I was pleased to see Idaho’s high school graduation rates have risen, ever so slightly (nine schools in Idaho that have 100 percent graduation rates!). Upward progress is good, though Idaho ranks 40th in the nation.
How can we encourage our kids to graduate? What are the factors that keep our kids from finishing high school?
My oldest son did not finish traditional high school. He took online classes for the majority of his high school education.
When his senior year rolled around, we considered enrolling him in a public high school. We met with the school counselor and I was disappointed to discover it would not be easy. A lot of his online credits were not credits that the school required and conversely, a lot of the credits that the public school required, he had not yet taken. In order for him to graduate, he would have had to repeat his junior year.
I sat with him and we discussed his options; continue with online school and audit choir (he loves singing) or transfer to public school and repeat his junior year. A third option would have been to discontinue his education and work full time.
We chose to continue with online school (and take choir). As we reviewed the online classes he needed to graduate, we realized that there wouldn’t be enough time for him to complete his high school education and start college in the fall. We were all very frustrated, and my son was losing the motivation needed to continue taking online classes.
My son wanted to go to a local college, so I decided to call and ask about the Boise State University application requirements for online/homeschooled students. They were understanding and took the time to discuss options. Because my son had a good score on the ACT, BSU informed me that if he got a good score on the GED, he could be admitted.
I had never considered the GED as an option for finishing high school. I didn’t know that students who got their GED could still apply to college. To be honest, I didn’t know a whole lot about the GED or about applying for college. I learned that, not only can a student go on to college with a GED, but if the student scores high enough, they can even earn college credit and apply for the honors college (at BSU).
So he decided to take the GED and apply for college. I found the link to the website and got it to work. This is what I learned about the GED; there are four tests that can each be taken separately. The tests are given at several locations around the state (the website can help you locate the nearest testing site). The student can take one test at a time, or combine any number of tests. There are study guides available (for purchase) and if needed, the test can be retaken (to improve scores).
My son did well on the Language Arts test, but had to take the social studies test more than once. He was able to send all of his test scores directly to the BSU admissions department, along with his ACT scores and application.
For my son, the GED was the perfect solution to finishing his high school education. He was ready to be done with high school, and wanted to start college to pursue his career goals. If he had transferred to the public high school, or continued with online school, he may have gotten discouraged and given up. Taking the GED and applying to college gave him hope and excitement about continuing his education. His GED test scores gave him the confidence and the knowledge that he was ready for higher education.
I know that the GED is not the solution for everyone, but it was a great solution for my son.
What can we do to encourage our kids to complete their high school education, and go on to higher education?