The answer to this question is not at all simple, and it really depends on your situation and what you want to do after the GED.
If you are an adult who never finished high school but now you want to go back to school, a GED is an excellent way to do it. A university or state college might not accept you right way into their program, but you can go to a local community college and get enough credits that are then transferrable to the college you want to attend. Also, for an adult looking to further their education, you may find that you have have life experience that a college is willing to accept as college credit. There are many such programs.
If you are a high school student who is behind and fear you can never catch up, the GED is also *possibly* a good option. There are a few things you need to consider though:
- State colleges and universities are not likely to accept you with a simple GED. You'll need to attend a community college for at least your first 15 credits, and afterwards you may be able to transfer to the college of your choice. This also will affect your ability to get scholarships you might have qualified for after a high school diploma.
- A career in the military is not conducive to the GED. Folks with GEDs are put in a separate pool and accepted in the military only as there are openings, and there may be a stigma attached to it. Again, you'll likely need to go to a community college and get at least a semester's worth of credits (15 or so) under your belt before they will look at you.
- A technical school will likely be the most accepting of your GED. However, it's always better to check in advance with the school you are interested in. See what their requirements are and how they view a GED.
- College is no longer the be-all, end-all of education that it used to be. There are many good-paying jobs that do not require a college degree--things that are taught by apprenticeships like electrician or welding. If you're interested in one of those, the GED might be just the ticket for you...BUT DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST.
Rule of thumb basically goes like this:
A. If you are a high schooler looking for a quick out, you need to weigh your options carefully. If you're only a semester behind, it will actually save you time and money in the long run to take an extra semester of high school. If you are two years behind or more, it's time to look at alternatives.
B. If you are an adult who quit too early and wish you hadn't, GO FOR IT! The GED is an excellent way to get back in the game.