High School Diplomas and GEDs are NOT the Same.
Sooner or later, every student will hear about a friend, classmate, family member or someone else who “got their GED.” On the surface, it often seems like a quicker, easier way to finish high school. After all, that person doesn’t have to show up to class anymore; they can do whatever they want. Right? The truth is not that simple. If you really dig in to the truth of the High School Diploma vs. GED argument, you’ll see that a fully accredited high school diploma offers more benefits and opens more doors than the typical GED or equivalency credential. That’s because the two achievements are very different, and that’s by design.
Understanding the GED
Most people assume that GED stands for General Equivalency Diploma or Graduate Equivalency Degree. In actuality GED stands for a specific pathway for demonstrating minimum high school learning mastery – the General Education Development test. That’s right, it’s a certification that you took a test that covers most basic minimum-level high school curriculum and you passed. It has four sections: Math, Reading/Writing, Social Studies, and Science.
Depending on the state where you live, the cost to take the GED ranges from $30 per section to more than $40 per section, which means taking all four sections often costs at least $120. A few states offer assistance programs and grants to students from challenging financial backgrounds, and most will allow a certain number of free re-takes of a given section (usually two). There are some free resources and practice tests online, but many in-person GED prep classes cost additional money (though some free resources may exist for qualified individuals). At the end of it all, students who pass the GED receive credentials – NOT a diploma, which they can then provide to employers or other groups requiring proof of completing high school.
The High School Diploma – A Higher Standard
The GED may be a good fit for students who repeatedly struggled with high school and simply need a way to show they have fulfilled their high school requirement. It is not a good fit for students who are simply “tired” of high school, those who wish to go to college, or those who want full opportunities for advancement within their careers. Many employers now insist upon an accredited high school diploma before moving up past entry-level to any sort of management position. Even the local stock-person, mall cashier, or restaurant server is typically required to have a high school diploma before becoming an assistant or shift manager. What’s more, for those wishing to pursue trade school for jobs like mechanic, electrician, dental hygienist, computer programmer, or other positions, a high school diploma is a non-negotiable requirement.
For students who have worked hard to be at the top of their academic classes, the GED will not reflect the level of learning they have achieved. Remember, it shows mastery of minimum requirements only. So, ambitious students who think the GED gets them to college coursework faster will quickly find that it limits their options rather than expanding them. In fact, for the vast majority of colleges and universities, a high school diploma is the best way for students to demonstrate they know what it takes to be a self-directed learner and play an active role in their own education. Very few students will graduate from high school with grades good enough for college without taking at least a little bit of personal responsibility for completing assignments on time and studying the course material. Without a high school diploma on hand for the college application process, the road to advancing your education becomes a lot slower and more difficult to navigate.
Citizens High School is a Smarter Way to Earn Your High School Diploma
We understand that the traditional high school model doesn’t fit every student. We also appreciate that just because some students need to have jobs, care for family members, or raise their own children, it doesn’t mean their only option is to drop out and give up on their high school diploma. All too often, students and parents are led to believe that night school and GED programs are the only options that exist – but that’s only true for bricks-and-mortar schools.
Citizens High School offers a regionally and nationally accredited online platform that gives students not just one, but three different ways to earn a fully accredited high school diploma:
- Career or Job Track – a fully accredited diploma that meets the requirements of employers and trade schools alike.
- College Track – a fully accredited diploma with a little additional coursework typically expected for admission to most 4-year colleges and universities.
- Individual Classes – make-up credits or get ahead with accredited classes that can be transferred to a local high school to fulfill graduation requirements.
Because Citizens High School is a fully accredited high school – our courses and our diploma are fully accredited as well. Choosing to study with CHS does not mean you’re opting for the GED, it means you are deciding to take control of your educational experience by learning online instead of attending school in person. Our robust, fully online platform that can be accessed any time, in any location with an internet connection… and provides everything you need for earning your legitimate high school diploma.
*Citizens High School recommends consulting your local high school’s guidance counselor or curriculum advisor to receive pre-approval for transfer of CHS credits. We will provide all necessary transcripts and documentation to streamline this process.