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High School Diploma vs GED: Which Is Right For You?

July 9, 2024 | Tracie Hummel

High School Diploma vs GED: Which Is Right For You? image

If you’ve struggled with traditional high school, you may be wondering if it’s worth it to continue high school or if you should pursue a GED. A high school diploma and the GED are two different paths to finishing your education. Knowing which is best for you depends on a number of factors such as your life circumstances, learning style and personal goals.

High school diploma vs. GED … let’s check out each option and explore the pros and cons👇

High School Diploma

A high school diploma provides a structured and comprehensive educational experience. You'll spend four years (or so) in classrooms, learning from teachers, participating in extracurricular activities, and hopefully making lifelong friends along the way. A high school diploma can open doors to college, trade schools, the military, certifications and job opportunities. 

Pros of a High School Diploma: 

  • Comprehensive Education: High school diploma programs typically offer a structured curriculum covering various subjects, providing a well-rounded education that is widely respected.. 
  • Increased Job Opportunities: Many employers require applicants to have a high school diploma as minimum qualification. Having this credential can open up a wider range of job opportunities. Whether your eyes are set on continued education at college, or joining the workforce or military, you’ll have greater access to future opportunity with a high school diploma to your name.
  • Higher Earning Potential: On average, individuals with a high school diploma tend to earn higher salaries compared to those without one. It serves as a foundation for further education and specialized training, which can lead to even better paying jobs.
  • Personal Development: Completing high school signifies a significant accomplishment and demonstrates discipline, perseverance, and the ability to work towards long-term goals. It also helps in developing critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skils.  
  • Free: Most traditional high schools are free to attend, whereas the GED involves some cost. 

💡Did you know that high school graduates earn over $500,000 more during the course of their lives compared to non-graduates? 

Cons of a High School Diploma:

  • Time Commitment: Earning a high school diploma typically requires a four-year commitment and long days in a classroom. This can be a significant investment of time and energy. If you have other responsibilities or time constraints, a high school diploma may not be realistic especially for students who prefer a more accelerated or flexible learning path
  • Social Challenges: While high school can provide opportunities for social interaction, many high schoolers report bullying, overcrowding, classroom disruption, or other forms of social anxiety that prohibit learning. . 


For students who couldn’t complete high school, a GED is another way they can obtain a recognized educational credential. The GED test is an overall assessment of your Math, Science, Social Studies and Language skills. Each subject has its own separate exam, and you’ll be responsible for preparing and studying for each. In addition, most of the exams have separate fees, so you must pay for each. 


Pros of a GED:

  • Flexibility: Students pursuing a GED are responsible for setting their own study schedule. In this way, a GED can offer more flexibility than a traditional high school.
  • Second Chance: GEDs provide an opportunity for individuals who did not complete high school to obtain a recognized credential that can open the door to future opportunities.

Cons of a GED: 

  • Perceived Stigma: Some employers and colleges may view GEDs as less credible than high school diplomas, potentially limiting opportunities for advancement.
  • Lack of Support: GED programs lack the support that typically comes with a high school experience. You won’t have the support of teachers or access to technology and instructional materials provided by high school.  When you take this into consideration, it’s not surprising that only 60% of GED test takers pass the test.
  • Cost: Compared to high school programs, which are usually tuition-free, students who opt for a GED are required to pay a fee to earn their GED. Costs range from state to state, but the average cost is usually around $120 to $200.

Check out more of the pros and cons of a GED and high school diploma in the chart below 👇

A Different Approach

A traditional high school and a GED are two different paths to finishing your education. Each comes with a unique set of pros and cons. What if there was a different way that combined the flexibility of the GED with the support and credibility of finishing high school? Best of all? You’ll graduate with a traditional high school diploma, which will be your ticket to more educational opportunities, career paths and lifetime earnings. 

➡️ Enter Acceleration Academies. Acceleration Academies is an alternative education program that is designed to help students for whom the traditional high school setting wasn’t the best fit. Whether you struggle academically or socially or your schedule doesn’t allow you to attend school for 7+ hours a day, Acceleration Academies helps you earn a traditional high school diploma in a supportive and flexible environment.

To sum things up, earning your education is important, no matter which route you take. If you’re still not sure which is right for you, click the link below to take our quiz and find your perfect fit.

High school diploma vs GED … which is right for you? Take our quiz and find out! 

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