peers?

When people think about online learning, they might imagine students holed up in their rooms doing schoolwork alone, never talking to anyone else. This couldn’t be more wrong! Many online high schools, including ASU Prep Digital, host frequent live lessons. During these scheduled times, teachers connect with small groups of students using online video chat and answer questions, go over class materials, discuss topics, play games and socialize.

Many live-lessons also include break-out rooms where students can collaborate on projects. Outside of the teacher-sponsored live lessons, students are also encouraged to start group chats with classmates and attend virtual study sessions.

Do online schools offer clubs and activities?

Many online high schools offer the same clubs as brick-and-mortar schools, including student government, yearbook, and National Honor Society. These opportunities are open to all students and usually meet once a week virtually so students get to interact with their peers and club advisor.

Students are also encouraged to propose their own club ideas for consideration and implementation. ASU Prep Digital currently has over 12 clubs for students to participate in, such as STEM club, mythology, and world languages.

Do online students ever see their classmates in person?

Students may not sit in physical classrooms with their peers, but that doesn’t mean they never see them. Online high schools will find opportunities to host in-person events for their students and staff, whether it’s a back-to-school orientation or a pizza party.

At ASU Prep Digital, students even get to meet up for special campus tours of ASU! And we have in-person graduation ceremonies, bringing students and staff together to celebrate their accomplishments.


The truth is that just like in traditional schools, there are plenty of opportunities for students to socialize. And now that we’ve debunked some of the common myths surrounding online learning, we’ll be discussing how socialization in an online learning environment is different from a traditional school setting in our next post.

Interested in debunking more socialization myths? Check out these posts:

ASU Prep Digital Events This Fall

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People often ask how socialization works in an online learning environment. Parents wonder if their child will be on a computer all day, if they’ll have the opportunity to meet classmates and teachers, and how they’ll be able to make friends.

It’s important for students to receive a well-rounded education, and socialization is part of that. This is why we’ve created several opportunities for students to interact with their peers in person! Are you a current ASU Prep Digital student? Check out the events coming up this fall:

1. ASU Sun Devil Day- October 7 at the Polytechnic and Downtown campuses and October 11 at the West campus

Join us for the most in-depth tour experience ASU offers. Tour the campus, learn about classes and majors, and discover why it’s good to be a Sun Devil! To register, please click here.

2. Tucson Pizza Party – October 23

You’re invited to an evening of pizza and conversation! While you enjoy a slice or two, meet other ASU Prep Digital students and teachers who live in Southern Arizona. For additional information and to RSVP, please reach out to Mrs. Fernandez at

3. Walter Cronkite Journalism School Tour – November 14

Interested in a career path in the journalism field? Join us as we learn more about the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU. As part of the tour, we will be getting an exclusive behind the scenes view of a taping of the Cronkite News. For additional information and to RSVP, please reach out to Mrs. Fernandez at


We will be adding more events as we finalize details, so please be sure to check out our resources page, follow us on Facebook, and keep your eyes peeled! And if you’re a current ASU Prep Digital parent, please join our Parents of ASU Prep Digital group to connect with other parents, plan meetups, and stay up to date on all internal news. 

4 Tips for Making Friends in Your Online Class

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Online classes are made up of a community of students, just like any traditional classroom. Thanks to social media, interactive online tools, and digital curriculum design, students have plenty of opportunities to help facilitate making friends with their virtual classmates.

Being proactive about forming friendships goes a long way when you learn online. Here are four tips for building friendships with your digital peers. 

1. Connect on social media. 

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are already cornerstones of interaction for friends IRL. In fact, a third of the 76% of teenagers who use social media say they spend time with friends through social media every day. Social networking apps are a key place where friends interact and express themselves, so connecting with classmates through these online platforms is a great way to build deeper relationships and make new friends outside of school.

Social media is even being embraced by online professors, who encourage students to introduce themselves to classmates via Instagram, or engage in course-related discussions using Twitter or Google Hangouts. Connecting with your peers who are comfortable doing so is a good first step to getting to know one another better and making friends in your online course.

2. Join a virtual club. Or, better yet, start your own!

There’s a giant community of online students out there, and many of them are members of student-created clubs and organizations centered around professional development and student networking. These groups often host video lectures featuring faculty members or industry professionals, and sometimes even plan events where members can meet in person. If you and your classmates are interested in similar subjects, then getting active in, or even leading one of these clubs, is a great way to get to know each other. But what if you can’t find a club to fit your passions or interests? Go ahead…start your own! Making friends usually begins with having shared interests. Many online high schools, including ASU Prep Digital, will provide faculty advisors to help students establish new student clubs. Taking the initiative is not only good for your social life, it’s also a great resume builder for your college apps.

3. Use the resources available through your online classes. 

Thankfully, most of today’s virtual classrooms have been developed with student collaboration in mind. Many online courses have discussion boards and live video lessons built into their interface, which students are encouraged to actively use. These tools are not only useful for collaborating and sharing information, but can also be used for non-academic group chats where classmates can interact casually and bond.

4. Plan an in-person meetup.

If you happen to live near your classmates, you can use the tools and resources mentioned above to organize a physical meetup. Having shared experiences away from the academic setting is an ideal way for classmate relationships to evolve into friendships. If you and your online classmates are scattered across a region, then planning a day-trip to meet up or work on a project together at a central location can be an exciting and unique shared experience.

Remember, making friends isn’t always easy and can take time — even in a traditional classroom — but it is certainly untrue to think that being in an online environment removes all opportunities to make friends.

