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The Value of a High School Diploma

by Neil Kokemuller, studioD

Though it may seem like a cliche, the value of a high school diploma cannot be overstated. Graduating from high school offers tangible career benefits as well as intangible value to the holder. While higher education often leads to even greater career opportunities, for some, graduating high school is a major accomplishment.


While many colleges and universities actually allow people without a diploma to apply for admission, your odds of getting admitted to quality schools are significantly greater when you graduate from high school. Colleges usually require that you submit your transcripts with your application for admission. Seeing that you completed high school can influence the perception of the admissions counselor or committee members as they assess your potential for college success.


A diploma gives you much better odds of landing a job than someone who doesn't complete high school graduation requirements. A July 2006 "RWM" article noted that the U.S. Department of Labor found that a high school diploma meant you were 37.5 percent more likely to get a job than those who did not have a diploma. The diploma also enhances your options, as many employers only consider applicants who have graduated from high school.

Better Pay

The same Department of Labor study found that high school diploma holders earned an average of $554 a week compared with $396 earned by employees who lacked a diploma. This adds up to $8,268 more in earnings per year with a diploma. Over the course of a lifetime, the combined earnings differential provides evidence of the tangible value of earning your diploma.


Earning a high school diploma can also provide a significant boost to your self-worth, according to Internet-based Excel High School, which emphasizes this point in recruiting prospective students. Not only does the diploma represent the hard work and education that you have earned, it shows an ability to stick to commitments and persevere through obstacles. When you are applying for jobs and building your career, being able to say you have a high school diploma can greatly improve your confidence in professional and relationship development.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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