Article - Credentials for College:

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 programs.

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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