Should a Homeschooler Get a GED or a Diploma?

Picture this: Your student is going to be a senior in high school next year.  For quite a while, you have already been visiting colleges, narrowing choices, and focusing interests.  However, only now does it hit you: What about a diploma?  He/she’s homeschooled…will he/she need a GED instead?

Which one is more beneficial for a homeschooler: a diploma or a GED?

I’ve seen homeschoolers go both ways.  Nowadays, both the diploma and the GED are readily accepted.  If you’re concerned about college, know that a college’s main concern is your student’s high school transcript.  They will still require proof of graduation via a diploma or GED, but their focus is usually on the transcript.

However, I know this is still a big concern for parents.  Some colleges will not accept homeschoolers unless they have either taken the GED, or have graduated from an online homeschool program, which awards the students with a diploma (not a parent-made diploma).  Please understand these colleges are very few in number, but they do exist.

Even if you’re not concerned about college, there’s employment to think about.  Some employers ask to see their potential employee’s diploma and/or GED.  I’ve heard of a story where an employer stated that the parent-made diploma “wasn’t real.”  Even with our state rights, though, several homeschoolers have opted to go for the GED anyway, just in case.

What’s the deciding factor between a diploma and a GED?

In the end, it’s completely up to you.  95% of the time, parent-made homeschool diplomas are not an issue.  As long as it says “High School Diploma” at the top and is signed by one or more parents, it’s official.

Now, there is a bad reputation revolving around the GED.  For a long while, having a GED implied that the student had dropped out of school – which is certainly not the kind of image you want for your hardworking homeschooler!  However, the GED has drastically changed.  The test is much harder now, and is also referred to as the “high school equivalency test.”  Meaning, the student better know the topics covered in high school, or they’re not going to pass the test.  It has especially changed in the beginning of this year, 2014.  While it used to have a bad rap, the GED is now a satisfactory test used to indicate the completion of a person’s high school education.

I was homeschooled for nine years, and I have a high school diploma – parent-made.  It has held up just fine for me, and I’m confident that there will never be a problem with it.  However, I also have friends who took their GED at the end of high school, just to make sure.  In reality, the GED could be a good way to make sure the student has learned everything they need to for a well-rounded education.  Of course, their SAT and ACT scores should reflect that anyway.

Feel free to check out our other resources for further information on homeschoolers and the GED.  If you have any other questions, be sure to Ask A Homeschooler!

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Tialla Rising is a homeschool graduate and a published author. She lives in the mountains of Arizona with her amazing husband, where she enjoys reading, Netflix, writing, and more! Visit her website at

April 5, 2014


  1. Kiwi says:
    Posted May 6, 2016 9:36 am

    Finally, someone in the home schooling community who sees that the GED doesn't carry the same stigma it used to!

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