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6 Reasons to Get Your High School Diploma (and 3 Reasons Not To) 

Written by Nicole Dalbo on Wednesday, 22 February 2023. Posted in Adult Learner, College Bound, Helpful Tips

Contemplative young woman biting on pen while sitting in front of an open book and laptop.

You may have heard people say that a high school diploma is so important, but what are the actual benefits of having one? What makes finishing high school worth the time and effort? Compare these 6 benefits of a high school diploma to the 3 reasons not to go back to school and see for yourself if getting your high school diploma is worth it for you. 

6 reasons to get your get high school diploma

You’ve heard time and time again that finishing high school is an important part of life, but what are the benefits of a high school diploma? Here are 6 reasons why finishing high school might be the right path for you.

1. Earn more money

It’s true! Those who have earned their high school diploma make nearly $10,000 more per year than those without. As cost of basic expenses like groceries and rent rise, each dollar counts more now than ever. Whether you use the money to upgrade your quality of living or save it to invest in your future, some extra cash in your pocket can go a long way.

A high school diploma can also help you earn significantly more over your lifetime. Chief Learning Officer, Dr. Andrew Shean, explains:

“Almost every study you see demonstrates that earning a high school diploma has real value for the rest of your life in terms of your economic mobility and in terms of your children’s economic success, whether you already have children or choose to have children one day. High school really is about students attaining very specific skills that are going to benefit them long term.”

2. Get more career opportunities

Earning your high school diploma can unlock job opportunities that weren’t available to you before. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies about 100 occupations available without having earned a high school diploma, while over 300 occupations are available for those who have completed high school. These new job opportunities can lead to promotions, better paying jobs, and may even align with your interests more.

3. Be more competitive when applying for a new job

Even if a job does not require a high school diploma, a diploma holder may have a better chance at scoring the position. When you apply to a new job, a potential employer only knows what you provide in your resume and application. Your diploma shows an employer that you’re able to put in the work, solve difficult problems, and overcome challenges. For most listings, that spot may only be available to one person, so it’s important to stand out amongst a sea of people.

2022 JMHS graduate Ramses O. poses in sunglasses and bowtie with the following quote: After not having my high school diploma and applying for various jobs, I was always second behind someone else and it hurt my pride a lot. I've gotten two job offers and I know for a fact it was because I had my high school diploma.

4. Start preparing for college or a career in high school

You may be able to choose a college prep diploma track or a career pathway while you’re still in high school to prepare you for life after high school.

The college prep diploma track is a more rigorous set of courses set to help you get ready for a college or four-year university. You’ll take courses in chemistry, pre-calculus, a foreign language, advanced English and history classes, just to name a few. These classes can help you earn the required credits while readying you for the more intensive workload you’ll find at most colleges. Even if you’re unsure if college is the right next step for you, a college prep diploma can help you stand out to employers as well, showing them that you’re up to a challenge.

Another great option for your high school diploma is taking on a career pathway. With options for ten different careers including Child Care, and Electrical fields, a career pathway can help you develop real job skills and experience a job before fully committing. When you graduate, you’ll receive a Career Pathways Certificate to signify the successful completion of your specialized job skills training certificate. Although these classes aren’t transferable to college or a career school program, if further education is required, you’ll be able to breeze through the coursework more efficiently, having already learned it.

5. Develop lifelong skills

Beyond the books, finishing high school helps you develop important skills needed for work, home, and beyond. High school helps develop your critical thinking abilities, which play an important part in quickly adapting to new situations, figuring out the solution to complex problems, and performing tasks more efficiently.

6. Increase your self-esteem and confidence

High school isn’t an easy feat. It takes real hard work and dedication to see it through to graduation. Your diploma is not just a gateway to opportunities, but a benchmark in your life to show that you have what it takes to reach your goals. It’s a reminder that when things get tough, you know how to handle problems and difficult situations because you’ve journeyed through tough situations before. You stayed motivated enough to complete your coursework, focused hard enough to pass all of your classes, and did that while balancing everything in between.

2022 JMHS Graduate Nio O. poses with her graduation cap, gown, and light blue stole, holding her diploma, with the following quote: Earning my diploma with JMHS has meant a lot to me and taught me to never give up on me, to always push myself to do better, and showed that I can achieve anything I put my mind to even when I'm doubting myself.

3 reasons to not get your high school diploma

Although there are many benefits of having a high school diploma, not everyone feels the need to have one. Here are a few reasons why you might not want to get your high school diploma.

1. A GED may be faster

Although the GED counts as an equivalent to high school completion, there are still quite a few differences between a high school diploma and the GED.

With the GED you’ll only need to take four large exams that will test if your knowledge of each subject is enough to prove you know your stuff. If you’ve already made it through most of high school, you could be more confident in your ability to pass the Social Studies, Math, Science, and Language Arts exams. Although the GED exam can be taken anytime throughout the year, you may need to do extensive studying, participate in GED prep courses, and take practice exams to be ready to pass.

2. Traditional high school might not fit into your schedule

Whether you’re taking care of family members, working during typical school hours, or are on the road constantly, there are a ton of reasons traditional high school might not be the best fit for you. Traditional high school is a commitment that not everyone can realistically fit into their lives.

However, if getting your high school diploma is important to you, alternatives like earning one through a self-paced online high school program or earning your high school equivalency with a GED can help you own your educational goals. If you’re thinking about transitioning from a traditional environment to online learning for a more flexible education, check out how you can transfer from public school to online school.

3. You don’t need a diploma to be proud of yourself

Diplomas can be a useful tool to have in life, but they don’t define your self-worth. You can still accomplish so many fulfilling goals and tough tasks without one. If you’re someone who hasn’t earned your high school diploma, it’s okay. While you can always go back to high school as an adult, your impact on this world reaches out much further than your education level.

Is a high school diploma even worth it?

If any of the advantages of having a high school diploma speak to you, then it’s definitely worth it!

A high school diploma can be advantageous and reaching your goals can become more realistic for you in more ways than one. While you’re the only one who can really determine if it’s worth it, it’s important to think about how earning a high school diploma can help you make a start toward improving your life.

Why is graduating high school important?

There are a ton of reasons why a high school diploma is important. Graduating high school can clear the way to more options for higher paying jobs. While money isn’t everything, it can help provide security for you and your family. If you’re someone who has to work more than one job at the moment, getting a higher paying job may improve your work-life balance, so that you have more time to do the things you love with the people you love.

Do you need a diploma to be successful?

Although a diploma is important and can open new paths in life for you, it’s not necessary to be successful. There are many ways people around the world have found their own pathway to success that didn’t involve education. However, depending on what success means to you, having a high school diploma can make your journey to reach your goals a much easier process.

Try defining what success means to you. Once you’ve got that down, list ways that you can get there. You may find that a high school diploma is necessary, optional, or not even needed at all for your chosen path. Dream about what you can become, and then follow your plan to become exactly that. It may not be easy, but it’ll be worth it when you reach your goal.

Take the first steps toward success with JMHS

If you’ve decided that finishing high school can help you own your path to success, then JMHS is here to help! At JMHS, you can earn your accredited high school diploma on your own time, from the comfort of your own home. Take the first steps to your future with online courses with no age limit. Get started as early as today by enrolling online at or reach out to an admissions specialist for more information at 1-800-349-6861.

About the Author

Nicole Dalbo

Nicole Dalbo

Nicole Dalbo studied English Literature with a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Scranton and is currently working toward her MS in Marketing. When she isn’t writing, Nicole can be found watching the newest Marvel movie, baking something sweet, or jamming out to live music.