Can You Trust Online GED and High Schools?

The Options Are Growing But There Are Some Scams Out There

Man-in-Computer-Class-Streetangel-Cultura-Getty-Images-98353210.jpg
Streetangel - Cultura - Getty Images

The old adage that you get what you pay for doesn’t necessarily apply to online GED certificates and online high school equivalency diplomas. There are scads of websites out there just waiting to take hundreds or even thousands of your dollars for a piece of paper with a foil star on it that no college or university is going to recognize. You will have paid your hard-earned dollars for something that’s good only for hanging on your wall or throwing in a drawer.

GED Online

GED is a test you can take to earn a high school equivalency diploma if you didn't take four years of high school classes. There are plenty of GED-related websites out there -- but how do you know which online GED websites are trustworthy? It's actually pretty simple. Just follow these guidelines:

  1. Check out your library and state education department website to find recommended online GED prep sites. There are real GED sites with free courses and practice tests that are absolutely worth your while. 
  2. Be aware that while you may legitimately choose to pay a little extra for personal online support -- but you should never have to pay a prep site more than $25 a month at the absolute most.
  3. Be aware that the cost of taking the actual GED test is never more than about $150.
  4. Know that no legitimate site will offer a chance to take the actual GED test online. Yes, there are computer-based sections of the test, but the test is ONLY offered at in-person testing sites.

    High School Diplomas Online

    There are a great many legitimate high school courses and accredited online high schools. Some of them are available to state residents free of charge -- and you can learn about your local options through your state's education department's website. You can also pay some accredited online schools and earn your high school diploma.There are some interested "virtual schools" out there that use "gamified" teaching tools, and some are both fun and legitimate.

    It's worth taking a look at what's available, but be absolutely sure your school of choice is accredited.

    It is important to know that websites like Kahn Academy offer terrific academic resources -- but do not necessarily offer actual diplomas. This means that while you might use their sites to help you learn, you will probably need to go elsewhere to earn your actually high school degree.

    GetEducated.com

    There is a website designed to help you determine which online learning sites are legitimate. GetEducated.com was founded in 1989 by Vicky Phillips, a psychologist and educator. Her site includes a Diploma Mill Police page that allows you to check on any online institution you’re thinking about attending. Phillips also has a school finder and a page on financial help. Phillips says, “Don’t get ripped off. Get educated!”

    The Most Important Guideline to Remember

    It's important to realize that while you can study online for your GED/HSE, and take practice tests online, you cannot take the test online. Don't be scammed here. In 2014, the test was updated to computer-based, but this should not be confused with "online." You still need to go to a certified testing center and take your test there, on a computer.