Finish Your Diploma

How to Graduate

Man in graduation cap and robe holding his daughter and smiling

The first step to finishing your high school diploma starts here.

No matter what level you’re starting from, we’re here to help you finish your high school diploma. You won’t be doing this alone.


Find Free Adult Education Classes

Before you take a high school equivalency test, it’s best to prepare by taking classes. Use the Zip Code Search to quickly find classes and educational support near you.

Enter your Zip Code to find a free class near you.

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There are many advantages to earning a high school equivalency diploma, from finally completing a major goal to helping your children with their homework.

It might seem hard to finish your high school diploma, but it can make all the difference in your life and for your family.

Hear advice from real graduates. 

If you’re reading this, you’re ready! Teachers and dedicated support staff at thousands of centers across the U.S. are waiting to help you finish your diploma. Best of all, many of the centers offer free or low cost support.

If you feel that your life is too busy with work, kids, and other responsibilities, don't worry. Millions of adults have successfully earned a high school equivalency diploma through this process. Just like them, you will have all the support you need. 

No one gets a diploma alone.


In some cases, you may be able to take the test in Spanish. Many adult education centers will also offer classes to help Spanish-speaking adults become more familiar with English. Contact your local center for more information. 

Learn about English as a second language (ESL) programs.

Vea el vídeo en español.

Start by using the Zip Code Search to find an adult education center near you. Then, call the center where a staff member will be ready to answer all your questions.

Hear how adult education centers can support you. 

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Register for Classes

Your local adult education center will help you sign up for your first classes, create a learning plan, and support you all the way to graduation day.

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The process is different for everyone. Your local adult education center will help you create a course schedule and learning plan tailored to your level, as well as how much time you can spend studying.

While some classes may come with a small cost, all of the adult education centers featured on this website offer free and supportive classes. Through grants and fundraising, centers are often able to offer adult education classes at little or not cost to members of their local community. 

Use the Zip Code Search to find a center near you.

Your local adult education center can help you determine whether there will be a cost for taking the test and if funding is available to cover the cost. There are free and supportive classes to help you prepare for the test, but depending on what state you’re in, the test itself may have a cost. 

Contact your local adult center for more information.


  • My graduation is something I will never forget.


    Age 24 when she finished her diploma and got back lost time.

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  • It takes a village to help someone get their diploma.


    At age 24, received her diploma with her godmother’s support.

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  • It felt very different from high school. I did not feel like I was alone.


    Earned her diploma and made her grandfather proud.

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African American male student raises his hand in a classroom

Go to Class and Study

Remember—millions of adults just like you have gone through a program to earn their diploma, so you’re not alone. Teachers and tutors in your program are ready to help you learn the material and support you along the way.

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This depends on the length of time you have to study as well as your personal schedule. Your local center can help you put together an education plan and timeline for taking the test.

Adult education centers provide a community of support on your journey to finishing your high school diploma.

Hear how adult education centers support you.

Your loved one will need the support of friends, family, and coworkers to finish their high school education and earn their diploma. Giving them encouragement, helping with chores, offering to babysit or pick up children from school, or even helping them study goes a long way. Remember: no one gets their diploma alone!

Share this video of advice to encourage them to take the first step.

View over student's shoulder showing them taking a test

Take Practice Tests

Get a leg up on the real test by taking a few practice tests through your local adult education center. This is the best way to make sure you’re ready to pass the final test.

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The GED® test is a four-subject high school equivalency test that measures skills required by high schools, colleges, and employers. The four subjects are science, social studies, mathematical reasoning, and reasoning through language arts (RLA). 

Once you pass the GED® test, your diploma or credential will be issued by your state, and you’ll receive a GED® transcript that you can use to apply to college, start a training program, or get a better job.

Learn more about the GED® test.

The HiSET® covers five subjects measuring your academic knowledge relative to that of a high school graduate. The exam covers five areas: language arts: reading; language arts: writing; mathematics; social studies; and science. 

Depending on where you live, the exam may be taken at a testing center on a computer or as a paper test. After you pass the HiSET®, you’ll receive your high school equivalency credential from your state.

Learn more about the HiSET®.

Depending on where you live, there are three different high school equivalency tests: the GED® or the HiSET®. Each will provide you with the same credential needed to get your high school equivalency diploma. No matter which test your state uses, your local adult education center will be well prepared to guide you through the process and prepare you to take the right test. 

Learn more about test types.

  • 200+

    More career options for people with high school diplomas than for people without one.

    Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

  • 25% More

    Earnings for full-time workers with just a high school degree than workers without one. Earnings continue to increase with every level of education.

    Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Over 2 Million

    Millions of people just like you have gone through this process and succeeded, and so will you.

Close up of students using pencils on paper during class

Take the Final Test

At this point you will be more than ready to take the high school equivalency test. Your education center will let you know whether to take the GED® test or the HiSET® depending on which state you live in.

Learn more about test types.

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The cost of the high school equivalency test varies from state to state. In some cases, the test may be free. Contact your local adult education center by using our Zip Code Search, or visit your state’s adult education website to check your state’s testing policies.

Find your local adult education center.

Some students may be eligible to take the test online under the supervision of a live proctor. When signing up for the test online, be careful:  if you see a test on the internet claiming to be a certified high school equivalency that’s not through the official GED® website,  it is not a legitimate program. Be sure to double check with the support staff at your local adult education center. 

Learn more about online testing on the official GED® website.

Not at all! You can take one test subject at a time, and you only need to retake any subjects you didn't get at least a score of 145 in. GED® Testing Service helps you pay for two retakes per subject, so retaking is easier than ever. If after three tries you still have not passed the test subject, you must wait 60 days to test again.

Your state may have other policies on studying before you retake the test, so it's important to check your state's policies on the website.

Learn more on the official GED® website.

a mother figure facing the camera while warming hugging her daughter in a graduation cap and dress


You did it! Now that you’ve passed your test and graduated, new windows of opportunity have opened for you and the ones you love.

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Every journey begins with a single step: the path to a high school equivalency diploma is no different. Thousands of centers all over the U.S. are standing by to help them earn their diploma, and many of them are free. Make sure to remind them that they have your support—because:

 No one gets a diploma alone.


Get Started

Ready to get your high school diploma?

The dedicated support staff at thousands of free adult education centers across  the U.S. are waiting to help you finish your diploma.