Earning Your California High School Diploma!

The state of California offers several programs for adults who'd like to earn their high school diploma, including adult schools, programs at your local community college and adult education programs. Depending on your program of study, you may be required to pass an exit exam before receiving your diploma.

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Ways to Earn Your California High School Diploma

As an adult in California you may take advantage of various programs designed to assist you in earning your high school diploma so that you may find a better job or go to college. Programs available may allow you to study independently or in a group or classroom setting. The California Department of Education lists ways you may earn your high school diploma (www.cde.ca.gov). These options include:

  • Reenrolling in a traditional high school
  • Attending an alternative high school program
  • Completing an independent study program
  • Attending an adult education program
  • Enrolling in a community college high school diploma program

California High School Exit Exam

You'll need to pass the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) before you can receive your diploma. However, you'll only need to take the exam if you're enrolled in an adult school operated by a public school district. The CAHSEE is a high school level test measuring your academic ability in mathematics and English. The state provides access to preparation materials such as study guides and test questions. If you don't pass the CAHSEE, you may retest on the sections you failed on two times in a calendar year.

California Adult Education

The state also provides an adult education program that includes basic and secondary academic classes to assist you in developing mathematics and literacy skills, as well as mastery of high school subjects. Adult education programs are found in groups and organizations statewide, including in:

  • School districts
  • Community colleges
  • Churches
  • Community organizations
  • Correctional facilities
  • Public libraries

Community Colleges

Many community colleges in California offer individual high school courses, CAHSEE preparation programs and high school diploma programs. These are all designed to assist adults in earning their diploma. If a community college program is offered in conjunction with a local public school district, you'll need to pass the CAHSEE before you can receive your diploma.

California Adult Schools

The California Adult School Organization also provides a program for adults wishing to earn their high school diploma (www.californiaadultschools.org). You can find the nearest location by checking their website. In these schools, you'll work toward satisfying the same graduation requirements as students in a traditional high school, but will have the option of completing the program independently, participating in one-on-one conferences or within a small group setting.

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    • Stanford
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
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    • Cambridge
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
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    • Philadelphia
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
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      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
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    • Providence
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
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    • Durham
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
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      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
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    • Notre Dame
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
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      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
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    • Washington
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
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      • Non-Degree: Coursework
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    • Nashville
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
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      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
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