For many young adults who didn’t finish high school, going back to earn a diploma or GED can open up more opportunities for college and careers. If you’re 19 and want to re-enroll in high school, it may be possible depending on your situation and location.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Most traditional high schools will not allow someone aged 19 or older to re-enroll as a full-time student. However, there are alternative options like adult education programs, online high schools, and GED prep classes that can help 19-year-olds earn a high school-level credential.

The Traditional High School Route

For many individuals who are 19 years old and considering going back to high school, the traditional route is often the first option to explore. Here are some key points to consider:

Age Limitations

While there may be age limitations for attending high school, it is important to remember that these limitations can vary depending on the state or school district. Some school districts may have specific age cutoffs, while others may allow individuals of any age to enroll.

It is advisable to check with your local school district to determine their specific policies regarding age limitations.

Talking to Your Local School District

Before making any decisions, it is recommended to reach out to your local school district’s administration office to discuss your desire to go back to high school. They will be able to provide you with information regarding enrollment procedures, age limitations, and any additional requirements you may need to meet.

It is important to gather all the necessary information to make an informed decision.

Enrolling as a Part-Time Student

Depending on your circumstances, enrolling as a part-time student may be a viable option. This allows you to balance your other commitments while still pursuing your education. Some school districts offer flexible scheduling options for part-time students, allowing you to attend classes at times that work best for you.

However, it is important to keep in mind that enrolling part-time may extend the duration of your high school education.

Remember, going back to high school at 19 is not uncommon, and many school districts are equipped to accommodate individuals in various age groups. It is essential to explore all available options and have open and honest conversations with school administrators to ensure a smooth transition back to high school life.

Alternatives Like Adult Education and Online High Schools

For individuals who are 19 years old and wish to go back to high school, there are several alternative options available. These alternatives include adult education programs, online high schools, and GED preparation.

Each option offers unique benefits and flexibility, allowing individuals to pursue their education at their own pace and convenience.

Adult Education Programs

Adult education programs are specifically designed to cater to the needs of adult learners who may have missed out on completing their high school education. These programs are offered by various educational institutions, including community colleges, vocational schools, and adult learning centers.

Adult education programs provide a structured learning environment where individuals can earn their high school diploma or its equivalent.

One of the advantages of adult education programs is the flexibility they offer. Many programs offer evening classes or online coursework, allowing individuals to balance their education with work or other responsibilities.

Additionally, adult education programs often provide a supportive learning environment, with experienced instructors who understand the unique challenges faced by adult learners.

Online High Schools

Another alternative for individuals looking to go back to high school at 19 is enrolling in an online high school. Online high schools provide a virtual learning environment where students can complete their coursework remotely.

These schools often follow the same curriculum as traditional high schools and offer a wide range of courses and electives.

Online high schools offer the flexibility of studying from anywhere and at any time. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who have other commitments, such as work or family responsibilities.

Moreover, online high schools may provide additional support through online tutors and virtual classrooms, ensuring that students receive the assistance they need to succeed academically.

GED Preparation

If obtaining a high school diploma is not the preferred route, individuals can also consider preparing for the General Educational Development (GED) test. The GED is an alternative to a high school diploma and is recognized by many employers and educational institutions.

The test assesses the individual’s knowledge in subjects such as mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts.

Several resources and programs are available to help individuals prepare for the GED test. These include study guides, practice tests, and GED preparation courses. These resources can be found online or through local community centers.

By successfully passing the GED test, individuals can demonstrate their academic abilities and open doors to higher education or career opportunities.

Getting Your High School Transcripts

When considering going back to high school at 19, one of the first steps you’ll need to take is obtaining your high school transcripts. These records contain important information about your academic history, including your grades and any completed coursework.

Here are some steps you can take to obtain your transcripts:

Contacting Your Previous School

The first and most straightforward option is to contact your previous high school directly. Start by reaching out to the school’s main office or guidance counselor’s office. They should be able to provide you with the necessary information on how to request your transcripts.

Keep in mind that different schools may have different procedures, so be prepared to follow their specific requirements.

When contacting your previous school, it’s important to provide them with as much information as possible to help locate your records. This may include your full name, date of birth, the years you attended, and any other relevant details.

The more information you can provide, the easier it will be for them to locate your transcripts.

