What is accreditation and why is it important?

Accreditation supports school development and improvement as schools evaluate their programs and policies. When schools meet the requirements or criteria set forth by the outside accrediting organization or agency, they are given accreditation. For you as parents, having your child attend an accredited school is important because it ensures that other schools, universities, and colleges will recognize and accept your child’s credits or high school diploma.

Accreditation is a quality assurance process that certifies educational institutions or programs for achieving and maintaining commonly recognized high standards. In other words, it’s a validation of an institution’s quality and integrity. An external group of faculty and administrators, selected by the accreditor, evaluates the institution according to set standards. Everything from academic quality and student services to financial health is considered in this peer-review process. Accreditation also requires institutions and programs to continually improve.

Accreditation is a mark of trustworthiness of a school’s academic program. Once a school is accredited by one of the six regional accrediting bodies, such as WASC, it is looked at by other schools and institutions of higher education as a trusted school whose transcripts are then readily accepted by all other accredited schools. While international students from unaccredited schools are able to apply for entrance into schools and universities in America and abroad, the stamp of approval from WASC indicating that a school is accredited makes the transfer and application process much more fluid.

What is WASC?

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is one of six regional associations that accredit public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the United States. Through its peer review processes, WASC confirms that an institution as a whole has in place the resources and practices to achieve its educational goals and has provided evidence of the quality of its educational programs.

The WASC accreditation process is a multi-year endeavor that includes:

  • earning Eligibility
  • earning Candidacy
  • earning Initial Accreditation.