As a high school student, some teenagers feel they do not want to continue with school and would like to drop out. Some students wish to start working and earn their GED, or family or personal circumstances make it difficult to graduate from high school. Leaving school at 15 years old is not advised, as a high school diploma is a standard requirement in America today to be hired by most employers. Oftentimes, a 15 year old is too young to sit for the GED or General Equivalency Diploma.
You May Need Parental Permission
The minimum age for dropping out of high school in the United States is 16 years old and many states are raising the minimum age to 18 years old. You will need a note from your parents or guardian stating they have given you permission to drop out of school if you are under 18, and the extenuating circumstances for quitting high school.
Can You Get a GED at 15?
You will not be allowed to take the GED exam for your high school equivalency diploma until the time you would normally have graduated from high school, which would be considered your senior year. Most GED classes will not take you unless you are 18 years old, or your regular high school class has already graduated. You may be allowed a waiver to sit for the GED exam early, if you can show special circumstances.
GED classes cost money, whereas an education at a public high school is free. It is not advised to drop out as it puts you behind in your studies and gives you a disadvantage when trying to obtain employment as an adult. Most employers will pass right by a high school dropout's employment application.
Dropping Out Limits Job Prospects
If you drop out of high school and do not have a high school diploma or GED, you will have a very small chance of finding meaningful employment that will support you. You may be able to get a low-paying job, but in today's economy you will have trouble supporting yourself.
Prospects are not good for high school dropouts, and not finishing high school means you most likely will not be going on to college. In today's world, most employers are looking for college graduates with a minimum of an associate's degree or bachelor's degree and in coming years, a master's degree may be a requirement for specialized fields as well.
Catch Up in Summer School Instead
If you feel at 15 years old you are behind in school or do not enjoy it, take advantage of summer school at your local high school. Summer school will let you make up credits so you can graduate with your class. You may also check into Advanced Placement classes if you need more of a challenge, and you may even check with your high school guidance counselor about graduating early if you have enough credits. All of the above options are preferable to leaving school at 15 years old without a high school education.
Consider Online Education Instead
If you want to drop out of high school due to bullying, difficulty getting to school, or an unsafe school environment, you may have other options. Today, several organizations provide public schooling entirely online. If you enroll in one of these schools, you take your courses online either at home, in a library or somewhere else with an internet connection.
Online schools allow students to focus solely on their education. Without physical classrooms, you can worry less about bullying, for example. Instead, you can get your studying done so that you can get a decent job when you graduate.
You can check with your state's education website to learn more about these options in your area.