How to Earn Your High School Diploma

While most people earn their high school diplomas through traditional high schools, there are other paths. This article discusses several of the options available to today's students.

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Earning a high school diploma is an accomplishment for any young adult. It can be one's ticket to a higher education or to more satisfying careers as a member of the work force. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for some to complete their high school educations. Read on to learn more about the most common ways students go about earning a diploma.

Public or Private High School

Attending a public or private high school is the traditional method for earning a high school diploma. While attending school, students are able to improve both their academic and social skills. A student earns a diploma after completing a set number of classes with a passing grade.

If you're trying to decide whether your teen should attend a public or private high school, be aware that there can be significant differences between the two. At a public high school, you don't need to pay for tuition or, in most cases, books. Because of their accessibility and low (almost no) cost, public schools are often overcrowded, meaning students receive less one-on-one attention than they might need. Also, because the state government foots the bill, it has total control over what is and what is not taught in classrooms, and they do so with a strict timeline of courses. This may be a drawback for both gifted children who benefit from a greater challenge and those students who struggle with their courses and need to move at a slower pace.

At a private high school one must pay for tuition, books and sometimes uniforms, as well as other fees. Many private schools offer scholarships to qualifying students to help offset these costs. While attending a private high school, your child may have more individual attention because the class sizes are smaller. Private institutions are also not required to follow state curriculum guidelines, meaning they have more control over what is taught. This allows schools with religious affiliations to provide theology or other religious courses. The freedom of curriculum also allows these institutions to provide accelerated programs, better preparing their students for college and other future education.


Some students learn best through a homeschool program. Homeschooling allows a student to be taught outside of the classroom by either a parent or a hired educator. The student works with a teacher to set a work pace and schedule that works well for the individual student. Often, homeschooled students do have to take similar courses to those provided at a local high school - and in similar number. Find out about the homeschooling regulations and requirements in your home state and for the school district where you reside by contacting your state department of education. Some districts will not award your student a diploma and will require him or her to take the GED.

Homeschooling works well for parents who want to monitor their child's education carefully. It also works well for gifted or handicapped students or those who simply cannot learn in a classroom environment.

Online High School Education Programs

Student who choose this option complete the same or similar classes that are required by their state and local school district. The student would interact with teachers and other students through chat rooms, forums, message boards and emails, helping them to develop strong communication and computer skills.

A student's schedule is very flexible with this type of program. For that reason, this option works well for adults who are returning to high school. One must be self-motivated and have excellent time management skills. According to Thomas Nixon of the adult education section of,, one significant reason why online education is desirable is the anonymity, which is another benefit for adults. When choosing an online high school, try to find one which is accredited.

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