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What Is The Difference Between JMHS’s General, College Prep, and Career Pathway Diplomas?

Written by James Madison High School on Friday, 06 January 2023. Posted in Adult Learner, Traditional Students

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Earning your high school diploma can help you prepare for opportunities in the workforce, the military, or college and training programs. Whether you’re a traditional student or an adult learner, online high school could be the best fit for you to reach your goals. Besides being self-paced, allowing you to study when and where you want, James Madison’s online high school diploma program offers several tracks to choose from so you can focus on getting the education you need to start preparing for life after high school. But which diploma option should you choose? What’s the difference between them? Here’s everything you need to know to help you figure out the right fit for you.

What is the JMHS General Diploma?

The online General Diploma track offers a standard high school curriculum of over 23 credit hours. The classes you’d take include your standard English and math, which are modeled on Common Core standards, as well as science, history, and open electives courses. You’ll be able to choose from 12 different electives to take classes you’re interested in or that can help you explore your interests.

This track is a great fit for traditional students and adult learners who may not have a plan yet for what to do after high school, want to earn their diploma for personal achievement, or are looking to qualify for advancement in a current job.

What is the College Prep track?

The College Prep High School Diploma is online and as flexible and self-paced as the general track. The difference is that this particular track offers more academically rigorous coursework to help you prepare to apply to colleges and confidently tackle college-level classes. Like the general track, you’ll complete 23 credits to graduate and still have the option to choose from our open electives for several of your classes.

The College Prep track is a great fit for students who intend to apply to four-year colleges, want a challenge in their courses, or are ready to study at a more rigorous level.

What is the Career Pathway track?

The JMHS Career Pathway High School Diploma allows you to finish your diploma while learning competitive, industry specific skills that may help you prepare to take the first steps toward a career in that field after graduation. In areas from child care to sterile processing, you’ll complete the standard 23 credits to graduate, including at least two specific career-focused elective courses. Upon finishing your diploma, you’ll also have a Career Pathways Certificate to commemorate your completion of your industry-specific classes.

This track is a great fit for those who know what industry they’d like to work in after graduation or those who want to figure out if a particular job is the right one for them.

What do the tracks have in common?

Besides each requiring you to complete 23 credits in order to graduate, each diploma track is nationally accredited, ensuring you get an education you can use to pursue your goals. JMHS is nationally accredited by both Cognia and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).

All diploma tracks are self-paced and online, so you can take your studies wherever you go and complete lessons whenever it best fits your schedule. Additionally, if you have credits from a current or previous school, each track allows you to transfer up to 17 toward the 23-credit total.

Choose your track with JMHS

Ready to get started? You can take the first steps down the high school track of your choice as soon as you’re ready. Reach out to our expert Admissions Specialists today at to take your next step.

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James Madison High School

James Madison High School

Our blog comes to you live from our high school students and community. Dive in to hear more from current students, alumni, and experts as we celebrate our student's accomplishments, persistence, and passions.