What Are Common Obstacles to a High School Diploma or GED? (by Guest Blogger Jeff C.)

Read more about the author here. This post is based on the community work and writing that the author has been doing in WR 122 at Portland Community College.  The piece of public writing is loosely based on a research question and research collection the author developed.  The public writing is a chance to use one’s writing to become part of the larger community dialogue about issues in the chosen theme.

JeffBlogPictureThe Research Question

My research question when approaching my research was, what are some major repercussions for missing out on a diploma/GED and what might prevent someone from obtaining it? My research is made up of various articles about some general information involving the GED program. My public writing piece is just my response to some of the information as well as my general opinions with education.

The Public Writing

General Education Development

                  Having a high school diploma or a GED is very important in many aspects of life. It can have an impact on your self confidence, the ability to get a job, and also just having more general knowledge about the things around you.  Like everything else in the world, they are constantly looking for ways to improve or change the GED program (Gewertz).

In theory, a student who drops out of high school (whether going through a rough time in life or it just wasn’t working out) will come to their senses hopefully not too long after and enroll in a GED program. With approximately 6 million students leaving high school without a diploma every year this is a problem (Tyler). Far more people should be going back to obtain their GED. In 2004, approximately 39 million people had not completed high school or were not enrolled in any GED program (GED).

One thing that teens like to do, especially high school students, is drink alcohol. But how much of an effect does this have on their eventual academic performance and potential graduation? A study conducted in 1996 showed that a 10 percent increase in the frequency of alcohol consumption decreases your chance of graduating by 6.5 percent (Renna). Another study in 1993 showed that high school dropouts were over 6 times more likely to develop an alcohol dependency than those who continued through school and graduated (Renna).

There are many choices you can make in high school and unfortunately not everybody can make the good ones. In my volunteering I have been tutoring people at a GED program. I am very satisfied by this because higher education is the best and safest route to success in this world. I am glad to help people understand things that they wouldn’t have otherwise. There are many factors that may go into the reasons a student drops out of high school and sometimes it is inevitable. A GED is a huge stepping stone to an individual’s success and is something that should be a priority for everybody.

Authors note: I learned a lot throughout my research. The most significant thing I learned is probably how many people currently do not have a high school diploma or equivalent GED. This is a growing problem in our country and one that cannot get any worse.

Tag words: education, GED, high-school, drop-out, diploma, graduate

Works Cited

GED participation, success rates continue upward climb in 2004.” Report on Literacy Programs 18.7

(2006): 53. Academic OneFile. Web. 13 Mar. 2013.

Gewertz, Catherine. “GED Revision Opens Path to Higher Education.” Education Week, n.d. Web. 13

Mar. 2013.

Renna, Francesco. “Teen’s Alcohol Consumption and Schooling.” Economics of Education

Review, n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2013.

Tyler, John, and Magnus Lofstrom. “Is the GED an Effective Route to Postsecondary Education

for School Dropouts?” Economics of Education Review, n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2013.



  1. Jeff, I would like to congratulate you for your writing specially the volunteering you are doing, helping adults to learn/get knowlege for G.E.D. is a nice thing to do. Unfortantly it is so true young people drop out of high school for many reason; drugs, low self-steem, family isssues or kids simply can have a problem learning basics, so they feel out of place and sometimes they just don’t want to go school. I am glad one of your research brought out drinking alcohol is another reason why children don’t finish school.
    It is never to late and you are right it is necesary to get a good job to be sucessful in life. My older son has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and he couldn’t focus in hight school so he just finish his GED last year at age 26 and he is register for college next term. He had people like you who helped him in math and more. His life changed now he has a good job and want to continue his education so his tutor changed his life, my and my son’s son. Volunteering is very powerful !!
    Thank you

  2. Molly


    This is a very interesting topic! I haven’t been following as much of your work throughout the term because we aren’t in the same topic. Your angle on this growing issue sheds light on how much of a problem this really is. I think that your evidence about the effects that alcohol has on graduation rates was extremely relevant, because many high school students do experiment with alcohol.

    Although this topic is very important, I think focus should also be placed on how many students actually are graduating or getting their GEDs. There are countless reasons for someone not to graduate; some of which may be completely out of their control. The rate of students dropping out should be addressed, but the rate of graduates could also be included somewhere.

    Great job!
    Molly Tyler

  3. Kayla Arnot

    After reading this I came to the realization that the HS dropout rate is a bigger problem than many of us realize. Also, i never knew that Alcohol and HS dropouts had such a connection.Alcohol abuse is also a big problem in the US. Your evidence backed up your topic well and that led to a strong connection between the two.

    To make this piece a little more detailed you could go into a couple other factors that contribute to the HS drop out rate. Also have comparison of dropouts-graduates just so we can see the bigger picture of things and get a better idea of how bad the problem is.

    That is really cool your volunteer work was helping students with their GED’s. This topic was very appealing to me considering I just graduated High School a few months ago. I really enjoyed reading you work, and great job this term! 🙂

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