Famous GED® Graduates

ABC News anchor Peter Jennings. Actor and comedian Chris Rock. Sanjaya Malaker, the popular singer from American Idol. Judge Greg Mathis. What do these people have in common, besides being famous and respected? None of them finished high school, and they all earned their high school diplomas by passing the GED test.

Judge Mathis grew up in the housing projects in Detroit. He was involved in gangs. He spent time in jail. How did he pull himself out? After learning that his mother had cancer, Mathis decided it was time to change the course of his life. He was offered probation if he entered a GED certificate program. He didn't just stop at a high school certificate, though. He went on to college and law school, and he became the youngest superior court judge ever to serve in Michigan. Did he stop there? No, he went on to have his own television court show.

With a high school equivalency diploma, opportunities for job advancement or for new careers can open up. Many promising careers, like nursing or law enforcement, require a high school diploma as the first step to career training. The armed forces also require a high school diploma. High school graduates and high school certificate earners make an average of $385,000 more in their lifetime than people without a diploma, and going on to higher education or career training means, even more, earning potential.

A high school equivalency diploma, earned through the GED test or HiSET exam, is most lucrative when it's a gateway to higher education. The average income for college graduates is $44,000, more than double the income of people who haven't graduated high school, and 97% of colleges accept high school equivalency diplomas.

Another highly respected GED test graduate, ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, was an active sponsor of scholarships for GED certificate recipients. When speaking at a GED certificate scholarship ceremony in 2003, he said: "You are now so much more prepared to go off in search of America. … You have indelibly today taken a huge and magnificent step forward." Are you ready to take that step forward and find the land of opportunity?

The next question most students have is, "How can I get my GED certificate?"

Passing the GED test or HISET exam doesn't have to be difficult. Most people can prepare in a few short months with online courses. High school equivalency tests cover the essentials from high school, the things that are most valuable for success in today's job market. You don't need to memorize a lot of facts and dates. The tests focus on critical thinking skills: analyzing, making inferences, and applying concepts to new situations. With a little practice, you can quickly improve these valuable skills and earn a diploma.

Some adult learners wonder how to get a GED online. Online testing may be available through your state's official test center, and you can pass with a little preparation. Try a sample practice test online for free to get started.


Anita Pasternak, Educator


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