- How do I apply?
You can begin the admissions process by attending one or all of our optional virtual events ****that are designed to help you get to know Sora. These include Coffee Chat with Sora Admissions, a Parent Meeting, and an Open House.
The first official step is to complete an online application which can be found here. This allows you to submit the parent and student questionnaires, upload the student video, transcripts or academic records, and schedule the student interview.
We require that an application be completed and submitted prior to your child’s Zoom interview. After you successfully submit the application and upload or send transcripts or academic records and schedule your student interview, we will meet with your student over Zoom where we get to know them and learn about their interests, learning style, potential career aspirations, and more.
If you are applying for Flexible Tuition, you will have the opportunity to complete the Flexible Tuition application at the same time you submit the application for admission.
All items on the Admissions Checklist must be completed before the Admissions Committee will review your application and render a decision.
- Is there a deadline for applying?
There are no application deadlines at Sora. We accept applications for our unique Virtual High School (Grades 9–12) throughout the year using a rolling admissions process. Our admissions process evaluates applications as they are received versus waiting to evaluate all applications after a hard deadline.
Additionally, families can enroll students in our program at any time once they’ve been accepted. Families should indicate when they would like to have their student begin at Sora when completing the application for admission
- How can I learn more about Sora Schools?
We offer a variety of ways for you to get to know Sora. All experiences are optional and you are welcome to sign up for one, or all of these events. Each virtual event is designed to provide you with a different perspective of Sora, as well as opportunities to connect with our community. We encourage you to attend multiple virtual events to experience Sora yourself!
- A Coffee Chat is an informal way to begin learning about the exciting opportunities available for your student from a member of the Admissions Team.
- A Parent Meeting allows you to connect individually with an Admissions Team Member to discuss our program further and so we can learn about your student.
- Through an Open House, your student will have the opportunity to see what it’s like to attend our school for a day.
- Are test scores or entrance exams required for admission?
No. Just as we don’t use traditional tests for assessment of students at Sora, we also do not use them in the admissions process. We evaluate applicants based on a number of other materials that they share including, the application, student video, transcripts or academic records, and the student interview.
- What are you looking for in an applicant?
Our unique virtual high school seeks to enroll motivated, intellectually curious, and open-minded students who are eager to explore the world.
If you’re looking for a high school that believes in hands-on learning, personalizes students’ education to their individual styles, strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations, ensures academic breadth in students in the subjects of math, history, science, and English, builds strong professionally-oriented skills and life skills, and prepares students for their future careers and higher education, then Sora will be a perfect fit for your student!
- What is a parent meeting?
A parent meeting is an opportunity to connect individually with an Admissions Team Member to discuss our program further and so we can learn about your student. We will speak with you to understand what you’re looking for in your student’s education and provide you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about our unique virtual high school. A parent meeting is scheduled for 20-minutes and is conducted over the phone. You can quickly schedule a meeting here.
- What can we expect during our student’s interview?
Student interviews are 30-minute conversations with a member of the Admissions Team in which we get to know candidates better, asking about their interests, favorite and least favorite subjects, preferred learning style, potential career aspirations, and more. Interviews take place over Zoom using a link we provide via email prior to their scheduled date and time.
- How many students attend Sora?
Sora currently enrolls over 41 motivated, intellectually curious, and open-minded high school students. While we have students all over the United States, we have clusters of students around Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles. We’re constantly growing, so you can expect us to have more students in your area in the future.
- How much is tuition?
Sora offers academic high school programs for both full-time and part-time students. Sora’s full-time, year-round program costs between $400 and $800 a month (dependent on family income). The cost provides all-inclusive enrollment in our private virtual high school. Upon graduation, we will issue an official Sora mastery-based transcript for students.
Sora’s part-time programs cost between $300 and $500 (dependent on family income) a month and includes project based learning in an academic area of your choice (STEM or Humanities). The part-time program focuses on designing and managing projects in the selected area for students, general career exposure and discovery, and involvement in the Sora student body and community at large.
- Does Sora offer Tuition Assistance?
Yes. If needed, Tuition Assistance is available for families that apply to, and qualify for, our need-based Flexible Tuition program. Sora is determined to provide bright, motivated, curious students with a world-class education. Families wishing to be considered for Flexible Tuition must apply at the time of completing their application for admission. To help us objectively calculate what a family is able to contribute to educational expenses, families applying for Flexible Tuition are asked to complete an online financial form, which is submitted to the Flexible Tuition Committee for review before calculating the eligible tuition rate. Sora encourages all families to apply for Flexible Tuition if they think they may qualify. To learn more about our Flexible Tuition program, click here.
