While the Homeschool Legal Defense Association tells us that our homeschool diplomas are legal in all 50 states, you or your teen may have other reasons for obtaining a GED high school equivalency. If your teen earns a GED, earning a high score can mean college credit.
In 2014, GED Testing Services (GEDTS) partnered with American Council Education (ACE) and evaluated the exam. ACE determined that high enough scores warrant college credit. As such, your teen can earn 10 college credits for successfully scoring above this benchmark.
NOTE: There are other brands of high school equivalency tests out there, but only GED is worth college credit at this time.
Each section is scored on a scale of 100–200.
- 145 is considered passing (equivalency granted)
- 165 is considered college ready (ready for 100 level classes)
- 175 or above is worth college credit (at participating colleges)
Mathematical Reasoning test: 175 or above will receive 3 college credits quantitative literacy / reasoning (math)
Reasoning Through Language Arts: 175 or above receive 1 college credit in humanities.
Science: 175 or above will receive 3 college credits in introduction to physical or natural science (no lab awarded).
Social Studies: 175 or above will receive 3 college credits in social sciences.
Diploma, Degree, or GED?
If you’ve provided a home education for your student and you’ve followed the homeschooling laws in your state, your student should be issued a high school diploma. Parent-issued high school diplomas are legal in all 50 states and for entrance into the military. The high school diploma is your certification that your teen has met the requirements of your homeschool. Since parents determine high school graduation requirements in most states, it’s impossible for a student “not to qualify” for a homeschool high school diploma. In states with graduation requirements, a parent does have a bit more responsibility and may need to provide records or documents to their state.
A parent can create a diploma on their computer, or purchase one that looks more professional. A diploma (the physical piece of paper) is really only a keepsake. While your teen may be asked to produce a copy of their homeschool diploma, it is more likely that they’ll need to produce a copy of their transcript. The transcript is an official academic record document outlining the courses, credits, and grades earned in high school. As a homeschool parent, you must create and save a transcript. For more help with this, visit our Transcript Resource tab above.
A GED (or one of the other brands HiSET, TASC) is a test anyone over age 16 can take to demonstrate high school level learning has been achieved without finishing high school. A GED is not an exit test for those of you who are homeschooling legally and is not part of the exit process. Homeschool students do not take the GED “to graduate” from homeschool. The only reason to pursue a GED is when a student leaves school before completing their homeschool program. In every state, a parent can issue a legal homeschool diploma, and in most states, the parent can choose the content of their diploma. In other words, 24 credits of just art? Yes. 24 credits of apprenticeship? If you like. Skip history? Sure. In short, unless your state enforces graduation requirements on your homeschool curriculum, parents get to decide what constitutes their student’s homeschool diploma- and if you’re deciding, it’s easy enough to also decide when your teen has met those criteria.
Sometimes a parent wonders if their teen still needs a diploma or GED if they’ve earned college credit or a college degree. The answer is “yes, absolutely!” Earning a degree does not erase the need for a transcript, high school diploma,or GED.
You may wonder why a resourceful parent would choose a GED instead of a high school diploma, but there are a few situations that make sense. An obvious reason is that your teen won’t be able to meet your state’s graduation requirements. This can happen when a family is unable or unwilling to finish homeschooling. This could be the result of a tragedy, death, or disability of a parent. In these cases, especially when the teen is within a year or two of graduation, a GED may make sense. I’ve also met a family that moved to a new state during their son’s 11th-grade year, and rather than rushing to meet their new state’s very strict requirements, they simply used the GED and stopped homeschooling. The GED exists to help families in these complicated situations.
If you’re being told that your teen has to get a GED by an employer, college admissions office, or military recruiter, please contact Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) by phone or email via their website immediately for guidance. Sometimes innocent mistakes or mixing up laws can result in parents turning their world upside down. Parents in our group have been told that their teen isn’t eligible for financial aid without a GED (untrue). I’ve read that some employers require every employee to hold an accredited high school diploma or GED, but they’re misusing the term “accredited.” I’ve also heard parents retell that a GED is required for military enlistment if your teen was homeschooled, but a homeschool diploma is recognized by every branch of our armed services. If you’re faced with any of these challenges, or you’re being told your son’s diploma isn’t valid, you need help. HSLDA will walk with you and advocate for you.
Two final words for parents who plan to use the GED with their teens. The market for test prep material and GED information is thick with scams and fraud. Your local community college should be your first stop for GED prep courses and legitimate exam information. Often these programs are available for very low cost or even for free.