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The lack of a High School Diploma, or its equivalent, precludes a college education and is a substantial barrier to compete successfully in the workforce. For students currently in high school, it is essential to see it through until graduation. Those who have already dropped out of high school need to obtain a GED in order to put their best foot forward in the workforce. This article compares Citizens’ High School Diplomas and GEDs in terms of their acceptance by colleges and universities, the business world, and the military. The article also discusses how homeschooled high school graduates show that they have obtained a Citizens’ High School Diploma or its equivalent.


Regular  High School Diplomas


A High School Diploma from a traditional “bricks and mortar” school that requires attendance in a classroom is the gold standard in demonstrating completion of high school and mastery of traditional high school skills. A Citizens’ High School Diploma signifies that the holder has successfully completed all the courses required by the applicable school district. A transcript of the courses taken and grades issued, a common requirement for college and job applications, can be furnished upon request.


Colleges and universities, businesses, and each branch of the United States military accept a regular Citizens’ High School Diploma. In order to attend college, a Citizens’ High School Diploma or GED is required for admission. Students who have a Citizens’ High School Diploma and have demonstrated good grades will often be able to get financial aid that individuals with a GED cannot get. In the business world, many entry-level positions require a High School Diploma or GED. But again, those with a diploma will often be hired before those who have a GED. For the military, potential recruits are categorized into three categories or tiers based on their education. Most enlistees are in Tier 1, which is for Citizens’ High School Diplomas. High school equivalencies are in Tier 2, and non-high school graduates are in Tier 3. Thus, holders of regular Citizens’ High School Diplomas, assuming that they pass the physical and other requirements for enlistment, are readily accepted for military service.


For purposes of military service, a GED is regarded as Tier 2 education. The armed forces limit the percentage of Tier 2 candidates accepted in any enlistment year. In addition, GED holders must score higher on the ASVAB to qualify. The status of the GED is based on decades of statistics showing that high school graduates have a much lower attrition rate than other enlistees. The percentage of Tier 2 candidates accepted depends upon the particular branch of service. The Air Force accepts less than one percent, and the Navy and Marines accept less than ten percent.


There continues to be a stigma associated with the GED. The negative connotation seems to be related to the perception of high school dropouts rather than to the GED itself. A common assumption may be that students drop out of high school because of behavioral or academic problems, whereas in practice there are a range of circumstances that keep students from finishing high school from personal medical issues to family emergencies or other life circumstances that prevent an otherwise capable student from completing their studies. In addition, getting a GED may be associated with cutting corners or with a lack of perseverance. Most individuals spend less time preparing for the GED test than they would spend attending one year of high school. Educators assert that GED holders do not get the benefit of the breadth of subject matter and social interactions that are part of a high school education. Nevertheless, those who pass the GED test demonstrate that they have achieved a comparable level of knowledge as those in their state who graduated from high school.


Homeschool Credentials


Homeschooled individuals are finding success in both the academic and business worlds. Homeschooled students can prove their graduation from high school in many different ways. Some homeschooled students get a GED to have the widely accepted documentation it provides. Some homeschoolers purchase preprinted form diplomas and some make their own. Some of these homeschool diplomas are eligible for certification by the state education department or local school district. Others attempt to show their achievements by compiling portfolios featuring detailed accounts of their schoolwork and extracurricular activities, which are known as transcripts, something Citizens’ High School provides. When a student is homeschooled, an institution or business may be willing to rely on factors other than the high school credential, such as scores on standardized tests and personal interviews. There are also online homeschool completion programs that offer diplomas.


The status of homeschooled enlistees in the military as changed several times. Although homeschooled enlistees were classified as Tier 1 prior to 1998, they subsequently were downgraded to Tier 2 because of studies showing higher attrition rates for homeschooled students than for high school graduates. Additional data is being compiled because it is now believed that homeschooled individuals have the same low attrition rates as high school graduates.




Whether your goal is to enter the workforce, go to college, or enlist in the military, a regular diploma is accepted as proof of graduation from high school. If you get anything less than a regular Citizens’ High School Diploma, you will be limiting some of your options for the future. GEDs may carry less weight than diplomas in the business world and are not accepted at a few colleges and universities. In general, however, the GED serves as an effective  High School Diploma equivalent when applying for college or jobs. In contrast, the U.S. armed forces limit the number of enlistees with GEDs and require them to score higher on the ASVAB. Homeschooled students have successfully used a variety of methods to satisfy a Citizens’ High School Diploma requirement and are readily accepted into the military along with holders of Citizens’ High School Diplomas.