Dropping out of high school can feel like the end of the road for your education, but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are options available to earn your high school diploma or equivalent as an adult, no matter your reasons for leaving school early.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: You can finish high school through GED programs, adult high schools, online high schools, or by taking the HiSET exam.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various pathways available to complete high school after dropping out. You’ll learn the pros and cons of different options, find resources to help you get started, and get actionable tips to overcome challenges along the way.

Understanding High School Equivalency Options

Life can be full of unexpected twists and turns, and sometimes circumstances may force a person to drop out of high school. However, it’s never too late to continue your education and earn a high school equivalency diploma.

Several options are available to individuals who want to finish high school, and in this article, we will explore three popular choices: the GED, HiSET, and TASC.


The General Educational Development (GED) test is one of the most well-known high school equivalency exams. It measures knowledge in four subjects: language arts (reading and writing), mathematics, science, and social studies.

The GED is recognized and accepted by colleges, employers, and the military. It provides a second chance for individuals who did not complete their high school education.

The GED test is computer-based and consists of multiple-choice questions, short answer responses, and an essay. It is a challenging exam that requires preparation and study. However, there are plenty of resources available, such as online practice tests, study guides, and prep courses, to help individuals succeed in obtaining their GED.


The High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) is another option for individuals who want to earn a high school equivalency diploma. This exam is offered in several states and measures knowledge in five subjects: language arts (reading and writing), mathematics, science, social studies, and a choice between social studies or science.

The HiSET test can be taken on a computer or on paper, depending on the state. It includes multiple-choice questions, short answer responses, and an essay. Like the GED, the HiSET is recognized by colleges, employers, and the military.

It provides individuals with the opportunity to demonstrate their academic knowledge and skills.


The Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) is a high school equivalency exam that assesses knowledge in five subjects: reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. It is recognized by colleges, employers, and the military as a valid alternative to a high school diploma.

The TASC test is computer-based and includes multiple-choice questions, short answer responses, and an essay. It is designed to measure the skills and knowledge typically acquired in four years of high school.

With proper preparation and study, individuals can successfully complete the TASC and earn their high school equivalency diploma.

When considering which high school equivalency option to pursue, it’s important to research the requirements and availability in your state. Each state may have different regulations and testing centers.

Additionally, it’s advisable to utilize resources such as practice tests, study guides, and online courses to prepare for the exam.

Remember, earning a high school equivalency diploma can open doors to higher education, better job opportunities, and personal growth. It’s never too late to finish what you started and achieve your educational goals.

So, take that first step and explore the high school equivalency options available to you!

Enrolling in an Adult High School

If you have dropped out of high school but still have the desire to earn your diploma, enrolling in an adult high school can be a great option. Adult high schools are specifically designed for individuals who did not complete their high school education and are seeking a second chance to earn their diploma.

These schools offer flexible schedules and tailored programs to accommodate the needs of adult learners.

Benefits of Adult High Schools

Enrolling in an adult high school can offer several benefits. Firstly, these schools provide a supportive and understanding environment for adult learners. The teachers and staff are experienced in working with individuals who may have faced challenges or obstacles in their educational journey.

They are there to assist and guide you every step of the way.

Secondly, adult high schools offer flexible scheduling options. Many of these schools have evening classes or online programs, allowing you to balance your education with work or other responsibilities.

This flexibility is especially beneficial for individuals who need to earn money or take care of their families while completing their high school education.

Furthermore, adult high schools often have accelerated programs. These programs are designed to help you catch up on missed coursework and complete your high school education in a shorter timeframe. This can be a great option if you are looking to enter the workforce or pursue higher education as soon as possible.

How to Enroll

Enrolling in an adult high school is a straightforward process. Firstly, research different adult high schools in your area and find the one that best suits your needs. Visit their websites or contact their admissions offices to gather more information about their programs and requirements.

Once you have chosen an adult high school, you will typically need to provide some documentation, such as proof of identification and residency, as well as any previous educational records you may have.

This will help the school determine your eligibility and create a personalized learning plan for you.

Finally, you will need to complete the enrollment process, which may involve filling out an application, attending an orientation session, and paying any necessary fees. Once you have completed these steps, you will be ready to begin your journey towards earning your high school diploma.

Remember, enrolling in an adult high school is a courageous step towards achieving your educational goals. With the right support and determination, you can successfully finish high school and open up new opportunities for your future.

Taking Online High School Classes

If you have dropped out of high school and are looking for a way to earn your diploma, taking online high school classes can be a great option. Not only does it provide the flexibility to study at your own pace, but it also allows you to work towards your diploma from the comfort of your own home.

Online high school classes offer a wide range of subjects, allowing you to customize your education based on your interests and goals.

The Benefits of Online High School Classes

One of the main benefits of taking online high school classes is the flexibility it provides. Unlike traditional classroom settings, online classes allow you to create a schedule that works best for you.

Whether you are juggling work, family responsibilities, or other commitments, online classes can be tailored to fit your busy lifestyle. Additionally, online classes often offer 24/7 access to course materials, so you can study whenever it is most convenient for you.

Another advantage of online high school classes is the ability to work at your own pace. If you are a fast learner, you can complete assignments and move on to the next topic without waiting for others.

