HS Diploma and Graduation

Email of the Day:
I wanted to understand more about the home school diploma and the WA state requirements concerning that.
1) Is it mandatory for a high-school senior to participate in a public graduation ceremony where a diploma is issued out to the child? Is an official graduation ceremony a graduation requirement?
2) Can I as the homeschooling teacher print my own Diploma? Does WA state have specific stipulations that I need to adhere to? I do have proper transcripts and all records have been maintained.
3) What are colleges looking for in a Diploma….is a home made home school Diploma accepted by UW Seattle or any other local WA universities?

I appreciate your insights on these. Looking forward to hearing from you.

1) No, you don’t have to participate in a public ceremony in order to graduate your homeschooler.
If you’d like to, WHO has (two) lovely graduation ceremonies: http://washhomeschool.org/graduations/
But only about 60-70 of the approximately 2,500 WA homeschool graduates each year attend these ceremonies.

2) You may certainly print your own diploma. There are no specific requirements regarding the content, but a quick google search of “homeschool diploma” and “highschool diploma” will give you many many examples from which you might base yours. You can also hire out the printing job (the google “homeschool diploma” search will give you printing companies who do this). We offer a printing service as part of the graduation ceremony listed in #1, but the diploma is still from you, the parent.

3) Most colleges do not actually look at the diploma — they’re more interested in the transcript, and you merely check the box that says, “yes” for the question, “Do you have a diploma?” For both, though, we recommend that you have them notarized, and for the transcript, we recommend that you title it “Official Highschool Transcript.”

Let me know as you have further questions.
–Jen Garrison Stuber, WHO Board Advocacy Chair

Followup question, Jen…what’s up with the GED? That’s NOT required to be considered graduated and go on to college etc, right? That would be an extra thing if you wanted to do it?


The GED is designed for folks who did not complete highschool and need General Educational Development to gain a credential similar to a highschool diploma.
Homeschoolers who finish highschool in their homeschooling are highschool graduates. They do not need to sit for the General Educational Development tests. We mostly recommend against sitting for the GED, because it’s completely unnecessary for homeschoolers to do.
But here’s the thing — beyond not needing it, having the GED can cost a student tens of thousands of dollars in lost future earnings. Case in point: I had a couple of homeschool moms approach me at Convention a few years back. As young women, they had joined the military together right after highschool. They both had homeschool highschool diplomas. One additionally had a GED. Because the later gal thought the GED was more “real” than the diploma from her parents, she declared it, instead of her highschool diploma. The gal with (only) a homeschool highschool diploma got a $40,000 sign-on bonus. Her friend, with the declared GED got $20,000.
The GED cost her twenty thousand dollars.
~Jen GS