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Are there any alternatives for completing high school?

Yes! Here are 4 options to completing high school.

OPTION 1: You can pass the General Education Development (GED) test and receive a California high school equivalency certificate. Check out this website to see if you’re eligible: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/gd/gedeligible.asp. LIMITATIONS: If you only pass the GED, but don’t finish your high school requirements, you can generally only attend community college or trade school/vocational training. Some private universities and colleges may also accept the GED, but you need to check. Also, having your GED may not be as helpful as having a high school diploma. One study found that individuals earning a GED credential instead of a high school diploma spend less time employed, experience more job turnover, and earn less money.NOTE: If you need help paying for a GED preparation class or the GED test and you are ILP eligible, contact your CSW (if case open) or Transition Coordinator (if case closed) to get assistance from ILP. Click here for more information about ILP. You can also check out One Source schools in LAUSD; this program offers the GED and preparation classes for free.
OPTION 2: You can also pass the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE). Each person who passes is awarded a Certificate of Proficiency, which is equivalent to a California high school diploma. Check out this website to see if you’re eligible as well as more information about the exam and deadlines for registering, as it is only offered during certain times of the year: http://www.chspe.net/registration/. LIMITATIONS: Again, with just this test, you will not be eligible to attend a University of California or California State University school. You might also not be eligible to apply for certain military service programs.
OPTION 3: Foster youth transfer homes and schools too much. Because of that, here is a law (AB 167) that makes it easier to graduate from high school when you’re behind in credits. You are eligible for this law if:

  • you are in foster care AND
  • you transfer schools in 11th or 12th grade (Starting January 1, 2014, this will change to your 3rd or 4th year of high school), and
  • you are not reasonably expected to graduate on time.

If you are eligible and choose to graduate under AB167, you only have to complete California’s minimum credit requirements to graduate. California’s minimum requirements (130 credits of specific courses), plus pass the CAHSEE.

So if you transfer schools in your 3rd or 4th year of high school and are not likely to graduate on time, make sure to discuss AB 167 with your school counselor or principal.


Click here to see the AB 167 course requirements and click here for a sample letter that you can submit to your school if you think you’re eligible for this exception!

LIMITATIONS: By graduating only with the state minimum requirements under AB167, you will probably not have all the courses you would need to apply to a 4-year college. You would still be able to go to community college or vocational school. Make sure to discuss your future plans with your school counselor to see if AB167 is right for you.
OPTION 4: By passing the GED test (see Option 1 above) and CAHSEE and passing 10 specific extra classes, you can graduate with a regular Adult School diploma. You can also take 34 specific classes and graduate with an Adult School diploma. Click here to see which classes you would need to take for these options.
LIMITATIONS: Again, since you aren’t taking all of the courses you need to apply to a 4-year university, you wouldn’t be able to apply to a University of California or California State University with this option. You could go to a community college (and later transfer to a UC or CSU) or vocational school.