While a high school diploma alone won’t get you into the college of your
dreams, it is an important requirement for many state and four year accredited
colleges. If you don’t have a diploma to present with your admission
application, be prepared to show proof of your learning capabilities through
some other form of testing or training.
1) All colleges that offer bachelor and masters degrees, will ask for a copy
of your high school diploma. Many are interested in not only your grade point
average in high school but also the type of courses you completed. There are
several college degrees that require a strong background in both math and
science. If you haven’t completed the prerequisites for some programs, you may
be required to take prep courses that don’t actually apply toward your degree
but instead help ensure you will be able to handle college level coursework.
2) Currently enrolled high school students are often allowed to take college
courses without a diploma, but this is one of the few exceptions to the rule.
These students have demonstrated excellence in their high school courses and may
need more challenging classes than are offered at the high school level. Usually
all that is needed for these students to attend is a letter or permission slip
signed by their parents.
3) A GED or General Equivalency Diploma is a certificate awarded to students
who have not completed high school but are able to demonstrate they have the
same level of skills acquired by completion of a high school study program. In
order to receive a GED, students much pass a test that covers the following
subjects: Language Arts, Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Most
employers and colleges will accept a GED as the equivalent to a high school
diploma but there are some disadvantages. A GED does not provide proof of your
skills in a specific course. For example, you can still pass the GED and not
have a solid background in high school Biology.
4) Community colleges are not as strict in their admission requirements. Some
may not require proof of a high school diploma. However, in general, students
who complete a two-year program at a community college do not have the same
earning potential as those with a four-year degree or master’s degree. In order
to obtain a well paying job, you may need to complete coursework beyond an
associate degree level.
5) With the increasing number of parents choosing to home school their
children, more colleges are now being approached by students with a less
traditional background. Home schooling students usually do not earn a diploma
but instead can take the SAT or ACT tests to gain admission to a college
program. Unlike high school students, they may need to score better on college
tests to gain admission. However, most home schooling students do just as well
or better than the average high school student. There are several well known or
prestigious colleges that have accepted home school students into their
Although a high school diploma is not needed in all instances, it certainly
makes the college admission process a little simpler. Without a diploma, you
will most likely be subjected to further testing. A high school diploma is also
helpful because it compares you to other students just like in college. Upon
completion of your high school years, you will receive both a grade point
average and a class ranking.
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