Should a Homeschooler take the GED?

ged_250x251Homeschooling parents often ask me about the General Equivalency Diploma, should they or should they not have their student take the GED? This can be a touchy subject, but the answer is pretty straight forward. Colleges and universities have a general bias towards those students with a GED certificate instead of a high school diploma. It really doesn’t matter the reason the student received a GED, whether homeschooled or not.

When a student is applying for admission and doesn’t have a high school diploma, it says to the admissions office that this student flunked out, dropped out, was kicked out, or wasn’t dedicated enough to graduate high school. The last thing you should want for your student is to be lumped in with this group!

Since homeschoolers are some of the brightest and most academically gifted students in the country, don’t demean yourself by stooping to the level of the GED. If you keep accurate records and transcripts, most universities won’t even ask to see a diploma. If you do wish to provide one for your student, check out Home School Diploma for custom made diplomas and other graduation goodies designed specifically for homeschoolers.

It is possible that you may run across a college biased against or ignorant of homeschooling who will require your student to take the GED before the application is considered for admission. If you encounter this, look for another school. The GED is for high school drop-outs, and homeschoolers are far from drop-outs! Although now a much rarer occurrence, it does still happen, and when it does, can be very disconcerting for many parents and students. Don’t play into this game. Rise above it and prove your student is well above this inferior academic level. Don’t take it personally, they just don’t know. If you want to try and educate them, go ahead, but many times it’s easier to save the headaches and simply move on to another school.

So, to recap, don’t take the GED, unless you feel it’s easier than fighting with the school who requires it, and you don’t mind your student being categorized with high school drop-outs.

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  1. Many people think that the “E” in GED stands for “equivalent,” believing the alternative credential is supposed to be like a high-school diploma. They are wrong on two counts — the GED stands for General Education Development certification, and there is nothing about this certification that is equivalent to a high-school diploma.

    • Although “General Educational Development” is the technical name, the more popular term is General Equivalency Diploma. It is also referred to as General Education Diploma, and a Graduate Equivalency Degree. If you care to re-read the post, you’ll see that the GED is not being condoned, but discouraged for homeschooled students to take it.

  2. I think I understand that you are making the point that homeschoolers should not feel that their education is inferior. What I don’t understand is how people in the education field would be so biased against all students who take the GED. The comments describing students who take the GED are pretty negative ( this student flunked out, dropped out, was kicked out, or wasn’t dedicated enough to graduate high school), and I’m sorry to tell you that this is wrong for large numbers of intelligent students. You must remember that stereotypes are just stereotypes, and are not usually accurate when you stop to consider individual people and the wide variety of circumstances impacting each unique life. Many intelligent, motivated and deserving people are thankful for the chance to take the GED and move forward with higher education. Keep up the good work with the homeschoolers, because they too are thankful for an alternative form of education, but please don’t spread false information and stamp out the dreams of a student who’s only option might be the GED.

    • Well said. Most homeschooled students are Christians and I don’t think referring to students who take the GED as “less than” is what anyone should refer to people as. My child is homeschooled,she will take her ACT and GED for a diploma. I don’t see anything wrong with it and every child is different.

    • Agreed Linda!

      I don’t see how a high school diploma is something to be esteemed myself. Kids can get one sleeping through classes, flunking out of or barely passing a few, cheating, etc.

      Based on modern day government schooling, I think the GED is more respectable than a HS diploma.

    • The point of the article is that from the collegiate admissions perspective, this is the underlying attitude. Right or wrong, it is what it is.

      Stereotypes are stereotypes, but if they’re prevalently used, they can’t be discounted. If you want to play the game, you’ve got to play by the rules of those making them and running the game.

  3. Dan Nguyen says:

    What they need are two tests.

    GED = General Ed diploma to certify that the student has master the basics in high school or even elementary if they paid attention about 10% of the time. This test is really about 7th grade level only.

    Then they should have a CED = college education diploma. Student who take this test should master skills required if they took 4 years of English, geometry..calculus, bio, chemistry, physics, 4 years social science…the CP curriculum.

  4. I agree with Linda. Though I went to a traditional high school and received a high school diploma, I’m currently working on my M. Ed. in Educational Counseling. Your comments about students who obtain a GED as high school dropouts or persons who flunked out are very negative and narrow minded. I was appalled at the negative language you used and can’t help but wonder where you obtained your information about the biases against those who possess a GED. As a site that is named Home School College Counselor, perhaps the writer of this article is best to remember what being a counselor means.

