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Do I really need a high school diploma?

watermelontimewatermelontime Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
edited November 2008 in College Admissions
Some college-minded friends of mine have advised me to ask my question here. I'm going into senior year in a different high school in a different state. While I've completed all my graduation requirements at my past school, there's apparently quite a few I have to take to graduate high school. It is possible to fit them into my schedule, but it would take 2.5 periods to do so, and we only have 7 period days! My counselor pretty much doesn't care and the administration was not helpful. Frankly I'd rather not deal with them at all. Is it possible for me to just take the AP classes I want to take and sign up to take the GED? Or should I suck it up and try to get done the graduation requirements? I'm trying to apply to schools ranging from ivy league to second tier privates.
Post edited by watermelontime on

Replies to: Do I really need a high school diploma?

  • nooobnooob Registered User Posts: 2,065 Senior Member
    Well it's up to you, but I think colleges would like a diploma better.

    30 years from now you'll look back and think about how you never got a diploma from highschool, and it'll make you wish you did. (i think lol)
  • watermelontimewatermelontime Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    I doubt I'd be upset. I'm just concerned that if I get into college, the admissions depts might feel mislead or something by me not graduating and then have my acceptance rescinded... or kick me out after I enroll.
  • bessiebessie Registered User Posts: 1,818 Senior Member
    Get your diploma. Does the school have an ROP or other work program where you can go to school for a short day and then get credit for doing some job you are interested in?
  • watermelontimewatermelontime Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    No. It's not that I'm short on credits, it's that I'll have to take dumb courses like "history of Montana" and basic computer ed classes along with 2 more semesters of gym. I'd rather take AP Physics, you know.
  • HottYankRemixHottYankRemix Registered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    Try to see if you could take some community college courses.
  • histrionicshistrionics Registered User Posts: 330 Junior Member
    I would recommend you to graduate high school. I only know of one extreme case of going to college without a high school diploma.
  • lilygraceslilygraces Registered User Posts: 1,195 Senior Member
    It's not like a GED is the worst thing in the world. It's the equivalent of an HS diploma, HOWEVER, colleges see it as slightly less impressive. But really, my advice is to do whatever you feel is best for you. It doesn't seem all that horrible to take the classes that you have to take in order to graduate, and you COULD self-study AP Physics.... But really, do what you feel is best.

    I know people with GED's and they're probably more qualified in intelligence to go to college than many people I know who graduated/are graduating from high school, and that statement is also true vice versa.
  • watermelontimewatermelontime Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Is it relevant though? I probably wouldn't even take it until after I get into college... it's not like you apply to school after graduation.
  • bessiebessie Registered User Posts: 1,818 Senior Member
    Well, I think the best thing you can do now is to go to a few college info nights at schools you are interested in and ask the admissions counselors their opinion. If you give schools the impression that you intend to earn a HS diploma and then do not do so, they will rescind you. If you tell them ahead of time you intend to get a GED, then they may not accept you in the first place. Call around and ask the admissions people. Maybe it isn't as big a deal as we think it is here on CC. Report back with your findings.
  • T26E4T26E4 Registered User Posts: 24,274 Senior Member
    My question to you would be does the new school offer advanced/honors/AP classes? It's not the point that you have the credits enough to graduate HS (I think I met my state's requirements midway my Sophomore year). To be a viable applicant to the schools you mention, you MUST show a willingness to take whatever rigorous curriculum is available. If you gotta take Montana history and an intro Computer class and PhysEd, why not take that 4th year of language or other AP classes available? Do you think your 3-year transcript is THAT superior to others who are very tight and chocked full?

    Sure you don't have to go that route but you've stated that you want to insert yourself to very rigorous scrutiny and a GED with a thin Senior year schedule would catch peoples' attention -- in a bad way, IMHO.
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    Taking the other side here.......... no, you don't need a diploma. You'll apply for college and be accepted (or not) long before you'd be getting the diploma anyway. What the colleges will want to see at the end of the year is your senior year transcript to make sure you finished your classes with respectable grades. They will not ask to see a diploma. Won't happen.

    As to regretting not getting it later, you certainly won't regret it for any practical reason. Your college graduation is what will matter to employers and grad schools. Whether it will matter to you emotionally or not is something only you can answer.

    I don't think there's any reason to take the GED either. The point will be that you took challenging classes across the subject areas and got good grades, and that's what colleges will be looking at your transcript to determine.

    My kids are homeschoolers, and so are in a bit different situation, but neither has a traditional institutional diploma and they got into college just fine. The oldest is going to Amherst, in fact.

    The only minor issue I can think of is that when you fill out the FAFSA for financial aid there is a question that asks if you either received a diploma, took the GED, or are homeschooled. Those are your only three options. If you can't check one of them, then you are expected to take something called an "abilty to benefit test" which people often accomplish by taking the COMPASS test at a local community college. (It's much shorter and easier than the GED.) Anyway, that's only a financial aid thing and doesn't have anything to do with admissions.

    In fact since most students fill the FAFSA out before they've finished senior year anyway, they just check what they anticipate doing, such as getting a diploma or taking the GED or whatever. You could check the GED box, and then take it some time in the summer after you finish your classes.
  • itstrueiknowititstrueiknowit Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    in california and in many states you can attend most 2 or 4 year college with no high school diploma -- this is also true in NY .... great idea .. who wants to spend time in HS when you can be doing real work in college!
  • tokenadulttokenadult Registered User Posts: 17,471 Senior Member
    There are a lot of colleges that say explicitly in their Common Data Set filings that they do not require a high school diploma for admission. Harvard is one of those colleges.

    If you'll be in a new high school, your smartest plan is to prepare well for a demanding college environment, whether or not that meets the mesh between the former high school graduation requirements and the new high school graduation requirements. Think about your future. But make sure you talk to your high school counselor about your plans. That may be a new idea to your counselor.
  • the_daydreamerthe_daydreamer Registered User Posts: 80 Junior Member
    i have a question of a similar vein. i'm seriously considering homeschooling myself for second semester (of senior year). my mom is surprisingly fine with this idea, but her only concern is that colleges will find out and possibly rescind their decision. i would ask my guidance counselor for her opinion, but i'm not ready to talk to her about this-- (i'll wait until after she's written my recommendation!)

    any thoughts on this?? thanks!
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    My only thought is that you'd be very well-advised to include this plan in your college application from the get-go, daydreamer. You are given the opportunity on college apps to list what classes you'll be taking for the remainder of the year, so be sure to let them know up front. I don't think they'd look so kindly on a kid who said she/he would finish up their high school classes, and then just opted out and said, 'I decided to homeschool instead.' I think that looks kind of opportunistic. If you're totally upfront about it though, and explain what you'll be studying and how you'll go about it, then at least you're giving them the information they're going to want to assess your senior year choices.
This discussion has been closed.