Earning A High School Diploma Online vs. Passing the GED

The GED, General Education Development test, was developed as US soldiers were coming home from World War II. Many of them had signed up for military service before graduating high school. Passing the GED was a way to show that they had the skills necessary for jobs or for college entry. The GED is still used today as a way for high school dropouts to demonstrate skills. Today, online schools offer students dropping out of traditional school the chance to earn a high school diploma. With both options available, is it better to get an online diploma, or to simply get a good score on the GED?

A GED may be enough to get a student into a community college, but the consensus among employers is that the GED is not as good as a high school diploma.

Given two applicants, one with a GED and one with a high school diploma, an employer is more likely to choose the applicant with a diploma. Why? According to an NPR interview with Russell Rumberger, author of Dropping Out, employers are looking for more than good scores. They want to know that a potential employee has perseverance, and that is better demonstrated by a diploma.

Depending on the reason for dropping out, learning perseverance and tenacity can be challenging for some.

Some students who use the GED to get into college will need to learn how to work through difficulties in order to succeed. Students who have completed high school and have earned a diploma may already have these skills because they have seen their education through to completion.

For those who have not finished high school and are faced with a choice of taking the GED or completing school online, putting in the work to earn the diploma is the better option. It's not that people cannot be successful with a GED, but it may be more difficult. They will have to learn and demonstrate grit. For those that have graduated high school with a diploma, they have already done this and have the diploma to prove it!

Learn more about GlobalED Solutions' online high school diploma program for adults.