GED vs. High School Diploma: What is the Difference and is one Better than the Other?



Many of you may be asking, what even is a GED?  A GED is a certificate an individual can receive upon passing as general knowledge test.  This certificate, in theory, takes the place of a high school diploma for those who drop out of high school.


The primary advantage of earning such a certificate are clear.  The GED is much faster to complete than a high school diploma and, therefore, leads to a quicker path to a job.  For those in extreme circumstances in which they are unable to complete high school or who dropped out when they were young, this is an ideal opportunity.


The disadvantages of such a choice, however, may outweigh those advantages.  There is a stigma that goes along with earning a GED.  Those who choose a GED over a diploma miss out on critical life experience that prepares individuals for success in both college and career.  The high school experience encourages the development of motivation and long-term dedication.  Based on research done by the American Council of Education, 77% of those who earn a GED over a diploma drop out after the first semester of college.  Those who go into the military with a GED are required to have a fairly high score as dropout rates for GED holders is much higher than for those with a high school diploma (Best Schools).


Another disadvantage is that a GED is not as widely accepted by colleges and universities.  The number of colleges who accept the GED has increased in recent years but there is still approximately 5% that do not.  Most international schools do not accept GED certificates at all.  Earning potential as well as the potential to get hired are also significantly lower for GED holders than for high school graduates.  Again, many GED holders struggle to remain motivated and dedicated in their work and, therefore, struggle to maintain a steady job.


Beyond that, the test itself is much more difficult than people tend to believe.  The purpose of the test is to cover everything an individual would be expected to learn over four years of high school.  It’s split into four sections: language arts, mathematical reasoning, science, and social studies.  In order to pass, an individual must receive a score that is on the same level or higher than approximately 60% of high school seniors.  Those who desire to take the GED test must plan time to study.  Practice tests are available online and GED classes are also available in many adult education centers as well as online.


In the end, a high school diploma really is the best decision.  Not only does it enable individuals to gain the knowledge they need, it also enables them to develop important life skills and prepares them for both postsecondary education and career.  While it does take a long time to complete, it increases an individual’s future potential in both earning and acceptance into higher education.  Even if the classroom setting is not for you, online high school opportunities are equally beneficial.


















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