GED vs. Diploma

Ahtearra Steffan, Staff Reporter

Do you know the difference between a GED (General Education Diploma), and a high school diploma?  They are so much alike, yet so different, and a GED is a viable option for many West students who aren’t on track to graduate.

The annual dropout rate for west is 5.97percent, which is higher than the rest of ASD (4.62 percent). One of the options for students on the verge of dropping out is to get their GED instead of a high school diploma. A GED is an alternative for students who don’t graduate high school.

Students can earn a GED by being age of 16 or older, completing classes and passing a test. Students also have to pay for these classes and the test. Students can complete these at Nine Star, Alaska Military Youth Academy (AMYA) or Charter College.

Nine Star is the official GED testing center in Anchorage. They offer different classes that get students prepared for the GED test, and there are many teachers dedicated to help improve basic skills for students. Each class or test cost money. The enrollment fee is $40 per quarter. The GED test battery cost $25 ($5 per test) and the assessment for non-students is $50.

A high school diploma can be easier but yet harder. Marshala Eady said, “With a high school diploma students have people helping them and pushing them to graduate, unlike with a GED it’s mostly self motivation.”

When trying to get a high school diploma in ASD, students have to complete four years of high school and earn 22.5 credits. Students also have to complete certain classes along with passing the HSGQE (high school graduating qualification exam).

Students can also stay in school for the entire four years even if they have more than 22.5 credits (most students do this and stay because of a sport), or they can graduate early by completing requirements

Do you get penalized for only having a GED? “No having just a GED doesn’t penalize you, you can still get into college and they look at it the same when getting a job,” says Mrs. Crawford, West Counselor.

What would cause students to get only a GED and not a diploma? “Life its different for every individual student,” says ….. life gets in the way and some students can’t handle going to school and meeting the requirements to get a high school diploma and to juggle what’s going on in their personal lives. Every student has a different story

Some students get a GED and still come back to high school so they can have a high school diploma too. Most of these students are students who went to AMYA and graduated from the academy.

Most of them say they came back to high school because it looks better if you have both a GED and a diploma, and t it’s fun to come back and enjoy the rest of the year.

Counselors Mrs. Crawford and Mrs. Mounds-Craft said half of the students that come back from AMYA don’t make it because they fall into their old bad habits. These students can either better themselves or they can get worse from being away for so long.

Every student has a different story to tell and a different opinion. Whether you get a GED or a diploma it doesn’t matter as long as you get one and are prepared to be successful after high school.