Sora vs. James Madison: Which School is Best for You?

Sora vs. James Madison: Which School is Best for You?

This week we’re continuing our series of online school comparisons. If you’re interested in finding a quality virtual school experience for your child but are overwhelmed by all the options, this is the perfect series for you. We’ll guide you through key considerations to compare online schools.

We’ve already assessed popular schools like Stanford University High School and Laurel Springs, as well as Mizzou and George Washington.

This week we’ll compare Sora and James Madison Online High School, so that you can walk away with confidence in which school is best for your child.


If you’ve relied on the public school system for your child’s education needs, you might not have needed to consider accreditation before. After all, public schooling is a simple matter of where you live and which schools are physically located in your district. But once you expand your options beyond where you live, a whole spectrum of education options open up to you. There are a lot of fantastic options on this spectrum that can give your child a better education than what your local options have to offer. But you also have to know how to spot the suboptimal options out there.

The easiest way to weed out the first round of schools into the “Do Not Consider” pile is through accreditation. If an online school isn’t accredited, don’t consider it. Accreditation is the gold standard for quality assurance. Considering an accredited school means that you’re considering a school that has been professionally assessed and approved for maintaining the basic standards of education.

Both Sora and James Madison receive the check on this mark. Sora is accredited by the Western Association, and James Madison is accredited by Cognia

Academic Selection

Parents who love online school for their children tend to show enthusiasm over its greater academic selection. Do you feel like your local school options are limiting your child’s growth? Parents across the country are worried about their children falling behind during the pandemic. 

James Madison falls a bit short in this area. Its curriculum consists of the bare-bones standards for completing a high school degree. For instance, Pre-Calculus is the highest level math course offered, which isn’t ideal for students who aspire to apply for competitive colleges in a STEM field. It also offers limited, basic electives like Personal Finance and Public Speaking. 

On the other hand, one of Sora’s greatest strengths is its colorful, customizable curriculum. Sora was designed as a career-focused, student-centered learning experience that empowers students to pursue their passions through flexible academics. Sora gives students the option to pursue a Career Track, which gives them invaluable early experience in their prospective field. Students who opt for the Engineering Track conduct projects in hardware, biomedical, mechanical, and computer engineering. In the Design Track, students gain experience in areas like graphic design, architectural interior design, and illustration. 

Sora’s faculty partner with students to build a personal portfolio containing their specialized work, so that they can stand out in the crowd of college applicants. 


James Madison makes online education highly affordable. Its yearly tuition for full-time enrollment is about $1,600, which is quite low compared to most online high schools. Additionally, it provides flexibility for payment plans without additional interest. 

Sora also values making quality education accessible through affordability. Thanks to its Flexible Tuition program, about 50% of currently enrolled students benefit from a discounted tuition. Depending on household income, students at Sora can expect to pay from $4,800 to $9,600, which is still far more affordable than many top online schools.

Which School is Best for Your Child?

At the end of the day, the case between Sora and James Madison is a classic, “You get what you pay for,” scenario. 

Student reviews of James Madison are mostly positive. Most agree that their teachers care about them and give engaging lessons. But only “33% of students and parents agree that students at this school are competitive.” If your main goal is to get your child through high school without any bells or whistles, James Madison is definitely an affordable option.

But if you’re able to pay a little more each year, Sora will help your child become more competitive among college applicants. At Sora, your child will have exclusive access to Industry Mentors to explore career paths that they’re passionate about. If you’re interested in learning more about what enrolling at Sora could look like for your child, click here to speak with our admissions team.

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