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Five Ways You Can Complete High School

five ways to finish high school, GED, get your diplomaFinishing high school as an adult can be an intimidating venture. If you don't have a high school diploma, there's that stigma attached, not to mention some embarrassment, shame, and even fear about going back to school. You may even wonder how to begin the process -- for many, it's been decades since you've even cracked open a book. Plus, there are so many different ways to complete high school now -- from taking the GED, enrolling in an online high school program, and various diploma programs -- it's no wonder you're uncertain of which way to go.

Finishing your high school diploma is a courageous step toward opening doors for your future. Here are five of the most common ways to earn your high school diploma, once and for all.

1 - GED (General Educational Development)
Many employers consider a GED an equal alternative to a traditional high school diploma. Those who never finished high school can earn a GED through an adult education program or, in some areas, through community education. The GED tests five main topic areas: writing, reading, social studies, science, and math. If you're worried about brushing up on skills you may not have thought about in years, many states and organizations offer GED courses you can take to prepare. And, if college is your end goal, good news: Approximately 97 percent of colleges and universities in the U.S. accept GED holders, according to There are few eligibility requirements to take the GED, although many states do require you be at least 18 years old.

2 - Online High School
One alternative that works exceptionally well for many adults who want to complete their high school diploma is online high school. You can take your classes, do your homework, and pass your exams all online from the comfort of your own home or office. By participating in an online high school program, you don't need to attend classes at a specific time or place. Simply log on and learn when and where you want!

3 - NEDP (National External Diploma Program)
The National External Diploma Program offers a unique way to obtain a high school diploma. Also known as NEDP, this program lets those who never finished high school apply their real-life experience in situations as a way of demonstrating high school-level skills. NEDP doesn't use traditional instruction, but instead adults demonstrate their competency through performing real-life tasks, where 65 competencies are tested through an assessment phase with an advisor. Upon successful completion of math, reading, writing, and other skills, students are awarded their high school diploma.

4 - Adult High School
Adult high school varies from state to state, but this term generally refers to actual classroom courses, taken in a brick-and-mortar classroom. Adult high school programs often require transcripts from your previous high school education and are tuition-based, however, your credits can often count toward a vocational program in addition to a high school diploma. With this high school completion option, you will receive a traditional high school diploma rather than a high school equivalency certificate.

5 - Distance Learning / Correspondence Courses
Distance learning is often the same as online learning, although you can also explore what's referred to as "correspondence programs," which use postal mail to send study materials and assignments back and forth. As with any alternative form of education, it is important to make sure a high school completion distance-learning program is accredited. This means that the high school diploma distance learning or correspondence courses have been reviewed by a governing body and meet appropriate standards. Accreditation assures employers and other educational facilities will accept your diploma. There are many "fly-by-night" agencies offering distance-learning diplomas worth little more than the paper they are written on. By researching a high school completion distance-learning program before enrolling, you can be assured your hard work and money will help you earn a quality education and credentials.

Finishing high school as an adult doesn't have to be overwhelming or intimidating. With the wide variety of options available to get your high school diploma, you're certain to find one that works best with your schedule, your learning style, and your budget. There are few things in life that can change your future as significantly as completing your high school education and with the right learning environment for your lifestyle, your diploma is only a few clicks away.