High School Diploma or GED?

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There’s more than one way to prove your knowledge. While many students spend years earning their high school diplomas, others take a battery of tests in a single day and move on to college with a GED. But, is a GED as good as an actual diploma? And do colleges and employers really care which one you choose? Take a look at the hard facts before deciding how to complete your high school education:


Eligibility: Students who take the GED exams must not be enrolled in or graduated from high school, must be over the age of sixteen, and must meet other state requirements.

Requirements: The GED is awarded when a student passes a series of tests in five academic subjects. In order to pass each test, the student must score higher than 60% of the sample set of graduating seniors. Generally, students need to spend a considerable amount of time studying for the exams.

Length of study: Students are not required to take traditional courses in order to earn their GED. The examinations take seven hours and five minutes cumulatively. Students may need to take preparation courses in order to get ready for the exams. However, this is not mandatory.

Reception at the office: The majority of employers hiring at entry-level positions will consider a GED score as comparable to an actual diploma. A small number of employers will consider the GED inferior to a diploma. If a student continues school and receives a college degree, his employer will probably not even consider how he completed his high school education.

Reception at the college: Most community colleges admit students who have received a GED. Individual universities have their own policies. Many will accept students with a GED. However, some colleges will not view it as equivalent to a diploma, particularly if they require specialized courses of study for admittance.

In many instances, a traditional diploma will be viewed as superior.

High School Diploma

Eligibility: Laws vary from state to state, but most schools will permit students to work on completing their high school diploma at a traditional public school for 1-3 years after they turn eighteen. Special community schools and other programs often provide older students the opportunity to complete their work. School diplomas do not generally have minimum age requirements.

Requirements: In order to receive a diploma, students must complete coursework as dictated by their school district. Curriculum varies from district to district.

Length of study: Students generally take four years to complete their diploma.

Reception at the office: A high school diploma will allow students to operate in many entry-level positions. Generally, employees with diplomas will earn significantly more than those without. Students who wish to advance in a company may need to attend college for additional training.

Reception at the college: Most students admitted to colleges have earned a high school diploma. However, a diploma does not guarantee acceptance. Factors such as grade point average, coursework, and extracurricular activities will weigh into admissions decisions.



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Littlefield, Jamie. "High School Diploma or GED?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2016, thoughtco.com/high-school-diploma-or-ged-1098438. Littlefield, Jamie. (2016, August 26). High School Diploma or GED? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/high-school-diploma-or-ged-1098438 Littlefield, Jamie. "High School Diploma or GED?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/high-school-diploma-or-ged-1098438 (accessed April 25, 2018).