Earn Your Diploma: Tips for Succeeding in High School

There are several things you can do to improve your chances of earning a high school diploma if you're an adult who did not graduate from high school. From reviewing your options, setting goals and finding a balance between your studies, work and family life, here are some tips you can follow to succeed in earning your diploma.

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Tips to Help You Succeed in High School

Adults seeking their high school credential may discover that each state offers adult education programs leading to a diploma or its equivalent. Many of these programs offer suggestions and tips on how adult students can do well in school.

High School Graduation Requirements

High school graduation requirements vary from state to state. Most states require a minimum number of credit hours in English, math, social studies and science. It is essential to verify your state's requirements with their Department of Education and make sure you attend a program that meets those standards.

1. Review Your Options

Most states allow adult students to earn a high school equivalency credential by passing the General Educational Development (GED) examination. The GED exam takes over 7 1/2 hours to complete and is broken into four sections - Reasoning Through Language Arts, Mathematical Reasoning, Social Studies, and Science. There are also two short answer questions included on the test. The test was created by the American Council on Education (ACE) and is administered by each state. The states of Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, and West Virginia do not currently offer the GED. However, you can take the GED in a state that allows non-residents to test. The GED is recognized by the majority of employers and educational institutions across the nation. More information is available on the GED Testing Service website (www.GEDTestingService.com).

Your state may also offer an adult diploma program at adult high schools or adult education centers. Community colleges can often offer high school completion programs. To be a recognized equivalent of a high school diploma, you need two years of coursework that is acceptable for credit towards a bachelor's degree. The courses can be in the form of a completed associate's degree, completion of a minimum of 60 semester credit hours eligible towards a bachelor's degree without earning an associate's degree, or enrollment in a bachelor's degree program where a minimum of 60 semester credit hours have been successfully completed.

2. Set Goals

Having clear career goals can help motivate achievement. Because a diploma is generally required for post-secondary education and for employment, determining an education or career goal may keep you focused. You may want to set shorter or more immediate goals to help make a program more manageable and to stay on track.

3. Get Involved

Students who take advantage of benefits offered as part of an adult education program may gain more confidence in achieving their academic goals. Get involved by participating in class activities such as study groups and group projects. Take a class you're interested in or have expertise in to meet other adults with similar interests. If needed, work one-on-one with a tutor or an instructor.

4. Create A Study Place

Create a specific study area at home to establish an atmosphere of learning. Create a list of things you need to do so you can keep your mind focused on studying. Keep to your study schedule and let everyone in your household know about it. Study the difficult subjects earlier in the day when you're likely to have more energy. Don't procrastinate, but take regular study breaks.

5. Take Responsibility

Adult students who understand they control their success may be better positioned to achieve their goals. Remember that your instructors or teachers can't help you anymore than you're willing to help yourself complete your high school credential. Remind yourself of why you're seeking your high school diploma. Practice self-discipline whether you're learning in the classroom or online.

6. Balance Work, Family, and School

Success as an adult student is usually not achieved alone, especially if you have a family and are working. You'll need the support of family and friends to encourage your studies and provide you with the time to do so. Strive to strike a balance of time among family, work, and studies. Some time management tips include being organized so you can prioritize your time and communicating to others that you need time to study without interruption.

7. Don't Give Up

As an adult student, you already realize the importance of a high school diploma or its equivalent. Stick with your program and give yourself a little reward after completing smaller goals such as a difficult course or a class project.

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