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Enrolling Your Teen in a General Education Development (GED) Program

Unfortunately, not every high school student finishes his or her course of study and earns a high school diploma. Whether these teenagers drop out, are expelled or leave school for some other reason before they graduate, they are at a disadvantage when they  apply for a job, try to enlist in the military or decide to continue their education and pursue a college degree.

If you have a son or daughter who didn'​t finish high school but now wants to correct that situation, he or she has an opportunity to do that though the General Education Development (GED) program.

The GED includes a test that measures a person's academic skills in five areas: writing, social studies, science, interpreting literature and the arts, and mathematics. The test's content covers general knowledge and skills a person would learn in a traditional four-year high school program. For those who left high school before earning a diploma, this program offers a second chance for teenagers and beyond to obtain the educational requirements that are necessary to apply for college or get a desired job.

To be eligible for the GED program, a person must be able read at least at a ninth-grade reading level (i.e., can read newspapers, simple forms and letters). Applicants also must have basic math skills, like knowing how to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Developing strong reading and thinking skills are the keys to successfully completing the GED program.

According to the Center for Adult Learning & Education Credentials, which has overseen the GED since it was created, about 95 percent of American colleges, universities and employers consider a GED diploma to be the equivalent of a high school diploma. The average age of GED test-takers is just over 24.

Each state has different GED requirements based on age and residency. For information about enrolling your son or daughter in a local GED program, call a local public high school or community college. Questions to ask include:  When and where are classes held? What is the cost of the program? How does a person register?

Encouraging an older child to restart and complete his or her education is one of best things you can do as a parent.