By Tracey Squaire
For years, people who got a General Education Diploma (GED) instead of a high school diploma have been seen as less intelligent than those who have gone the traditional schooling route. This idea stems from the belief that GED students are not smart enough to complete high school and that the GED is easier to obtain than a high school diploma.
The truth is, the GED is neither easier nor harder than getting a high school diploma. Both routes have their own advantages and disadvantages. Getting the GED is less of a time commitment than completing high school is. It also offers those with a need to enter the job force right away a chance to do so.
The GED consists of four tests: Social Studies, Science, Math and Language Arts. In order to take the GED, students must be 16-years-old or older. To pass, they must score on a level that is the same or higher than 60% of recent high school graduates. This is no easy task, considering many of the students taking their GED at Pensacola State College are in their 20s and 30s, have full or part-time jobs and also have families to take care of. Sometimes, students looking to take the GED are as old as 64. The GED tests are no easy task for them.
In 2013, around 1000 students enrolled in GED preparation classes. Of those 1000, around 150-200 typically passed and received their diploma.
One such student is Tawada English. English worked hard for six months studying for the GED before eventually completing all four tests in 2013. English, who, in the Spring of 2016, will be the first member of her immediate family to attend and graduate from college, decided to take the GED because she wanted to further her education and be an example for her family, especially her grandchildren.
English believes she benefitted a lot from taking the GED, stating that life experience showed her the importance of education.“When I received my GED, it was the foundation for where I am headed now. I realized that it is never too late to go back to school.”
Academically, English has a 3.6 GPA. She is also in the TRIO organization and mentors young women who have an ambition to attend college.
English is now graduating from PSC and will soon be attending Howard University majoring in Healthcare Management.