No parent approaches homeschooling a teen without at least a little bit of anxiety. After all, the preparation you give your adolescent now will greatly influence his future. The good news is you can relax a bit, safe in the knowledge that home-educated students can and do get into college, and once there, they tend to excel. Once you’ve taken a deep breath in relief over that, though, you run smack into another question. Do you encourage Junior or Jane to get a GED, or is it better to award a homeschool high school diploma?
The Law and Homeschool Diplomas
Your homeschool diploma is a valid document, a fact affirmed by the Higher Education Act of 1998. You do not need accreditation or recognition from your state in order for it to be used as valid proof of the completion of secondary education. Awarding a homeschool diploma will not prevent your child from receiving federal financial aid. Likewise, most colleges readily accept homeschooled students without asking to see a diploma as proof of completion. In fact, there are many colleges that have policies for considering a wide range of educational documentation from homeschoolers rather than simply relying on a diploma for the admissions process. Your child’s high school transcripts, any required essays, college interviews, recommendations, and testing (when a part of the application process) are likely to be far more important during the application/admissions process than a single piece of paper.
Will a GED Help?
In most cases, earning a GED instead of a high school diploma will not give your child a leg up on the admissions process. In fact, there is a certain stigma attached to the GED that many parents want to avoid for their students. Many people associate GEDs (though this is admittedly unfair) with high school dropouts, and at the very least, they represent the accumulation of a bare minimum of knowledge. Isn’t that selling your child and your homeschool program short? The completion of high school represents many hours dedicated to learning, doing, and discovering, and you’ve likely put time and care into ensuring that your child is not only well-educated but also a well-rounded individual with much to offer. A GED doesn’t demonstrate that, but your high school diploma certainly can.
With the homeschooler population growing at a significant rate and 66 percent of homeschoolers graduating from college, most admissions officers have heard of home education and do not require a GED. While the right choice depends on your individual homeschool and your child’s unique needs, there is something to be said for pushing forward with a high school diploma. The bottom line is your child is not required to earn a GED. A homeschool diploma should do just fine.