On the other hand, if you need more time to grasp a concept, you can take as much time as you need to fully understand it. This personalized approach allows you to maximize your learning potential and ensures that you are not left behind.

Choosing the Right Online High School

When choosing an online high school, it is important to do your research and select a reputable and accredited institution. Accreditation ensures that the school meets certain standards of quality and that your diploma will be recognized by colleges, universities, and employers.

Look for online schools that are accredited by recognized accrediting bodies such as the AdvancED or the Cognia.

You should also consider the curriculum and course offerings of the online school. Make sure they offer the subjects you need to complete your high school education. Some online schools may have specific requirements or limitations, so it is important to review their policies and ensure they align with your educational goals.

Success Tips for Online High School Classes

While online high school classes offer flexibility, it is important to stay disciplined and motivated to succeed. Here are some tips to help you stay on track:

  • Create a study schedule and stick to it.
  • Set goals for yourself and celebrate your achievements along the way.
  • Stay organized by keeping track of assignments and deadlines.
  • Participate in online discussions and ask questions when you need clarification.
  • Take advantage of online resources and support services provided by the school.
  • Stay connected with fellow online students through virtual study groups or forums.

Remember, earning your high school diploma is an important step towards achieving your future goals. With online high school classes, you have the opportunity to finish what you started and open doors to new opportunities.

Comparing Your Options

When it comes to finishing high school after dropping out, there are several options to consider. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. By comparing these options, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs and goals.


One important factor to consider is the flexibility offered by each option. For example, if you have a job or other commitments, you may need a program that allows you to study at your own pace. Online high school programs, such as those offered by K12, provide the flexibility to complete your coursework whenever and wherever it is convenient for you.


Another factor to consider is the cost of completing your high school education. Traditional high school programs may require tuition fees, while other options, such as earning a GED (General Educational Development) certificate, may have lower costs.

It’s important to evaluate the financial implications of each option and choose the one that fits within your budget.

Support Resources

Having access to support resources can greatly increase your chances of successfully completing high school. Some options, like enrolling in an adult education program at a local community college, offer personalized guidance and academic support.

Online high school programs also provide access to teachers and tutors who can assist you along the way. Consider the level of support available to you when comparing your options.


Lastly, consider the acceptance of the credential you will receive upon completion. While a GED certificate is widely recognized, some employers or higher education institutions may prefer a traditional high school diploma.

Research the acceptance of different credentials in your desired field or educational path to ensure that your efforts will be well-regarded.

Remember, the most important thing is to choose an option that aligns with your goals and supports your future aspirations. Take the time to compare your options, weigh the pros and cons, and make an informed decision.

With determination and the right support, you can successfully finish high school and open doors to a brighter future.

Overcoming Challenges

Dropping out of high school can be a difficult setback, but it doesn’t mean the end of your educational journey. With determination and the right strategies, you can still finish high school and pursue your dreams.

Overcoming the challenges that come with returning to school after dropping out is crucial for your success. Here are some key areas to focus on:

Getting Organized

One of the first steps to successfully finishing high school is getting organized. Create a dedicated study space that is free from distractions and has all the necessary materials. Use a planner or digital calendar to keep track of assignments, deadlines, and important dates.

Breaking tasks into smaller, manageable chunks can also help you stay organized and reduce overwhelm. Prioritize your tasks and tackle them one at a time, crossing them off your list as you complete them. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and keep you motivated to continue.

Staying Motivated

Staying motivated throughout your journey to finish high school is crucial. Remind yourself of the reasons why you decided to return to school and the goals you want to achieve. Surround yourself with positive influences and seek support from friends, family, or mentors who can provide encouragement and motivation.

Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, to keep your spirits high. Remember, every step forward is a step closer to your ultimate goal.

Managing Your Time

Effective time management is key to balancing your studies with other responsibilities and commitments. Create a schedule that allows you to allocate time for studying, attending classes, completing assignments, and taking breaks.

Stick to your schedule as much as possible, but also be flexible when unexpected events arise. Avoid procrastination by breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable parts and setting deadlines for each.

Prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency, and use time management techniques such as the Pomodoro Technique to stay focused and productive.

Finding Support

Seeking support from others can greatly enhance your chances of successfully finishing high school. Reach out to your teachers, school counselors, or online communities for guidance and resources. They can provide valuable insights, study tips, and assistance with any challenges you may face.

Consider joining study groups or forming study partnerships with classmates to share knowledge and hold each other accountable. Additionally, explore online platforms or local organizations that offer tutoring or mentoring services to help you excel academically.

Remember, finishing high school after dropping out is possible with the right mindset, strategies, and support. Stay organized, motivated, and manage your time effectively to overcome any challenges that come your way.

With determination and perseverance, you can achieve your educational goals and pave the way for a brighter future.


Dropping out of high school doesn’t have to be a dead end. With determination and focus, you can still earn your high school diploma through equivalency exams or adult education programs.

Weigh your options carefully, develop a study plan, and access local resources to help you reach your goal. With hard work, it’s possible to get your high school credential, open doors to higher education and new career opportunities.

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