  5. Alexx Rodriguez says:

    I can not believe this ridiculous article is one of the first results for this search.
    “Since homeschoolers are some of the brightest and most academically gifted students in the country, don’t demean yourself by stooping to the level of the GED.”
    I honestly hope that the people endorsing this page do not agree with the sentiment behind this horrible statement. You seriously need to fact check before you state things like this. For your information, I graduated from a prestigious high school with honors. I am also a THREE TIME COLLEGE DROP OUT. My husband, however, dropped out of high school during his freshman year. He EARNED his GED the next year. He flew through a rigorous 4 semester program with an emphasis in advanced chemistry, biology, organic chemistry, and microbiology, which ultimately lead to his credentialing of an A.S. (I have since gone back to college to earn my own degree with and emphasis in mathematics and physics. I contract as a private tutor for college, high school, home school, independent learner and adult students. BUT I COULD NEVER ACCOMPLISH WHAT HE DID, even if I were to EARN what you referred to as a “demean[ing]” GED.) And he was raised in an area notorious for drop outs (which is due to the lack of parenting and resources prevalent in this area). He EARNED an apprentice position at the local community college operating both the electron microscope and dissecting microscope. He did so well, that the college allows him to use the lab for an independent research project in mycology without limitation, indefinitely, regardless of his status as a student. And guess what… UNIVERSITIES ARE KNOCKING OUR DOOR DOWN FOR HIM TO ATTEND THE SCHOOL. He has HIS pick with little to no expense AT ALL depending on whether he wants to leave the state and/or relocate both myself and our daughter.
    I think that the author of this garbage might have a bias that they need to check before they try to direct anyone as to the most appropriate course of action for that individual’s child. I high school diploma doesn’t automatically insinuate that a youth is more dedicated or focused. (I would argue the opposite given most are provided with transportation, textbooks at not direct cost to them, counselors, free meals, the support of fellow students, and the opportunity for extra credit under the immediate supervision of a teacher. Did I forget the free use of a library and technology?) It takes much drive, much more determination, and even more logistical know how to Earn a GED. That FACT is coupled with the fact that a person would have to acquire their own resources to learn and master the material.
    I would appreciate you setting a better example to learners by doing research, offering a cyber public apology, and retracting that statement on this link. Or does your high school diploma (and the obvious status that it endows you with) prevent you from being introduced to a new concept, practicing the intricacies, and applying that new information (in other words…LEARNING!)?

    • Alexx, notice that the article did not say dropping out of highschool is a determining factor of collegiate success. It only states that by a GED is seen as inferior to a diploma by collegiate admissions departments. Big difference.

      • I quit going to school when I turned 18, 3 weeks before I was supposed to graduate. Stupid choice, yes. My father made me go take the GED as soon as he realized what I had done once I moved out on my own.
        Since that time, I have been accepted to 3 major colleges in this state. I recieved my EMT certification from UAMS College of Medicine, LPN from Pulaski Technical College, and Associates of Science in Nursing from Arkansas State University.
        Please, do tell me again how someone with a GED cannot excel and is considered “below average”. Narrow minded.

        • Cheryl, the article never said someone taking the GED cannot excel. Many do. The article (and all the articles on the site) are written from the perspective of what colleges and universities are looking for and how you can best prepare your child for college.

  6. This author has no idea what he/she is talking about. As a GED instructor in NYS I can tell you many many students go on to successful college careers after earning their GED. Anybody who suggests that a printed mock diploma has more validity than a GED that is supplied by the state is of the utmost ignorance.

    • Chris, in the eyes of the admissions department at many colleges and universities, this is the attitude. I’m not passing judgement on if this is good or bad, just giving advice from what I’ve seen being on the front lines. If you haven’t worked in the environment as I have, then you don’t really know what the underlying attitudes of those in that position are.

  7. So I’m in kinda of an emotionally stressing pickle here. I started doing unschooling through a distance learning school last year for my 11th grade year. Turns out that because of all the stuff I was doing I could graduate in June. I already know where I want to go for college but the problem is that the diploma I’m getting isn’t accredited and the college I want to go to says that if it isn’t accredited then I have to take a GED test. Which 1) I don’t really want to take and 2) I don’t think that’s lawfully right based upon Ohio homeschool laws regarding assessment which you can see here:….

    Specifically where it says “A “written narrative indicating that a portfolio of samples of the child’s work has been reviewed and that the child’s academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child’s abilities.” (If a written narrative is prepared, it must be written by either (a) a licensed or certified teacher, excluding the certification of teachers in nontax-supported schools provided under Ohio Rev.
    Code § 3301.071, or (b) “[an]other person mutually agreed upon.”)

    All of which I have; legal diploma with narrative transcript written up by a certified teacher along with a personal portfolio of my academic work.

    Plus if I do get accepted I’ll have to take a mandatory placement test too.

    Is all of this still not equivalent if not more then a GED? Am I interpreting the homeschool laws wrong? Any advice or alternatives would be a great help.

  8. Cathy Gontar says:

    As a librarian who assists GED students on a regular basis and as someone who has a lot of experience with college applications, the GED is sufficient for admission for the majority of schools. I do not think a serious professional educator would speak derisively of the GED. A homeschooled student who has high scores or adequate scores on college admission tests and other credentials is not going to be downgraded for taking the GED.

  9. No lie, these comments gave me more confidence then anything ever told to me. I kinda lost a little faith when reading this artical but, a lot of inspiration was just brought upon me through the comments lol ???????? Thanks

  10. What snobbery! I find this article belittling and degrading. I personally homeschool my children. To further enlighten you, I have a GED ….. and a nursing degree. Individuals who obtain a GED are only “lumped in with this group” by people such as yourself who discolor educational options with elitist mentalities by labeling “that this student flunked out, dropped out, was kicked out, or wasn’t dedicated enough to graduate high school”. Shame on you for putting people in a box.

    • Lyn, I’m not putting anyone in a box. I’m explaining the attitude of those in the academic world. Not every school admissions department is like this, and it has gotten better, but it still is the underlying attitude at many institutions.