By Leonard Williams
For today’s student, GED® online test preparation can provide a valuable and affordable way to work toward a GED diploma, the best way for an adult to demonstrate the skills of a high school graduate. But there are a growing number of companies and schools who aren’t really in the business of education. Instead, their biggest business is selling a so-called “online GED diploma,” or a fake GED online test, along with worthless so-called GED transcripts.
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In most cases, the GED diploma is the only official diploma that has value and is meaningful for adults who never completed their high school education. The official GED test credential is accepted by almost all U.S. colleges and employers. Not so with a fake “online GED diploma.” You can’t take your GED online. There are exceptions, but as a rule most transcripts and diplomas from online high schools are worthless. Unfortunately, students and adult learners are often misled by these diploma factories or diploma mills. Here’s a recent letter from a new GED student, who learned about one education business the hard way:
“I paid $250 and got this paper in the mail, but it didn’t help me get a better job. It was a ripoff. It wasn’t till my boss told me that I found out it wasn’t a real high school. It wasn’t even a real high school diploma, just something somebody made on a computer. But it looked like a real school. With a real test.”
This student’s story is typical and becoming more common every day. Taking the GED test online seems to make sense. But you can’t take your GED online. The test is only offered at Official GED Testing Center™ locations, so that monitors can make sure test-takers follow the testing rules. Many adult learners fall victim to online GED diploma or online high school scams, usually paying $200 to $800 in tuition, testing, and transcript or diploma fees. But because the school or program isn’t accredited by a real accreditation agency, the diploma has no value. When it comes to employers, job training programs, tech school, community colleges, and universities, bogus diplomas are useless.
But a real GED diploma is very useful. For today’s 39 million or more U.S. adults who never graduated from high school, passing the GED Test is a passkey to both career and educational opportunities. Approximately 95 percent of employers and 97 percent of U.S. colleges and universities accept a GED test credential because it really is an official diploma or credential awarded by your state government, based on a test developed and overseen by the American Council on Education GED Testing Service®. It’s meaningful, and it has real value.
When choosing an education program, a student’s best bet is a GED diploma solution, whether through a local class, an online GED class, or self-guided study using a GED guide and other GED test prep materials. If an online GED class is the best solution for you, look for a program that includes all GED study material needed to prepare for the GED test.
Here are some guidelines for finding real online GED programs and avoiding bogus schools or fake online GED diploma scams:
- The American Council on Education (ACE), GED Testing Service®, has tight guidelines for the GED test. The test covers science, social studies, language arts reading and writing, and math. Find a program that includes all testing areas; avoid any solution or school that doesn’t include all test areas or information about test areas and ACE requirements. Learn more at www.gedtest.org.
- You can take a GED practice test online, and a GED online test is a good way for a student to choose GED study material. But taking GED online practice tests is not the same thing as earning a diploma for online GED testing, remember. You cannot take your GED online, and you must go to one of the official GED test locations. So avoid any company that claims to offer the official GED test or a quick online version for a diploma. For a listing of official GED test locations and local contacts, visit the Official GED Testing Center™ locator.
- Read the fine print, before you pay. Make sure you understand what the company or school is offering and determine if it’s worth the price. Is it a worthwhile learning process or just a fake diploma? Will it help you progress in your career or education? Will the online GED class or learning solution you choose really prepare you for the GED test? Ask for guidance if you’re unsure. Talk to a local GED instructor or agency you trust about local resources.
- Look beyond the company or school. Discover what other teachers, students, and adult learners say. Learn from their experiences. Explore GED study materials, education message boards, online forums, library materials, local newsletters and news articles or learning communities.
- Be very cautious in dealing with any company or online high school that offers a diploma or transcript after passing an online test. The GED test is difficult. The test is timed and usually takes more than seven hours. You need to prove your identity to take it. Basically, just as the old adage says: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.”
Education is probably the best investment you can make in yourself. Make sure your investment is a good one and gives you a return that’s worthwhile. The GED diploma might be harder to get than a $250 online diploma. Still, you sure can count on it to take you to where you want to go.