GED or high school diploma- which is right for your student? On the various homeschooling Facebook groups to which I belong, a frequent topic that comes up is the best way to graduate their child. Some people favor having their child take the GED and others say that awarding a homeschool diploma and transcript is the way to go.

Common reasons for people to be in favor of having their child take the GED are as follows:

  • Their child wants to graduate early.
  • They think that a GED will be more accepted than a homeschool diploma and homeschool transcript by colleges and employers.
  • They think that it will be easier or quicker than homeschooling for high school.
  • Their child is pushing to be independent and leave home early and may not complete high school if they don’t pursue a GED.

Let’s take each of these points one by one:

If your child wants to graduate early, there are ways that can be accomplished without taking the GED. Knowing your state’s requirements for graduation will allow you to help your student to accelerate their studies. Dual enrollment, where your child takes community college courses while they are in high school can be a big help. A one-semester college course is equivalent to a one-year high school course, which would allow your student to effectively cover two years of high school studies in one year’s time at community college AND earn college credit at the same time. Students will need to take an assessment exam to determine which college classes they are eligible to take. Each state has its own parameters for dual enrollment, but it can be a great tool for your homeschooled high school student who wants to graduate early.

Attitudes toward the GED can vary among employers and colleges. Though a GED is essentially equivalent to a high school diploma, some do not view it that way and there are a very few colleges don’t accept a GED. The colleges that don’t accept a GED will likely want the prospective student to have also taken a standardized test, such as the SAT or ACT. Another way to be accepted at a four-year university for a student with a GED is to take core classes at a community college prior to applying to college. A homeschool diploma and transcript do not usually face the same hurdles. Many colleges are quite familiar with homeschooling, appreciate homeschoolers for their uniqueness, and may even have a special admissions counselor who works with homeschooled applicants. A homeschool transcript is not a detriment to college admission.

A GED can take three months of study and taking the exam totals seven and a half hours total, which is less time than a four-year course of high school studies. If a student is not going to graduate or cannot complete high school due to extenuating circumstances, a GED may be the best choice. However there are a lot of social, emotional, and academic skills that a student learns and gains during the four years of high school that they would miss by getting through high school by taking the GED.

And then we have the situation where a child and parent are struggling and the child may not complete high school at all if they can’t take the GED. In this case, rather than continue struggling with your child, it may be best to help him or her to graduate by getting a GED. It’s more important to try to preserve or heal your relationship than to insist on a four-year high school route.

Whether a GED or a high school diploma is right for your child is for you and your family to decide. There is no one right way to graduate your child, just as there is no one right way to homeschool your child. It’s important to comply with your state’s requirements and make the decision that is most beneficial for your student and then enjoy watching them soar!