The American High School Diploma

How do the Diploma compare to it’s British and SA equivalents? This is actually a difficult question to answer – and even in my literature research, few was written on this subject. My thinking behind this is due to the flexibility of the Diploma – it is so difficult to fit in a box.

So, in short, the answer is yes, the Diploma is second-to-none, as it is definitely not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ school leaving solution.

– Annerine wenhold

The American High School Diploma, indicated in green, is an established and approved qualification, as it represents the satisfactory completion of education from kindergarten through 12th grade.

And specifically contains a transcript of the completed coursework for grades 9 through 12 in Math, English, Social Studies, Science, and a range of elective subjects such as Fine Arts.

A question that has been asked frequently is whether the Diploma is the same as the GED (General Education Development Certificate)? This is a common misconception.

The answer is however straight forward: no, it is not.

Various differences exist, with the most substantial being that the Diploma is issued after completing a particular jurisdiction’s high school educational requirements, whereas the GED is 4 national tests taken after the age of 17, which indicates that you’ve achieved US high school educational standards by assessing your reasoning in language and maths, and your science and social studies knowledge. And which culminates in the receipt of a GED Certificate.

Note, that although a high school equivalency diploma such as the GED is on paper equivalent to a high school diploma, our SA and even the USA universities and employers prefer a traditional high school diploma over the GED, and might look down on or not accept it.

According to Universities South Africa (USAf there are 3 pathways through which the diploma could be obtained for admission to a SA university:

a. Obtain you Diploma through an accredited institution (accredited by an USAf approved accreditation body e.g. AdvancED), together with a letter which certified that you are eligible for admission to any US university; or a

b. Diploma with at least 2 subjects passed on Advanced Placement (AP)-level with a grade of 3-5 (where 5 is the highest); or

c. If you are unable to provide the eligibility letter as in option 1, you must provide your Diploma together with SAT results (certain standard thereof required).

The universities, and the particular faculty might add requirements to these, so best to follow-up with your particular university of choice to verify requirements if it is not clear from their policy.

Homeschooling towards the American High School Diploma

For your Diploma to be accredited, you need to enroll in an online school/ virtual school/ umbrella school that is accredited. See below info on accredited service providers.

An abundance of accredited service providers is available. With service delivery being important in a competitive US market, an adviser is typically allocated to your student and his/her family, who will guide you through the course selection process to reach your educational goals. You will furthermore be (pleasantly) surprised at the number and nature of courses offered.

Virtual Schools will typically provide the curriculum, albeit with your choice on core and elective subjects. Consider or similar sites, and SAVS with South African based teachers.

Umbrella Schools on the other hand offer more flexibility, where you may use their curriculum, or do an eclectic approach where you choose your courses and have a degree of freedom in meeting the regional Diploma requirements. Consider Bridgeway Academy  or Homelife Academy

Online schools: some providers are very flexible, and you can enroll anytime, do your work from anywhere and at anytime through the academic year. Some may be more restricted with enrollment time, require class attendance, or has a fixed assignment/test schedule. Obtain also clarity on their transfer policy for completed courses, and the number of courses a student is allowed to take annually. In determining the value of an online high school program, you will want to consider the following: rate of successful program completion, ease of communication with the school and with teachers, flexibility and delivery of classes, counseling and tutoring services, individualized programming, availability of specialization (engineering, religion, arts, etc.), dual credit offerings, and extracurricular activities or clubs.

See this list of The 50 Best Online High School Diploma Programs:

Gifted & Talented Education

There are a few service providers that offers programs for gifted children.

IVLA’a GATE Program: Gifted and Talented Eduation: the GATE program from International Virtual Learning Academy

IVLA’s Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program provides learning enrichment, fosters critical thinking, encourages creative problem-solving skills, and facilitates cooperative learning opportunities with other gifted students.

Through coordination among our program administrators, teachers, and success coaches, IVLA provides the following services to gifted students:

  • Learning at a higher cognitive level for intellectually gifted students
  • Enrichment, acceleration and advancement
  • Exposure to experiences, materials, and information beyond what is offered through the regular curriculum at a student’s particular grade level.
  • Interaction with other gifted and talented students through a supervised student engagement platform.

Laurel Springs: Gifted & Talented Academy At Laurel Springs, we understand the unique needs and abilities of gifted children. As a distance learning program, we are able to create an individualized learning plan that is built upon each student’s strengths and needs. Additionally, Academy students are placed in the most appropriate courses for their learning level, regardless of their chronological age.

As a distance learning program, we are able to create an individualized learning plan that is built upon each student’s strengths and needs. This process allows the teachers to collaborate with each student to develop a path focusing on his or her areas of interest and future goals.

Sourced from:

  1. Facebook Group: Homeschooling in SA towards an American High School Diploma posts by Annerine Wenhold on October 2019: Slides of the AEHI 2019 presentation.
  2. International Virtual Learning Academy
  3. Laurel Springs: Gifted and Talented Academy