Should You Finish High School Or Take The GED Exam?

You obtain a high school diploma after completing four years of secondary education, while the GED diploma is attained 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 proving that you possess the knowledge and skills of a high school graduate. Getting hold of either means that you are ready to study in college or work for a job that requires high school level education. There are untoward reasons why many students drop out of high school and are unable to receive a secondary education diploma and therefore take the GED exam.

Why Do Students Drop Out Of High School?

In a study conducted by Statistic Brain in 2015, it was indicated that every year, 3 million students in the U.S. drop out of high school. At Clemson University, the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network cited that some of the major reasons why students drop out of secondary school are family-related, school-related and employment-related. In particular, the following are the reasons why a student may be unable to finish high school:

  1. An illness that made him/her miss too many school days
  2. Conflicts with other students or their teachers
  3. Teen pregnancy or early parenthood
  4. Needing to work in order to support their family
  5. Getting bored with their studies
  6. Financial problems
  7. No parental support

If a student drops out of secondary school because of these and other reasons, their next option is to take the GED exam. As a high school equivalency credential, the GED is recognized in all the 50 states- the only one of its kind. The GED exam includes 4 subjects: Math, Science, Social Studies and Reasoning Through Language Arts. The whole time duration of this test is 7.5 hours, but you have the option to take each subject separately on different days. You can take the GED if you are at least 17 years old and are not currently enrolled in high school.

Use Your GED Credential For The Right Reasons

Both the secondary education diploma and the GED diploma qualify you to be someone who has the skills and knowledge of a high school graduate. However, the real difference lies when you apply for college or a job. The prospective colleges and employers that you apply to will tend to ask you why you took the GED. To gain their favor, you have to inform your future college or employer that you are holding a GED diploma for the right reasons. The key to achieving your educational or career goals is to provide a solid reason why you took the GED instead of finishing high school.

So if, for example, money problems have made you decide to quit secondary school, you can tell your prospective 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 land a better job. As much as possible, you want to give the impression that you are a driven and responsible individual.

If you’re planning to take the GED so you can finish your college education earlier, it is best to consult the matter with your school guidance counselor. This way, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the pros and cons of your decisions.

If you think that taking the GED is the right option for you, aim to pass it with flying colors. Don’t settle for a mediocre or passing score, especially if you want to study in a well-merited college or university. Many schools consider GED scores that are above the passing rate. It thus makes sense to adhere to an effective test prep program that includes GED study guides, joining online classes and taking GED practice tests to boost your chances of achieving your best score.