Diplomas & Transcripts

Why Your Graduating Teenager Needs a Physical High School Diploma

Homeschool parents often focus on the high school transcript since it's so important for college admissions and discount the high school diploma as an optional, unimportant document. But the high school diploma may be necessary for your graduate down the line.

There’s an argument I’ve heard through the years in homeschool circles that you don’t actually need to give your teenager a physical diploma. After all, the high school transcript holds all the information colleges need to enroll your child. You should save the time, energy, and paper and skip the diploma; it’s something homeschoolers don’t need.

This is a short-sighted view that only sees a high school diploma being useful for getting students into college. There are many other reasons to give your teenager a diploma, from financial aid to future job opportunities.

Financial Aid

Financial aid requirements vary from school to school. And worse, the financial aid department and the admissions department in a school often don’t exchange information, so you may get different responses from each office. For instance, I sent my son’s high school transcript to the admissions department only to find the financial aid department wanted a copy of his diploma. I was very grateful to have a diploma sitting in my son’s room. We copied it, mailed it, and soon received his financial aid package.

My second son has not needed to send his high school diploma to his college’s financial aid department, but we have it carefully stored just in case. After all, you never know when a college or university is going to want to see the actual diploma rather than a simple transcript.

Some Jobs Require a Diploma

While many jobs simply ask you to check the box on the form for your highest completed education, there are some who ask potential employees to come in with their diploma. No, this isn’t a common occurrence, but it does happen on occasion. An employer may ask you to show a diploma, and a transcript is not a diploma. They need to see the physical diploma.

Can you state with surety that your child will not need to show their diploma for a job opportunity sometime in the next forty years? There may come a time when companies or employment agencies ask for proof of high school graduation in the form of a diploma. The future holds many possibilities, so why limit your child from the beginning? It’s easy to order a customized and professional diploma online.

Colleges, employers, and overseas organizations may request to see your teen's diploma, so it's best to create one at the time of homeschool graduation and store it safely until it is needed.

Opportunities Overseas

Overseas it’s much more common for employers to ask to see all certifications and diplomas. If your child has any notion of traveling or working overseas, she may very well require a high school diploma for career opportunities abroad. Nothing is worse than trying to come up with a high school graduation diploma ten years after the graduation or desperately explaining why a transcript is just as good to an official who simply wants to check off high school diploma on their checklist.

A Diploma Symbolizes Graduation

The diploma, not the transcript, symbolizes the high school transcript on paper. You might have the best transcript in the world but not have actually completed the necessary requirements to graduate. The high school diploma however clearly demonstrates that your teen has completed the necessary coursework to graduate from high school. Besides, a diploma is a beautiful document that can be framed, placed in a high school yearbook, or stored in a memory box. Your graduating teenager needs the diploma to show the world that he has graduated high school.

Some Students Don’t Attend or Graduate from College

You may have a child who chooses not to attend college, so high school is their highest level of education. The high school diploma then becomes a symbol of what they’re accomplished educationally and is very important. In addition there are always kids who don’t finish college for one reason or another. Again this means the high school diploma will be the only diploma they’ll receive.

Don’t shortchange your kids by skipping the high school diploma. You never know when they’ll need to produce it as proof of high school graduation. Even if it’s never needed, there’s satisfaction in seeing and holding your high school diploma.

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