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  1. #1

    Default GED vs. High School Diploma

    In short:

    My 16 year-old son has failed most of his high school classes because he didn't do his homework. Over the last few months he has been doing his work; I believe he is finally beginning to come around. He is a junior and has been told that, even with summer school, he will have to stay in school at least another year to graduate; perhaps longer.

    Yes, there are support and custody orders, he lives with his mother most of the time. No, this has nothing to do with support or custody; I'm not planning any custody battles at this point and I will be paying support until he is 18 regardless. I'm concerned about his future.

    Believe it or not, he wants to go to college. We've talked about the local community college before transferring to a state college. He's pretty smart and his test scores are all A's, but he's been lazy and unmotivated. My thought was for him to take his GED this summer, drop out of high school, and enroll in the community college in the fall. I'm still looking into the legality of this method. He would be paying for college, so I think he'll be inclined to pass rather than pay more to re-take failed classes.

    Ok, that wasn't that short...

    My real question is, given the circumstances, is a high school diploma any better than a GED these days? We are not talking about someone who is going to Yale/Princeton/etc. or being a CEO/doctor/president. His biggest aspiration is to design/program video games. I think he needs to get out of the K-12 "no child left behind" garbage ASAP.

    What's your opinion?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Lightbulb Re: Ged vs. Hs Diploma

    In California - if he gets his GED and then enrolls in community college he can follow the path to either a CSU or UC school and have his transfer admission guaranteed. An excellent opportunity for kids who are capable of doing the academic work but screwed up in high school.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Re: Ged vs. Hs Diploma

    Maybe he is not lazy, maybe he is bored. Some kids that are smart have trouble with school. Because they get bored, not challenged.

    You should talk to his counselor about this. If he does not feel challenged enough. Maybe they can put him in some college courses while in school.

    Or you can go with 525601minutes statement.

    Some people that did not have degrees or even highschool education.

    Enstien and Abraham Lincoln, Enstien did not have a highschool education. Lincoln dropped out of law school but still passed the bar exam and practiced law.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Ged vs. Hs Diploma

    A high school education is always better than a GED, but in your son's case he may be better off getting the GED and going to a community college. That is if he actually does go to college. If not he could be severly limiting his chances at a job with livable wages.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Ged vs. Hs Diploma

    Just as an example, he would not be able to enlist in the Air Force with a GED. The military severely restricts the number of GED enlistees they take because they have a poor track record of completing their first enlistment. Now, this doesn't relate to your son because you haven't indicated that he wants to go into the military. It is just an example of doors that are closed to high school drop-outs.

    Having said that, my story was similar to your son's except that by knuckling down and taking all the classes I could take in the 12th grade I was able to graduate. Then I went into the military because I was lost, bored, and didn't know what else to do at 17 years old. I couldn't stand the thought of college because I also couldn't stand the thought of high school. When I got out of the army my education was mostly paid for and I got my college degree because I was older, wiser, and more mature.

    Your son needs to do what ever it takes to graduate from high school. If he short-cuts his way from that, he will be looking for the easy soft short-cut for the rest of his life. Now is the time to fix this, not the time to accomodate his laziness and demonstrate to him that he can be lazy and still get everything he wants out of life. What's my opinion? It it this: it would be good if he could have a father who is tough enough and wise enough to drive these points home to a young man who is nearing adulthood and will remain lost without some real guidance. What in the world would indicate that this young man will go to community college when he has demonstrated no effort to finish high school? That makes no sense whatsoever. Community college requires work, just like Harvard. He needs to finish the task at hand before planning his next step.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Lightbulb Re: GED vs. High School Diploma

    I don't know if this is state specific - but when my child was failing her classes I was considering sending her to private school. THen I found out that (in CA at least) kids are 'entitled' to a 'free and appropriate' education. She now goes to a charter school where she gets one-on-one teaching. They do only one class at a time and will keep at it until the child understands enough to pass. In less than 6 months she has gone from all Fs to all As. She will probably graduate ahead of schedule and with a HS diploma - not a GED. Hopefully there is a similar program for the OP.

  7. #7

    Default Re: GED vs. High School Diploma

    I appreciate the responses, my son has decided to continue working towards the diploma and is taking summer school classes online. He has also shown that he does not intend to put any effort into this; one class is done and he doesn't know if he passed because he did not complete all of his work, and he is behind in his other class as well. He paid for the classes with his own money, so it seems that wasn't the motivator I thought it would be.

    I don't care much for the comment that I should be "tough" and "wise" enough to make him continue down the path to a diploma. What I wanted him to do would have required a good deal more work and determination. This is a moot point now.

    For the record, I strongly believe that when my support stops next year he will end up dropping out of school anyway. His mom will either want him to pay rent or move out (and I support that BTW); he will have to work more hours to pay bills and will decide to drop out to work full-time. I hope I'm wrong and he sticks with it and finishes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default Re: GED vs. High School Diploma

    A GED is exactly the same as diploma these days and don't let anyone tell you any different. I graduated with a diploma. However, your son can get a ged, go to community college and transfer after 30 hours to a better college. They will not look at high school transcripts at that point, just what he did in college. Just because you have a GED does not make you any less of a person or student for that matter. A lot of successful people got a GED instead of a diploma.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Rhode Island

    Default Re: GED vs. High School Diploma

    True story: I completed my GED (I was severly picked on in high school), went to community college, transfered into an Ivy league school, double majored and now in my last year of law school (joint MS/JD) with my LL.M pending.

    GED has not and will not restrict me. Don't let anyone tell your son different, period.

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