Frequently Asked Questions About Accredited Diplomas and Homeschooling

FAQ - Accredited Diplomas and Homeschooling

Can a homeschooler get into college without an accredited diploma?

It’s a common question. A valid question. But also, a question that misses the point. The POINT is getting into college. Accreditation is just a long and somewhat misunderstood word that is sometimes thrown around for all the wrong reasons. Let’s look at some other questions that are more important in the long run….

What IS an accredited diploma, anyway?

An accredited diploma is a diploma issued by school that has received accreditation from a recognized accrediting organization. All accrediting organizations are non-governmental, private agencies, meaning that no one accrediting agency has an “official” authority over any other one. Accreditation is also completely voluntary, meaning many private schools and even some public schools are not accredited. The main idea behind accreditation is to create an “acceptable” norm for quality education. But with the wide variety of accreditation agencies, this norm can be widely varied as well.

Who needs an accredited high school diploma?

Fewer and fewer colleges are specifying the need for a diploma from an accredited high school. Homeschooling can likely be thanked for a portion of that trend. The multitude of successful homeschool graduates who have gone on to more than ruin the curve of expectations in college have pushed colleges and universities around the world toward realizing that the type of diploma one receives has little to do with one’s promise for higher education success.Homeschool Friendly Colleges

But, as with most trends, there are always those who are either too stubborn or too slow to catch up. Therefore, it is wise to take a sampling of colleges your homeschooler may be interested in applying to, and seeing if their college admissions requirements include accreditation of any sort.  It’s also important to note that even when a college creates a specific request for an accreditated diploma, it usually offers an alternative in the way of minimum SAT or ACT scores.

For instance, the University of Georgia (UGA) states the following on their admission information for home educated students and/or graduates of non-accredited high school programs:

If a student cannot verify completion of the College Preparatory Curriculum (CPC) with an official accredited transcript, he or she must demonstrate very high academic ability by having earned an SAT or ACT score equal to or above the average scores of the first-year students admitted to UGA for the prior Fall term.

How can a homeschooler receive an accredited diploma?

So, you understand that accredited diplomas aren’t usually necessary to get into the college of your choice. You also understand that accreditation doesn’t necessarily mean the quality of the education is superior to any other education. But, you still WANT an accredited diploma. As a homeschooler, you are certainly able to receive an accredited diploma if youCurriculum Directory wish to have one.

You may search the high school homeschool curriculum directory at to find programs that offer both accredited and non-accredited diploma options.  Many private distance-education programs have been created to assist homeschoolers in receiving an online accredited diploma.

Another option if you want to get your high school education at home and are strongly in favor of an accredited diploma is to look into virtual schools. Virtual schools are charter public schools that are tuition-free, and online. Not every state offers virtual schooling, so you will need to check whether this option is even available to you.  Many virtual schools use common online learning programs such as Florida Virtual School, Connections Academy or K12, all of which are accredited. Therefore anyone graduating from one of these programs can receive an accredited diploma. It’s important to note, however, that attending a virtual school is NOT homeschooling and does not fall under the homeschooling regulations of any state. Virtual school students are charter public school students and must follow the schedule and guidelines of their specific virtual school.

Parents and students should not assume that the quality and offerings of all accredited schools are equal. You should still closely research the curriculum, faculty, student support services, tuition costs, and graduation rate of each school you are considering. Just because a school is accredited does not mean it will be the right fit for your student or your family.

What are the alternatives to an accredited diploma?

High school graduates without an accredited diploma can accomplish anything a student with an accredited diploma can. Attend college, enter the military, join the workforce…follow their dreams!

Non-accredited diplomas from an online or correspondence school – Plenty of homeschool curriculum providers offer diplomas – – but not all of them have gone through the process of having their school accredited. They provide distance education programs that cover a full core, college-preparatory, or advanced placement curriculum and offer diplomas to students who have enrolled and sufficiently met or exceeded the requirements for graduation. Examples of schools that offer unaccredited diplomas would be The Angelicum Academy, Abbington Hill School, North Atlantic Regional High School, and Freedom Project Education.Download Free Homeschool Diploma Templates

Parent-issued diploma – The majority of homeschooling high schoolers are “hybrid homeschoolers.” That means that they don’t take the majority of their coursework from a single school or publisher. Instead, they mix and match courses from a variety of sources. They may take English online, but get their science instruction at a local homeschool co-operative, learn math from a textbook, take history at the local community college via dual enrollment, and volunteer at a homeless shelter for public service credits. When high school credits are mixed and matched from various curricula, outside classes, and tutors, then it’s likely that the parents will be the ones overseeing the creation of the high schooler’s transcript and issuing their diploma. The good news is that a parent-issued diploma is legal in all 50 states AND accepted by most colleges and universities.

GED – One in every seven Americans with high school credentials received the GED test credential, as well as one in 20 college students. Ninety-eight percent of U.S. colleges and universities recognize the GED credential as equivalent to a high school diploma. A GED is definitely a valid option for a homeschooler. Keep in mind, however, that it is probably not the only test you will be required to take for admission into a higher education facility. Most colleges will also require you to take and receive an acceptable score on either the SAT or ACT, or you may can bypass that qualification by taking at least some of your general course requirements at a community college before applying to the college or university of your choice.

View More Articles


View more articles on homeschoolers and diplomas


View More Articles     View more college planning tools and articles




Kerry Jones is a guest author at and the admin of the web's largest community for secular homeschoolers,, She is a "homeschooling alumnus", having graduated both sons who were each homeschooled from kindergarten. You can follow Kerry on Google Plus by adding her to your circles.

August 21, 2013


  1. lisa says:
    Posted January 29, 2016 11:47 pm

    hi, my daughter is getting bullying at her current high school. She and I think it is better to enroll her into homeschooling asap. She is in high school and I want her to graduate. How can I start homeschooling with my daughter? Will she get the same diploma as a student in a public school? I would like someone to help me asap

  2. Deborah Paegelow says:
    Posted October 14, 2015 8:29 pm

    I homeschooled my daughter through 3 years of highschool with a hybridization approach, unaccredited. Then we enrolled her in a public highschool for the remainder of her classes. The highschool will not give her any credits for the three years we homeschooled her, and even with 3 more years in a public school, (6 years total!) they will not award her a diploma because they cannot prove her homeschool classes were rigorous enough to get credit. I am concerned that any full-time jobs she takes in the summer would be turned down because of not having an accreditation for her diploma, not having a completed GPA and credits. She is considering a GED /HSED program and wants to get her diploma ASAP, but cannot enroll for that until school gets out in June. She is sick of high school, and wants to get on with her college options. Is an ACT score of 21 high enough to get into colleges, or should she retake it?

  3. Heather Burton says:
    Posted August 30, 2015 7:40 am

    I have a question my sister in law got her diploma from a Christian school and there saying that employers won't take it is that true a privite school diploma is no good and she will have to get her ged ? Help !!!!

  4. Qwanna says:
    Posted March 24, 2015 2:38 pm

    I'm currently looking into homeschooling because my son never comes home with homework.He's failing in the ninth grade now.

  5. Milagros says:
    Posted December 3, 2013 4:02 am

    Excellent way of describing, and nice article to take data regarding my presentation subject matter, which i am going to present in institution of
    higher education.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

8 + 9 =