From Quora: My answer to "Okay so I’m a freshman and I am thinking about dropping out. Studying for the GED and take the GED at 16. Do you think I could do that? I know it’ll be hard studying and I will try my best I really just wanna focus on my art
Link to Quora article here.
Some states have special tests specifically for that purpose - for example, in California, it’s the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE). See, for example:
California High School Proficiency Exam - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_High_School_Proficiency_ExamI’ve helped students prepare for this exam, but I don’t know all the details of being able to graduate early. I’m fairly certain that passing the CHSPE gets you a certificate that works the same as a GED - you officially have a high school equivalency degree. However, do not take my word for this, or that of Wikipedia, especially since I have no idea where you attend school currently. Different US states, maybe even different school districts may have different rules. Certainly schools outside the US probably have different rules.
The important thing here is to make sure you, your parent(s) or guardian(s), and your school district are all in agreement before you do anything like dropping out of school. If everyone involved, especially the school district, agree you can drop out and just take the GED/CHSPE/whatever to get your degree, great! Do that.
But since you’re under 16 right now, the school probably has to do something to make you can legally stop attending school without getting you, and possibly the school, in trouble. I’m fairly certain all US states require everyone between 6 and 16 to get a free appropriate public education. So the school wants to get its state aid for having you as a student, and you want to avoid violating truancy and/or child labor laws (presumably if you’re not school, you’ll need a job).
Furthermore, I know of at least one friend in New York State who tried to do what you are discussing. She dropped out of school as soon as she could (16 in NY) with the intention of immediately taking the GED or whatever exam she needed to get her HS equivalency. The problem was, the district’s policy was not to allow that. It was something like students couldn’t take GED classes or the test until they were 18. This was probably a policy intended to get young dropouts to just return to regular high school classes.
I’m not sure if she ever get her GED, which is too bad, since she wanted to go to law school, which would’ve been a harder for her, since she’d probably have to go to community college after getting her GED, then transfer to a 4-year college, then be accepted to law school. It would’ve helped if she stayed in high school.
So make sure you consult with at least one high school counselor about your career plans, why you want to leave high school early, and that you do want to get a GED or better yet, a real diploma, just early (generally speaking, you CAN work like crazy and graduate at least one year early from many high schools). If your school counselors, principal, etc. aren’t helpful, you may have to go up the ladder to the school board, your state’s department of education, and so on, to get a definitive answer. You might even need the assistance of an attorney, but probably not. In any event, good luck!
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