If you wonder if a homeschooled student should take the GED® test, the short answer is no. It’s not needed but there is more to it. Keep reading to fully understand this important issue.
In the U.S., parents have the right to teach their children academics at home and the students can receive a high school diploma upon graduation.
On the other hand, many academic institutions will require homeschool students to demonstrate proof of academic knowledge and skills by providing ACT or SAT scores, taking a college admissions test, or attain “college-ready” scores on the GED exam.
So it can be beneficial for homeschooled students to take the GED exam though some people think there are still think there are stigmas related to the GED.
It used to be that the GED exam was also referred to as the “Good Enough Diploma”, but the fact of the matter is that since the latest, entirely computer-based, and very challenging version of the GED exam was introduced, GED graduates are well-received at colleges and the employment market.
So should Homeschoolers get a GED?
Many homeschooling parents get a bit antsy when their kids’ high school years come to an end. Their teaching and their children’s grades and academic level will come under the scrutiny of outsiders’ eyes.
There will be questions about transcripts, GPAs, and diplomas when it comes to their children’s’ college applications as the validation of their children’s last four homeschooling years may get questioned.
Is getting a GED right?
Well, that depends. If you are convinced your homeschool teaching was excellent, your children will probably pass the four GED subtests with flying colors.
Attaining GED “College-Ready” scores often means they are exempt from having to take additional remedial coursework or a college-admissions test.
The GED exam is often taken to eliminate attendance requirements for high school and lessens the record-keeping burden that home educators are faced with in order to comply with their state’s attendance laws.
But it is the question of whether that is what you and your children have been working so hard for. Often, the advantages of homeschooling your kids are obvious, and opting for a GED may sell your children’s education short.
For many educational institutions, educators, and regulators, holding a GED still symbolizes being a “student that couldn’t finish high school” and that’s something you don’t want your children to experience, do you?
On the other hand, an increasing number of colleges and universities are aware that the stigmas associated with a GED are actually a thing of the past.
More and more schools are accepting “GED College-Ready” and “GED College-Ready + Credit” scores in lieu of college-entrance tests or ACT or SAT scores for admission.
The GED is equivalent
But still, for some schools, a GED symbolizes “street smart” knowledge, a more general life-based knowledge. Technically, a GED is equivalent to a high school degree though it is not a replacement for four years of high school education.
A high school diploma and transcript stand for a disciplined and completed academic pursuit. A high school diploma symbolizes an accomplishment; it is more than just an assessment of ability.
So many parents feel they shouldn’t shy away from awarding their children a high school diploma, though opting for the GED route may seem so much easier and more affordable.
So after having homeschooled their children, they often choose an online high school diploma program as there are quite a few respectable and accredited Online High School Diploma programs available in America such as Excel High School or Acellus Academy.
Nothing wrong with homeschooling
Then again, your family and your children are unique and you may have so many reasons why you have chosen to homeschool your children.
In the U.S., homeschooling is a legal method of educating your children and viable. There’s no need to short-change your children’s accomplishments. So having your students acquire a GED rather than awarding a high school diploma isn’t always the appropriate thing to do.
When your children have completed their high school education through home education, there’s all the cause in the world to celebrate that achievement, wouldn’t you agree? It’s a job well done that’s worthy of a reward, right?
Are there still GED stigmas?
Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that there are still stigmas associated with the GED. Holding a GED implies that the holder didn’t complete high school. It still symbolizes students that didn’t complete high school.
The GED indicates that the holder received a high school-equivalent credential without finishing high school whereas a homeschool diploma implies the students graduated from high school.
When homeschooling your child, make sure you’ll meet all of your state’s homeschool education laws and requirements for graduation.
And if your state has no specific graduation requirements for homeschooled students, be sure to meet the graduation requirements that apply for regular education.
Usually, this includes 3 to 4 math, 4 English, 3 social studies, 2 to 3 sciences, 2 foreign languages, 1 art class, 2 P.E., and a few electives so it all will add up to at least 19 credits overall. For free math practice tests, check here.
Please be aware that state regulations and requirements for graduation may vary widely between states. Note also that usually, graduation requirements are less than those needed to get your children into college. But this not only applies to homeschooled students.
Do homeschoolers need a GED to join the Military?
No, they do not. For the U.S. Armed Forces, homeschoolers are seen as “Tier 1” recruits in the same way as high school grads whereas GED holders are considered “Tier 2” applicants. Learn more here.
For enlistment in the U.S. Military, there are three tiers:
Tier 1: High school graduates and this includes homeschooled grads. Non-graduates that hold at least 15 college credits fall also in this tier.
Tier 2: GED graduates. They are still seen as persons who had some difficulty with achieving objectives.
Tier 3: Applicants without any education credentials.
The higher your children qualify for enlistment, the higher the starting salary will be when enlisted. So when your children hold a GED, that might harm their military options, careers, and their future.
So there are circumstances where providing a homeschool diploma is preferable to letting them earn a GED. This particularly relevant for students looking to join the U.S. Marines where even stricter rules apply.
To apply for service in the armed forces, homeschooled students are required to present homeschool diplomas and they may have to demonstrate that their homeschool obeyed all local homeschool regulations and laws.
They may also have to provide documentation as required by their school districts, for example, a declaration of intent for homeschooling. Homeschooled students also need to present transcripts and there must be no doubt that the parents directed the education.
Do Homeschoolers need a GED to get into college?
No, homeschooled students do not need a GED to get into college. It might even negatively affect their college applications as there still are schools that only think of GED graduates as people that never completed high school.
It used to be that students with GED were less likely to be successful in college though since the latest GED exam was introduced, that has changed significantly.
In earlier days, of all high school graduates, more than 70 percent went off to college and almost 35 percent earned a college degree. Of all GED grads, just some 45 percent went on to college and not even 5 percent earned a bachelor’s degree.
Today, however, that has totally changed as we can see over 60 percent of GED holders continue their education in college and many students with GED “College-Ready” scores outperform their high school diploma peers in college!
Well, as we all know, a college degree will dramatically increase your earning potential and this starts already with having a secondary education degree (high school or equivalent diploma).
Though there are still minor differences, we can see that holders of a high school or equivalent diploma will earn at least more than $9,600 more annually than people without a secondary education degree.
Last Updated on April 5, 2021.