What Can I Do with a High School Diploma?
A high school education is important in preparing students for higher
academic work and for basic employability for students who decide not to attend
college. While college graduates earn more than high school graduates,
full-time workers with a high school diploma earn about $7,000 more each year
than high school dropouts. A high school diploma is also required by most
community colleges for earning an associate’s degree, and by most trade and
technical schools. Even if you don’t plan on attending college now, you
may change your mind in the future. Getting a high school diploma will
ensure that you can further your education if you decide to attend college or
vocational school later.
What about a GED?
GED stands for General Education Degree, and it is an alternative to a
traditional high school education. In order to be awarded a GED in lieu of
a high school diploma, a student must pass a skills test that measures reading,
writing, arithmetic, and other crucial subjects taught in high school.
High school and community college academic advisors can provide you with
information about studying for and taking the GED exam. A GED can be substituted
for a high school diploma when enrolling to take classes at the community
college or vocational school level, but four-year colleges and universities
often require a graded high school transcript for admission. If you earn a
GED instead of a high school diploma, you can first attend community college
before transferring to a four-year university.
Is College Right for Me?
Before making plans to end your formal education, it is well worth your time
to sit down with an academic counselor to discuss your career and education
options. You might find that you are interested in a career path that
requires a college education, or you may find that paying for a college
education is not entirely out of your reach. A college education is an
investment in your future, and you may be surprised to find that there are many
resources available that can help you choose a course of study and finance your
college education. Consider taking an educational and career assessment to
determine your academic strengths and weakness, and to learn more about the
types of careers that might be appealing. Doing this will give you a better idea
of whether or not to pursue a college education.
What if I Decide Not to Attend College?
Even if you decide not to attend college right now, earning a high school
diploma leaves the door open if you change your mind later. In the
meantime, try volunteering in a field that interests you, and form positive
relationships with teachers and volunteer supervisors. They can provide
valuable references for you when you apply for jobs. Try getting hired as
an intern or an entry level worker in a field that you might enjoy. If you
prove yourself competent on the job, you may be able to advance to higher
positions through on-the-job-training, resulting in better pay and better job
prospects in the long run. As you advance in your career, you may find
that you develop a clearer picture of your interests and goals, and returning to
school later on might become an attractive option.
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