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How to Earn an Online High School Diploma as an Adult

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Many adults realize that finishing a high school diploma can improve their employment prospects and make them eligible for workplace promotions. However, most grown-ups don’t have the leisure of spending seven hours a day on a school campus. Online high schools offer the solution. Online high school diploma programs offer adults the chance to schedule school work at their convenience and complete courses at their own pace. It may not be easy to earn an online high school diploma, but the hard work can pay off for years to come.

1. Figure out why earning a high school diploma is important to you. Before enrolling in an adult online high school diploma program, take the time to think about your motives. Finishing a high school diploma can give bring personal satisfaction and can make you more competitive for some jobs. For example: you may need a high school diploma to join the military or be hired at an entry-level job in your neighborhood. However, there are also other options for adult education. If you have the skills and are willing to spend a couple years in class, you may be able to go straight to a community college and complete an associate’s degree. This may be the best choice for advanced students who plan on attending college anyway. Alternatively, you may decide to take an exam and earn a GED. This choice appeals to students who have several years of remaining high school credits and would prefer a "quick fix." Make sure to weigh all your options before you make a choice.

2. Choose a regionally accredited online high school with an adult program. If you decide that earning an online diploma is the best choice for your situation, the next step is to choose an online high school program. Make sure the school you select is accredited by the proper organization. Schools that are regionally accredited are the most widely accepted by employers and colleges. Many employers and colleges also accept credits from schools accredited by the Distance Education Training Council. However, a diploma from this school will not be as commonly accepted. Make a list of questions to ask each online high school you consider. Find out if the high school has an accelerated program for adults, if it provides support for students who need help, and how much work you will need to complete. Here’s a good place to start searching for schools: Regionally Accredited Online High Schools.

3. Decide how to pay for your online high school course tuition. If you are in your late teens or early twenties, you may qualify to finish your education at an online charter high school for free (depending on your state law). Otherwise, you will need to pay for your classes. Ask the online high school you select if there are any tuition assistance or financial aid programs. Many online high schools offer adult students a tuition payment program that allows payments to be spread out over the course of a semester, instead of a lump sum due at the beginning of classes. If tuition is still too steep, you may be able to qualify for an educational loan – talk to your school and your bank.

4. Complete the required courses. Finishing your online high school courses may take several years or just a few weeks. As an adult, it can be difficult to manage school responsibilities in addition to a busy life. But, know that your sacrifices will be worth it. These resources can help: 4 Ways to Balance Family and School, 5 Ways to Stay Motivated.

5. Celebrate! Once you’ve earned your online high school diploma, take the time to celebrate. Hang your new diploma on the wall. You now qualify for a greater number of jobs and are eligible for more workplace promotions. Plus, you have the personal satisfaction of knowing you completed a worthwhile goal. Congratulations.

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