- When will I be notified of my admissions decision?
The Admissions Committee thoroughly reviews each candidate’s file and takes into consideration all aspects that will determine their admission to the school. Typically, we will be able to share an admissions decision within one week of the completion of an applicant’s file. A complete file will consist of an application, a student interview, and receipt of the student’s transcripts or academic records.
- Is Sora accredited?
Yes, Sora is fully accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Learn more about why accreditation matters here.
- Does Sora accept international students?
Sora is only currently available to U.S. students, but we hope to launch worldwide in Fall 2021. To be notified when Sora becomes available internationally, please fill out this form to join the waitlist!
- How do you assess students’ work? Do they get grades?
Sora is a mastery-based system. If you’re not familiar with that term, it’s a way to continuously assess students, as opposed to the spot checking method of traditional grading. That means that students at Sora aren’t subject to a high stakes testing environment. If they do a project and fail to demonstrate they’ve done it properly or learned the embedded academic standards, they can always try again and improve.
In the mastery system, we assign students a number based on the level of competency they’ve demonstrated in that particular standard. On that 0 to 3 scale, 0 means they have no idea what the concept is, 1 means they have a general understanding of the concept, like its definition, 2 means they’ve been exposed to the concept multiple times, and 3 means they’ve applied that concept and have demonstrated that they know how to use it in a specific context.
If and when students apply to college, we use the Mastery Transcript Consortium’s format, which is a collection of top schools in the US on the mastery system that all use the same mastery transcript so colleges understand the rigor and nature of the programs, like our own.
- What are these “Learning Expeditions”?
Learning Expeditions are active learning experiences designed by our Learning Experts. These expeditions are held a couple of times per week and center on a topic based on community level interest.
An example of an expedition is one our STEM Learning Expert is holding at the start of the school year: it’s called The World Ocean, and in this expedition students explore the world’s oceans and the hydrosphere and have to justify the designation of a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) in order to protect the ocean in a certain scenario.
These expeditions are somewhat similar to a class, but they aren’t lectures. They’re socratic discussions, projects, labs, and things of that nature. They typically take place over the course of a few weeks, after of which the expeditions change and new ones are offered, sometimes on new topics, sometimes on further exploration of previous expedition topics.
- So there are no tests? How will they be ready to take standardized admissions tests like the SAT/ACT?
Correct, we don’t use traditional tests for assessment at Sora. That being said, while we are idealistic in our educational philosophy, we are also very pragmatic in what it takes to prepare students for their futures.
For students who are college-bound, we prepare them to take standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. Older students take part in a test bootcamp, outside of their normal academic work, that lasts for a couple of months and involves learning test taking strategies and taking practice tests and drilling on practice questions. In doing so, we make sure to prepare them to do well on those tests.
- What’s the day to day schedule like?
The day to day schedule generally falls between 9AM and 3PM. However, it’s not like a traditional high school schedule, where students have block period schedules and are continuously sitting in class for several hours. It’s much more similar to college, where students will have some required meetings and expeditions and the like throughout the day, with breaks and gaps in between. Some days will be busier than others. We do this so that students have time for both synchronous activities and asynchronous work.
- If a student does your non-traditional program, will they be prepared for college?
Yes, they certainly will be. Our assessment and approach may be non-traditional, but our program is rigorous where it counts and really pushes students. We still prepare them for standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. We also provide college preparatory services, helping them to complete their college applications, search for the right college for their intended field of study, and overall think about their future academic and career paths.
Additionally, we’ll reach out to the colleges and universities that the students want to apply to and do everything we can to strengthen their application and candidacy when the time comes.
- Is there a way for my student to try out your program before committing?
Yes! As part of our admissions process, we encourage students to participate in one of our Open Houses. It’s essentially a virtual school visit, where they get to learn about our program firsthand by observing a learning expedition and meeting some students and faculty at Sora. There’s usually one every month, and you can sign up for the next event here.
- Do students in your school ever meet in person?
All academic instruction and general school operations happen virtually at Sora. However, students located near each other can certainly get together socially on their own outside of school!