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Why a High School Diploma Is Important to Your Future

by Maggie McCormick, Demand Media

    As you slog through another day of high school, you may be thinking of any number of reasons why it might be good to drop out. Whether a job seems more important at the time, or your just not good at school, most people are better off earning a high school diploma. You'll always find exceptions to the rule, but you don't want to take chances with your life.

    Earnings and Wealth

    There's no doubt that someone with a college degree will usually out-earn someone who dropped out of college, but the differences go beyond mere income. According to the Alliance for Excellence in Education, those without a high school diploma accumulate less wealth than those who graduate. On average, a high school graduate accumulates $5000 in wealth for every $500 a drop-out accumulates. You can use this wealth to purchase a home or car, or just have as a safety net so that you don't go into debt if something goes wrong.

    Job Prospects

    When considering dropping out of high school, consider how this will look to potential employers. They may see this as an inability to follow through on a goal. The good news, though, is that according to Brett Yardley, a marketing and communications specialist for MAU Workforce Solutions, many employers consider a GED to be the equivalent of a high school diploma. If you must drop out, you could get your GED and still have some prospects.

    Further Education

    Though college might not be in your future, there may be a time when you want to take on more education to further your career. Working in auto mechanics or the health care industry, for example, may earn you steadier work with more benefits than working in food service or the retail industry. You can take classes to get a career in a field like this, but you typically need to have a diploma or GED. Without either of those, you'll have to take the time to earn the GED first.

    The Cycle of Poverty

    According to the American Psychological Association, education is the primary method for overcoming financial difficulties. Unfortunately, people tend to get trapped in a "cycle of poverty." If you drop out of school and are less successful as a result, the same may be true of your children and their children. Breaking out of poverty is difficult to do, but it typically starts with the type of education you need to get a higher paying job.

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    About the Author

    Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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    • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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