By Michael Ormsby
Over 30 million American adults lack a GED® or high school diploma. If you’re an adult without a high school diploma, the GED diploma is an important step in moving on with your life. It opens up more job opportunities and enhances self-esteem. The GED siploma is just the tip of the iceberg, though. The greatest career opportunities come with college education. You can gain the most benefit from a GED dipoma by using it as a stepping stone to higher education.
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The income level of adults goes up with more education, and at the college level, it makes a large leap. Among people 25 and over who had full-time jobs, the median weekly income for people without a high school diploma was $426 in 2008. With a high school diploma, it jumped to $591 a week, an increase of nearly 40%. With a 2-year Associate degree, median income was $736 a week, and with a bachelor’s degree, median income was $978. That’s more than double the median income without a high school diploma.
Can GED graduates succeed in college? They can, and do. Rockingham Community College student Khori Navarre earned a GED diploma in 2008 before enrolling as a full-time student. Now, Navarre has a 4.0 grade-point average and won the North Carolina Community College System’s Academic Excellence Award. Navarre credits the GED diploma with giving her confidence to go on to college.
If you are working toward a GED diploma, start thinking of the next step. Look into local GED community colleges and universities. Many states and colleges have programs for GED graduates, and scholarships may be available. Some scholarships are set up especially for GED earners. An example is the Columbus, Ohio Ivy Tech Community College, which is awarding a $1,000 scholarship to a top-scoring GED earner in the area for the 2010-2011 school year. The GED testing center in your area or your local adult education center might be able to give you information about scholarships. Other scholarships are open to GED earners as well as high school graduates entering college. Try meeting with a counsellor at your local community college and ask about what scholarships and other financial aid are available.
For most GED earners, community college is a great step toward a four-year college or an associate’s degree. Community colleges are typically less expensive and offer evening classes that fit into adult students’ lives. They act as bridges to universities and career training, and they often offer transitional classes in reading, writing, math, and study skills, to help students prepare for college level courses.
Michael Ormsby is the president of the GED Academy and oversees software and curriculum for adult learners and people with educational challenges. For more information, visit passGED.com. Michael can be contacted by telephone at 800-460-8150.