Trying to graduate high school can be a long and difficult process. In addition to homework, writing essays and taking tests, you have to cope with relationships, parents, after school activities and finding a part-time job. Sometimes the stress of family problems and economic hardships is so great that it prevents a teenager from finishing high school and receiving a diploma. Fortunately, students who have completed only two or three years of high school can now earn a diploma by obtaining the credits they need by enrolling inĀ online high school classes.
What is a General Equivalency Diploma?
Although the high school diploma you earn online will not be one that states you have graduated from the high school you once attended, it will be every bit as valid as any diploma given to students who completed four years of high school. Referred to as a general equivalency diploma, this certificate confirms that you have earned enough credits to be considered a high school graduate. State credit requirements vary but most are between 19 and 24 credits.
The online high school graduate will need to accumulate a certain amount of credits in math, English, history and science before they receive a valid diploma. The remainder of the credits earned come from electives such as languages, art or business classes.
Students with an online high school diploma can use it just like a traditionally earned diploma–to get a job or to continue their education by attending a community college or four-year university. Many online schools that offer classes for obtaining a high school diploma are vocational or technical schools that also provide online instruction for trades such as paralegal, auto repair, computer specialist and cosmetology.
Useful Information about Online High School
- It usually takes less than a year to earn the credits you need to receive a high school diploma. However, classes are styled so that you can complete them at your own pace so there is no stress involved with adhering to a strict schedule. Some students may finish class assignments and take the GED exam within several weeks of beginning the course, depending on the time and effort spent on classes.
- Cost of tuition is low, with most accredited online high schools offering payment programs and/or need-based scholarships to reduce expenses
- An online high school will accept all previously earned credits as long as the credits can be verified by obtaining copies of all high school transcripts
- Classes and associated material are accessible any time of the day or night. Instructors, tutors and counselors working for the virtual school are also available via email or phone to answer questions and help with assignments when needed.
- Some online high schools will apply certain parenting/life/work experience credits towards earning a high school diploma. The majority of students taking classes through an online high school originally had to leave school before graduating due to work or family concerns, which naturally gives them more learned experience with real-life issues.
Benefits of Earning a General Equivalency Diploma
In addition to providing greater access to employment and educational opportunities, people who have a GED have been proven statistically to enjoy much higher annual salaries than those without a high school diploma. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a high school graduate can expect to typically earns between $1.3 and $1.5 million in a lifetime; people without high school diplomas may expect to make much less than one million dollars during their working years.
With a high school diploma, however, you have the opportunity to pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree, which currently has an earning potential of around $2.2 million in a lifetime.
Get Your GED As Soon As Possible
Research studies into students who return to school in order to obtain a high school diploma have found that the longer someone delays in getting their GED, the harder it is for them to successfully complete an online high school program. Much of the information you learned while still attending a traditional high school may become lost due to non-use and will need to be re-learned. This may increase the amount of time you need to spend studying for tests that you probably could have passed within a year or two of leaving your regular high school.
Educational professionals also recommend returning to school as soon as possible to get your high school diploma so that you will not be as likely to miss valuable educational opportunities made available to you. Don’t miss taking advantage of a good job offer just because you delayed enrolling in an online high school.