Are you are virtual high school student? If so, we’d love to hear your pro-tips for staying connected with your classmates. Visit our Facebook page and let us now some of the ways you make friends in your online classes.

Our Favorite Extracurricular Activities for Online Learners

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Admit it—when you think about your high school days, you definitely remember the clubs you were part of more than you remember the specific lessons you learned in math class. Extracurricular activities are an important part of high school because they give students a chance to interact with their peers, develop important life skills and explore different interests outside of the classroom. Just like traditional schools, virtual schools also offer a variety of clubs for students to join. Here are six extracurricular activities for online learners that will enhance your child’s online learning experience:

Student Government

If your child is a natural born leader and great at decision making, student government will be a great experience for them. Students will develop and expand their leadership skills, represent the interests of their peers and learn how to make a difference at their school. Some duties of student government include: keeping students informed about news and events, brainstorming fundraising ideas and drafting proposals for in-person events where students connect.

School Newspaper

Extra, extra! Read all about it! Joining the school newspaper gives students the opportunity to hone their writing skills, learn how to perform efficiently under deadlines and keep their peers and teachers updated with school news and events. If they plan on majoring in journalism when they attend college, the pieces they write for the school newspaper can even be used to build their portfolio.

Language Clubs

Is your child a lover of language? Do they want to travel the world and be able to communicate with the locals? Language clubs give students a space to practice the language, learn about the countries that speak the language and explore the different components that make up the cultures, such as music, food, clothing and holidays.

Book Club

Sometimes English class just isn’t enough for the bookworms—and that’s where book club comes to the rescue. Students read and discuss books on a weekly basis through video chat with peers who share their love of reading. They are exposed to different genres and learn how to have intelligent and insightful conversations about what they’re reading.

Academic Clubs

For the students who want to continue their learning beyond the virtual classroom, academic clubs are a great option for an extracurricular activity. In most cases, an academic club will focus on a particular subject, such as math, history or philosophy, and dive deeper than your regular course with expanded lessons, fun games and eye-opening discussions.

Model UN

Has your child ever expressed an interest in learning more about international relations? If so, Model United Nations (UN) is a great place to start. They will have the opportunity to roleplay as delegates for various countries, develop leadership, public speaking, and negotiation skills, and learn the value of teamwork.

While most virtual schools have established clubs that are ready to join, some schools, like ASU Prep Digital, also encourage students to start their own clubs based on their interests.

To find the complete list of extracurricular activities for online learners that ASU Prep Digital offers, please visit our resources page


How Online Clubs Help Students Connect with Their Peers

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It is a common misconception that online high school students miss out on the socialization component that a traditional school offers. However, students are breaking down the digital barrier and proving that participating in online clubs actually enhances the socialization aspect of virtual schooling.

Kathleen Hofmaier, an English teacher at ASU Prep Digital, has witnessed firsthand how joining online clubs has had a positive impact on how her students interact with one another.

“I’m actually an advisor for five online clubs for high school students — Student Government, Journalism/Yearbook Club, Exploring Western Religion Club, Mythology Club, and Book Club,” Hofmaier said. “Students have interests and they want to socialize, so I want to help them in any way that I can.”

Just as traditional schools have clubs that students can participate in, online schools offer the same opportunity to their students. While students may not be meeting face-to-face, they are still just as engaged and excited to connect with their peers.

“The clubs we have are a blend of both teacher initiated and student-initiated,” Hofmaier said. “Students are willing, able, and eager to start clubs that they have a specific interest in and it’s exciting to see them take the initiative.”

In fact, she has helped foster friendships in the clubs she advises because she loves seeing her students getting to know each other outside of their club interactions.

“The student who started the Mythology club, Alexandra Smith, refers to herself as a ‘dragon nerd.’ Her willingness to be so vulnerable and ask for friends is really inspiring,” Hofmaier said. “We had a student enroll late who also claimed to be a ‘dragon nerd’ and I just knew I had to connect them. I helped facilitate the exchanging of emails and now they’re great friends.”

Each club meets once a week over Adobe Connect, a video conference service, which gives students the chance to see and talk to their peers in real time. But is participation in these clubs really enhancing the academic experience for students?

“I definitely see it positively impacting their academic performance,” Hofmaier said. “Because we are spending two to three days a week together, they know they have to have their schoolwork done ahead of time!”

She has also seen her students’ involvement in extracurricular activities help improve their confidence, which has contributed to their success in the classroom.

“I did have one student, Avvy, who was borderline academically–and then he joined student government,” Hofmaier said. “He was at a traditional school last year and ran for vice president and lost, so he was determined to be vice president this time around. We had an election, which he won, and ever since then, he has been phenomenal. He feels empowered and it’s been pretty cool to witness.”

The online learning environment is truly transforming and expanding the idea of socialization.

Since students don’t need to physically sit in class on a weekly basis, it puts the responsibility of engaging with their fellow peers in the students’ hands. While many of them attend their clubs once a week and are content with that amount of interaction, there are some students that go above and beyond.

“Hannah Stewart is the president of our student government and she really wants to get students together and have more of a community. She actually put together this huge proposal for an end of year trip, and I was so impressed with the amount of depth and effort she executed while doing this,” Hofmaier said. “She came up with a trip to San Diego where we visit the museums, tour the different campuses and then maybe do a fun activity, like Disneyland or SeaWorld. Even though it was postponed until next year, it was definitely cool to see them rally together and come up with this proposal for an end of the year trip.”

Attending an online high school puts the power of socialization in the students’ hands and helps them pave the way for a successful high school experience both academically and socially.

Visit our resources page for more information on all of the clubs available to students at ASU Prep Digital.