School Survival

Has school destroyed your creativity and self-confidence? I'm working on a book called Recovering From School, to help you heal the damage caused. Join the Patreon or Newsletter to be notified about updates. Paid Patreon members will get early draft previews, as well as a free digital copy when it's done.

Beware Of Fake Diplomas!

Warning signs of fake online GED/diploma sites.
by Leo Williams

Here’s a common story. Ellen C. dropped out of high school in the tenth grade. She’s tired of low paying jobs and wants to enroll in nursing school but needs to obtain her high school diploma or the equivalent, the GED. She goes online and enrolls in an online high school that promises to give her a GED in two weeks after she passes a quick online test. Ellen passes the test, pays her $250 and gets an official looking “GED” diploma in the mail. But when she tries to enroll in the nursing school they politely inform Ellen that the diploma is a fake.

This familiar story plays out over and over everyday for thousands of people. Just as the Internet has become a valuable source for online education, it has also become a way for unscrupulous and dishonest companies to take advantage of people in need. For the 40 million people without a high school education, getting a diploma the fastest and easiest way seems to be the quickest road to a better job and higher income. But fast and easy is very often a waste of time and energy.

How can one tell if the online school is a fake? Here’s what to look for.

1. If the Internet listing says you can take the GED test online, it’s a fake. The GED is ONLY awarded by your state after you pass a 7 ½ hour test IN PERSON at an official test center.

2. If the Internet listing says you can earn a high school diploma online by taking a test and a few courses, beware! The “diploma” you receive will not be from a nationally accredited and recognized school. Colleges and businesses will not accept it. It takes years of study to complete the coursework for a real high school diploma.

3. If the school says they are “accredited”, be careful. There are over a dozen so called accreditation standards and only two are the real thing. Just because a school says they’re accredited does not mean the diploma will be accepted by the college you want to apply to. The best way is to ask the college first if they recognize the online high school you are considering.

4. For GED schools find out if their courses meet the standards issued by the American Council on Education, the people who write the GED tests. You want to find out if their study program will actually prepare you for the GED.

5. Don’t be mislead by website high schools that have official sounding names. Anybody can create a website and make it look authentic.

The bottom line is this. . . if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.

For people without a high school diploma the best alternative is the GED. The GED is recognized by 97% of the colleges and universities in the U.S. as equal to a high school diploma. One in seven college enrollees obtained have a GED instead of a high school diploma.

The GED tests are not difficult but often require some study and preparation. The math test is the most difficult for people and requires the most study. The fastest way to get a GED is to start with a practice test first to see how one will do on the actual GED exams. Often a quick online study course will give the GED candidate all they need to pass the test.

Author's info/links:
©2006 Essential Education Corporation /
Leonard Williams, an e-learning instructor with, is also a curriculum specialist who focuses on research and development, implementation and assessment of best-practice learning solutions for adult learners and people with educational challenges. Leonard’s email is He invites feedback and questions from GED students and instructors.

Written by: Leo Williams
10 July 2008

If you like what we're doing here, you can become a Patron and sign up for our newsletter!