Monday, April 18, 2011

How To Get Your High School Diploma Early And Easily

By Tish Kline

There are some high school students who genuinely don't want to leave, because they are having the best time of their lives. But this is certainly not the case for everyone. And for these students, there are ways to learn how to get your high school diploma early and (relatively) easily.

Graduating early is a worthwhile goal, and one that many students share. There are several ways to do so, some of which are intended to be early-exit plans, and others which can be taken advantage of. Unfortunately, many states require that students have their parents' permission to leave school before the dropout age, even if they have completed all the graduation requirements. This age varies by state from 16 to 18.

Public and private schools provide opportunities to leave school ahead of time. These opportunities can be intentional, or just something that students can take advantage of. In the state of California, an option exists to allow students who pass an equivalency exam like the GED to leave school at the age of 16, if their parents consent. Otherwise, state law requires that students attend until they are 18.

The requirements for graduation from public schools vary by the state and by the district, but often there are many more classes taken in a typical student's four years than are required for graduation. One way to leave ahead of time is to delete any optional courses from your study plan, not take any 'free' or optional study periods, and finish all graduation requirements faster than normal. This option usually only decreases graduation time by a maximum of a year, though.

Doing some non-traditional learning is usually the best way to leave early. Independent study programs exist in most districts for certain troubled students, but they can be hard to gain entry into without certain recognized problems. Charter schools in the area may offer more flexible learning plans, however, including independent study programs that are part-time or full-time.

Combined high school-community college programs exist in some areas. These programs put students in traditional classes during part of the day, with the students going their separate ways to take college courses during the rest of the day. This is not a faster graduation plan, but it will decrease the amount of time a student spends in college, as the courses are 'double-counted' towards college and high school.

Another way to use local community colleges is to take classes through them. Most high schools consider college units to be twice the value of their units, and therefore a single semester college course can often fulfill a full-year high school requirement. But high schools usually have rules about which courses can be taken this way, and how many units can be transferred in.

Using private schools is usually easier. Online private schools are the simplest method. Either by taking a few courses that you transfer to your regular school, or by completing a whole degree program, online private schools allow you to work at a faster pace than traditional courses. And often, you can transfer in many more units from a college.


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