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  Category: Articles » Education & Reference » Article

GED or High School Diploma? What's Best for You?

By Leonard Williams

My best advice: If you're still in high school, stay and finish. You will make more money, get better jobs and feel better about yourself with a high school diploma. No one has ever been sorry they didn't finish high school.

But if it's too late for that and you left high school without a diploma, what are your options?

Can you still get a High School Diploma?

A few accredited schools offer extended high school diplomas, but they are costly and the programs take several years. Many "internet schools" claim to offer high school diplomas in a few weeks (some even days!) with a quick test. Be very wary of these. They are fakes; all you receive is phony diploma that means nothing. These are diploma mills. They're in the printing business, not the education business.

Is the GED the best choice?

The GED or General Education Development was created in 1942 for people who were not able to finish high school. The GED is considered equal to a high school diploma by 97% of colleges and universities, and virtually all businesses. GED means high school diploma.

The GED diploma is issued by your state when you complete the 7- hour set of five tests in person at a test center. The American Council on Education, the people who write the GED, authorizes each state to administer the standardized GED exams. So wherever you live you take the same GED tests.

What are the advantages of a GED?

1. People with a GED make $480,000 more in their lifetime than people without a GED. That averages out to $12,000 a year more income for you. Not a bad raise!

2. A GED will help you get a better job. Employers would rather hire someone who has the basic skills to pass the GED test than someone who doesn't. Completing the GED means that the graduate has the fortitude to successfully finish a difficult exam. The GED is not a small thing!

3. You can get a GED quickly and inexpensively. Most community colleges offer GED classes and there are excellent programs online.

4. Passing the GED test will make you more valuable to your employer because you'll have gained basic writing and math skills in addition to demonstrating critical thinking and knowledge application. You'll find it's easier to get a work promotion or advance through workplace job-training programs once you have your GED.

5. Having the GED opens doors for advanced training. Most specialized training programs require either a high school diploma or a GED. And with a GED, you can look at higher educational opportunities.

6. You'll feel better about yourself with a GED because you've accomplished something that only 60% of high school graduates can do.

7. Finally, consider the impact of your educational achievement on your family. That alone goes a long way; it's priceless.

GED or high school? Really there's only one choice for most people. Getting a GED is the quickest, easiest and simplest way to improve the opportunities in your life.

2006 Essential Education Corporation /
About the Author
Leonard Williams, an e-learning instructor with, is also a curriculum specialist who focuses on research and development, implementation and assessment of best-practice learning solutions for adult learners and people with educational challenges. Leonard's email is

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  Some other articles by Leonard Williams
The GED Test: How Hard Is It?
The GED is the General Education Development credential, the adult learner's alternative to a high school diploma. But many people don't understand the difficulty and value of the GED test, the testing ...

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