There was a time when dropping out of high school meant that you were bound to be stuck with a GED if you weren’t able to head back soon. There are a number of restrictions on reentering high school after dropping out–not the least of which is age. And while GEDs are supposed to be “equivalent” to a high school diploma, they don’t serve the same function for workplaces or secondary education applications. People don’t perceive a GED the same way, and while it should be seen as proof you’ve accomplished your high school education on your own (admirable in itself) too many employers and universities just see “drop out” when they see GED on an application.
And, there’s another issue, especially when applying for colleges. When you have a GED, you just have a couple of scores. A high school education, however, provides you with a transcript, showing your accomplishments in a number of areas–not just a test score, but the ability to follow through with a course of study. This matters when you’re being considered by colleges and universities, because that is an ability they are particularly interested in. They don’t want a student who is going to drop out after a year or two–and while your circumstances while in high school may not have been preventable and may not have been any reflection on your character, on paper it’s hard to tell.
Show universities and employers that you are capable of staying the course–literally. Just because you are ineligible because of age to go back to your old high school doesn’t mean you can’t get a real high school diploma. And it also doesn’t mean you have to follow a traditional high school schedule. There are many online high school programs now that are self paced. In fact, some of them may be better preparation for you college education or career choice than your original high school was. Some online courses focus on preparation for a vocation; others may focus on preparing you to pursue a certain college major. Don’t wait. Start researching your high school diploma..