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Advantages of a High School Diploma

    Admissions to Colleges and Universities

    • According to the American Council on Education, approximately five percent of first-year students on college campuses hold GEDs rather than high school diplomas. GEDs and high school diplomas are both used as minimum educational criteria at most institutions throughout the United States. College applicants with high school diplomas, however, benefit from selection criteria like class rank and high school ratings to get into more prestigious institutions. Admissions officials can investigate the competition at a particular high school, a tool that is difficult to use with GED programs.

    Employment Possibilities

    • notes that high school graduates are 37 percent less likely to be out of work than dropouts. Most employers look at high school diplomas as proof of the minimum education required for blue and white-collar jobs. Non-degree holders may be unable to find work outside of menial and low-paying jobs that graduates do not pursue. Traditional students who have participated in sports, clubs and other activities in high school can use these experiences to boost their job prospects after graduation.

    Increased Wages

    • High school graduates stand to make about $158 more each week in wages than their colleagues without diplomas according to This wage disparity is primarily due to the type of work that high school graduates can pursue after getting their diplomas. A high school diploma indicates that the holder can commit to repetitive tasks over a long period, allowing employers to offer permanent work rather than contract and seasonal positions.

    Contributions to Society

    • High school graduates contribute greater amounts to local, state and federal taxes than dropouts throughout their careers. These contributions go to schools, roadways and public buildings that constitute safe communities. Diploma holders require far less government assistance once they find work, saving money for taxpayers and government agencies that can be used for other projects. As a consequence of higher wages and better communities, diploma holders are able to contribute to charity and pursue hobbies that increase self esteem.

    Education and Incarceration Rates

    • The University of Cincinnati conducted a study of high school graduates and dropouts in an eight Ohio cities to determine disparities in incarceration rates. In the study area, university researchers found that non-holders cost 77 percent more to incarcerate than high school graduates. These costs come from public defender services and repeated legal proceedings due to recidivism by some dropouts. While a high school diploma does not constitute a guarantee against imprisonment, diploma holders may have learned important lessons about coping with anger and stress in school.

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