Options if Your Previous School Can’t Locate Records

If your previous school is unable to locate your records, don’t worry. There are still options available to obtain your transcripts. Here are a few alternatives you can consider:

  1. State Department of Education: Contact your state’s Department of Education to inquire about the process for obtaining your high school transcripts. They may have resources or guidelines to help you navigate this process.
  2. Online Transcript Services: There are online services available that specialize in retrieving high school transcripts. These services may require a fee, but they can often expedite the process and ensure you receive your transcripts in a timely manner.
  3. GED Testing Service: If you are unable to obtain your high school transcripts, an alternative option is to pursue a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. The GED is equivalent to a high school diploma and can open doors to further education and employment opportunities.

Remember, each state and school may have different procedures and requirements for obtaining high school transcripts. It’s important to be proactive and reach out to the appropriate authorities to ensure you have the necessary documentation to continue your education or pursue other opportunities.

Scholarships and Financial Assistance for Older Students

Going back to high school at 19 may seem unconventional, but it is never too late to pursue your education. One of the concerns that older students often have is the financial aspect. However, there are various scholarships and financial assistance programs available specifically for older students.

State and Federal Aid Programs

State and federal governments recognize the importance of supporting individuals who are pursuing education later in life. They have established aid programs to help older students cover the costs of tuition, books, and other educational expenses.

These programs may include grants, loans, or work-study opportunities.

One well-known federal aid program is the Pell Grant, which provides financial assistance to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need. To determine your eligibility for federal aid programs, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Additionally, many states have their own financial aid programs specifically designed for older students. These programs may have different eligibility criteria and application processes, so it’s important to research the options available in your state.

The websites of your state’s department of education or higher education commission can provide valuable information.

Non-Profit and Private Scholarships

Non-profit organizations and private institutions also offer scholarships for older students. These scholarships are often targeted towards individuals who may have faced obstacles in their educational journey or who are pursuing specific fields of study.

One example of a non-profit organization offering scholarships for older students is the Imagine America Foundation. They provide scholarships to individuals attending career colleges and trade schools.

Their website,, contains information about eligibility criteria and application processes.

Another option is to explore scholarships offered by private companies or foundations. Many of these scholarships are open to individuals of any age, as long as they meet the specified criteria. Websites like and can help you search for scholarships that are relevant to your situation.

It’s important to note that scholarships and financial assistance programs may have specific deadlines and requirements. It’s recommended to start your search early and carefully review the application instructions.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to the scholarship providers or financial aid offices for assistance.

Remember, age should never be a barrier to pursuing education. With the right financial assistance, you can achieve your educational goals and open doors to new opportunities.

Tips for Going Back to School Later in Life

Have a Plan and Set Goals

Going back to high school at 19 can be a daunting decision, but with proper planning and goal-setting, it can be a rewarding experience. Start by assessing your reasons for wanting to return to high school.

Are you looking to improve your education, pursue higher education opportunities, or simply fulfill a personal goal? Once you have a clear understanding of your motivations, create a plan that outlines the steps you need to take to achieve your goals.

For more guidance on setting goals and creating a plan, you can visit websites like Mind Tools or Goal Setting Guide.

Ask About Accommodations

If you’re considering going back to high school later in life, it’s important to inquire about any accommodations that may be available to you. High schools often have resources and support systems in place to assist adult learners.

Whether it’s flexible scheduling, tutoring services, or additional academic support, don’t hesitate to ask about the options that are available to you.

For more information on the accommodations available to adult learners, you can visit websites like National Center for Education Statistics or Education Corner.

Find a Support System

Returning to high school as an adult can sometimes feel isolating, but finding a support system can make the experience more enjoyable and manageable. Look for like-minded individuals who are also going back to school or connect with adult education groups in your area.

These networks can provide encouragement, advice, and a sense of community.

Websites like Back to College or Learning Advisor offer resources and forums where you can connect with other adult learners.


While traditional high schools typically don’t allow full-time enrollment for 19-year-olds, there are pathways like adult ed and accredited online schools that make it possible to earn a high school credential at 19.

With some planning, goal-setting, and utilizing available resources, you can get back on track to finish high school, whether through GED classes, credit recovery, or alternative programs. Don’t get discouraged by age limits and logistics – focus on your education goals and create a customized plan to meet them.

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