Should you finish high school or take the GED test?

You earn a high school diploma after completing four years of high school education, while a GED diploma is earned after taking a 7.5-hour exam. What’s the real deal between the two? Both a high school diploma and a GED diploma are credentials that prove you possess the knowledge and skills of a high school graduate. Earning either means you’re ready to attend college or work a job that requires a high school level education. There are undesirable reasons why many students drop out of high school and are unable to obtain a high school diploma and thus pass the GED exam.

Why do students drop out of high school?

In a study conducted by Statistic Brain in 2015, it was indicated that 3 million students in the United States drop out of high school every year. At Clemson University, the National School Dropout Prevention Center/Network indicated that some of the main reasons students drop out of high school are related to family, school, and employment. In particular, the following are the reasons why a student cannot finish high school:

  1. An illness that made him miss many school days
  2. Conflicts with other students or their teachers
  3. Teenage pregnancy or early parenthood
  4. The need to work in order to support their family
  5. Boredom from their studies
  6. financial problems
  7. There is no parental support

If a student withdraws from high school for these and other reasons, his or her next option is to take the GED exam. As a high school equivalent degree, the GED is recognized in all 50 states – and is the only one of its kind. The GED test includes 4 subjects: Math, Science, Social Studies, and Thinking Through Language Arts. The full duration of this test is 7.5 hours, but you have the option of taking each subject individually on different days. You can get a GED if you are at least 17 years old and not currently enrolled in high school.

Use your GED credential for the right reasons

Both the Secondary Education Diploma and the GED Diploma prepare you to be someone with the skills and knowledge of a high school graduate. However, the real difference is when you are applying for a college or a job. Potential colleges and employers to which you apply will tend to ask you why you have a GED. To win their favor, you need to inform your college or future employer that you hold a GED diploma for the right reasons. The key to achieving your educational or career goals is to provide a strong reason why you earned a GED rather than finished high school.

So, for example, if money problems drove you to drop out of high school, you can tell potential employers that you dropped out because you plan to go to college nonetheless. In the same way, you can also tell them that you want to get a better job. As much as possible, you want to give the impression that you are an enthusiastic and responsible person.

If you plan to take a GED so you can finish your college education early, it’s best to consult your school guidance counselor. This way, you will have a clearer understanding of the pros and cons of your decisions.

If you think taking the GED is the right option for you, aim to pass it with flying colors. Don’t settle for an average score or pass, especially if you want to study at a merit college or university. Many schools consider GED scores above the pass rate. Thus, it makes sense to stick to an effective test preparation program that includes GED study guides, join online classes and take GED practice tests to boost your chances of achieving your best score.

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