By Michael Ormsby
Search engines are the mainstay of the Internet. They’re the way that we find our information, products to buy, and organizations for all our needs. That’s why it’s so important to take a close look at search results, especially in an industry with a lot of fraud, such as the GED® exam and online education.
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When searching for “GED” on search engines, many legitimate results come up, including the American Council on Education (ACE), the educational body behind the GED test. Wikipedia’s GED test credential information page comes up, and so do online GED test prep programs, including The GED Academy.
The problem is that the most prominent results on the page are the ads that come up on the top and side of all major search engines. Depending on the search engine you’re using, these advertisements are called “Sponsored Sites,” “Sponsored Results,” or “Sponsored links.” However, they look much like actual search results, and the colored background and prominent positioning that show they are ads can sometimes do more to promote and highlight these advertisements than show that they are paid ads that should be read with skepticism.
Searches for “GED” come up with completely false and misleading headlines such as “High School GED Online” or “GED? Take Our Online Test.” Other ads say things like, “GED HS Diploma online in 10 days.” These ads exist because many people would like to take a GED test online. But the GED test is not available online in the United States or Canada. You can’t take your GED online. The reason is simple. If someone was taking the GED test online, there would be no way to verify who was taking the test, or whether they were following the rules.
Other ads encourage students to “Forget the GED test” and get a high school diploma based on an online test. These ads are misleading, as well. Online high school diplomas based on an online test are not accepted at most colleges or by most employers, even if the website says that the diploma is accredited. Even high school diplomas from legitimate online courses might be rejected by some colleges, government agencies, or employers because tests administered online can’t be properly controlled.
Beware when you view search results for the GED test. Companies offering a GED test online or an online high school diplomas instead of the official GED test are often diploma mills, which sell a diploma for a fee. A fake online diploma is no substitute for a credential that can open doors to colleges and jobs. The official GED test is only given at GED centers throughout the United States and Canada. Though you can prepare for the GED test online, you must go to one of the local GED centers near you to get a GED diploma, honored by colleges and employers throughout the U.S.
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.