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Ever wondered what it’s like to earn your Ontario Secondary School Diploma online? Meet Laura Kohlsmith. She’s a recent graduate who completed almost all of her 30 OSSD credits at VHS, earned the Ontario Scholar Certificate, and is now deep into her studies at York University. Let’s learn more about her tips and tricks for getting the most out of online learning!

Like most of our students, Laura began her high school education in a traditional bricks-and-mortar school. However, she found it difficult to locate a school that would push her academically while still providing her with the freedom to pursue other activities:

“VHS offers unique features, such as flexible schedules, which really got my attention. As the sibling of an actor with a family who loves to travel and such, I was able to complete my homework on the go and whenever I had time to do so.”

At VHS, Laura loved being able to create her own schedule to pace herself through her courses. Having 24/7 access to her courses and the ability to complete her tests, assignments, and exams at anytime meant that she had more time to spend training at Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto. Her dedication to the art of ballet earned her numerous scholarships and scores of distinction on Royal Academy of Dance exams.

Laura’s love of ballet expanded into her passion for volunteering when she began teaching children’s dance lessons both in school and at dance classes. Beyond dance, Laura takes up any opportunity to get involved with her local community and even helped lay the foundation for some of our student community sessions at VHS. If you’ve ever joined a book club gathering or meet-and-greet, you have Laura to thank for her enthusiasm to connect with others!

When asked who inspires her to reach for the stars and work as hard as she does to achieve the success that she’s experienced, Laura points to her mother:

“She is the most hardworking person I know. She moved to Canada from Romania to seek a better life for herself and her children. She came to this country not knowing the language, but she managed to push herself through a business degree while raising two children and living in a new country. She is so inspiring, and I aspire to be half as hardworking as she is.”

With that kind of support in her corner, Laura received entrance to York University’s Biomedical Science program for fall 2022. This comes as no surprise since her favourite subjects are biology and kinesiology. With the goal of one day attending medical school, Laura chose York’s program because of its emphasis on human biology with courses on physiology, neuroscience, and anatomy. York will also help prepare her to write the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) when she’s ready!

So how did Laura succeed at VHS to set herself up for a great undergraduate experience at York? She offered up some advice for other VHS students!

  1. Make use of the different course options. You have up to 18 months to complete each course, but you can also select some Fast Track courses (like Laura did) to get faster teacher response times for tight deadlines.
  2. Review feedback from your teacher on previous assignments when planning for future assignments.
  3. Use the Student Academic Support service. Laura recommends one-on-one SAS sessions with our academic coaches for students who are visual learners. SAS coaches will walk you through examples and can use visual aids to help explain concepts in further detail, which Laura says she found great for subjects like chemistry and physics.

“VHS has helped me to become an independent learner. This is a very useful skill as lots of learning done in post-secondary education is done independently.”

This wonderful independent learner is now off to spread her wings and take Toronto by storm. We know how excited Laura is to immerse herself in her big city life, but we can’t help but miss having her smiling face and wry sense of humour light up our Zoom sessions around here!

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