The GED Stigma

Many people hear GED and automatically think “high school drop-out”. The GED seems to have this stigma of a lower than high school diploma certification; that it is for those that were “not smart enough” to get their high school diploma. This is an unfair stereotype of the GED. There are so many things wrong with these assumptions that I don’t even know where to start. We have to start somewhere, so let’s talk about the “not smart enough” idea.

Most students don’t drop out of school because they are not smart enough to complete the course work. There are hundreds of different reasons that students get behind or drop out of school; from family catastrophes, to pregnancy, to health issues. Many of the reasons result from poor decisions on the part of the student, but many times the reasons are beyond the student’s control. Regardless, one of the problems is that relatively speaking, there is a very short window for completing your high school diploma and graduating with your class. Sometimes one decision can ruin the students chance of graduation with that diploma, and it may have nothing to do with how well the student could do academically. Often poor decisions become learning experiences for the student, perhaps even changing their life for the better. But on the down side, the window for them to earn their high school diploma has past.

Thank goodness for the GED. It is a second chance, and should not be looked down upon. In fact, passing the GED should be looked at as an admired accomplishment. Because of the “dropout” stigma, it seems to be generally thought that the GED is the easy and that anybody could pass the Test. What many people do not know is that the GED Test has been normalized using high school seniors. This means that they administered the test to high school seniors and adjusted the passing scores so that if you pass the GED you scored as high, or higher, than 60% of high school seniors. That means that 40% of high school seniors would not pass the GED.

There are lot’s of ways to “play the system” in public schools. There plenty of students that find ways to “get by” in school, earning credits without really learning much. In a place where extra credit, group projects, and grade inflation run rampant, it is a reality that someone with a high school diploma knows far less than that person with a GED. In fact that reality is made crystal clear with the 40% of high school seniors not being able to pass the GED. At least when someone has a GED you know that they have some knowledge. There is no extra credit on the GED. The GED is never a group project, and there is definitely no grade inflation on the GED. It is a high stakes test that strictly monitored and has iron clad integrity. When you see someone with a GED certification, you know exactly what they accomplished and you know that it was all them. Not extra credit, or a group, or a teacher that got them through.
They did it. That’s someone that you want to hire. That’s someone that you want to come to your college.

There are lots of sites that can help prepare one for the GED online. Many communities have adult education programs that can help prepare people for the GED. There are many books that can also help prepare people for the GED. Whatever the preparation method, if you don’t have your high school diploma, consider taking the GED. It is not a second rate high school diploma. It is a legitimate certification that is a very worthwhile endeavor!

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