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Dropping Out of High School

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: My 17-year-old daughter is in the eleventh grade and doesn't want to finish high school. She wants to take a quick review course and take the GED test, which is also expensive ($350-500.) How can I make her understand that she will miss out on a lot of stuff? I do not really know how can she benefit from getting this. She states she has been counseled by the community school advisor and that she is not going to have any problem entering college. Is this true?

A: Why does your daughter really want to quit high school? There must be serious reasons for her decision. If she is having academic problems, it could be difficult for her to pass the GED. If she is having social problems, they could continue in college.

For some students who find the high school experience unbearable for a variety of reasons, the GED is a good way to complete their education. Of course, students completing high school in this fashion will not have the same depth of knowledge as high school graduates. Your daughter will be missing at least 1,000 hours of classroom instruction. The 30 hours that are typically spent in preparing for the GED will not offset this difference.

Passing the GED is not easy. While no formal preparation is required to prepare for this test, many students attend classes offered by local school districts, colleges, and community service agencies. These classes are usually free.

We agree that your daughter will be able to go to college after obtaining her GED. However, she will still have to take admission tests (SAT or ACT) as well as meet the admission requirements of the school. Before she embarks on this path to college, we suggest that she contact the admissions office of the college that she would like to attend for more information.

Quitting high school and taking the GED is not usually a formula for success in college. Many GED diploma holders have great difficulty in handling college just as they had problems with high school. Only a very low percentage of GED recipients will actually get a bachelor's degree. We suggest that you explore with your daughter and her counselor exactly why she wants to quit high school.

More on: Expert Advice

Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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