An honors diploma signifies a student's superior academic performance. Because of the prestigious nature of an honors diploma, students who wish to earn one must meet more rigorous standards than those required to attain a standard diploma. Specific honors diploma requirements vary slightly from state to state, as they are determined by the state board of education; however, there are an array of standard requirements that are universal from location to location. If you wish to achieve an honors diploma, consider the steps you must take to meet this goal and begin your planning process early to ensure that you are successful in your endeavor.
Speak to your adviser about the requirements specific to your school. The general requirements for an honors diploma are relatively similar from state to state; however, some schools or districts elect to set standards that are even more rigorous than the ones set forth by their state department of education. To ensure that you are fully aware of all of the requirements, learn your school's specific requirements early in your school career. Either check your student handbook for specifics, or speak to your adviser one on one.
Take an English, science, math and social studies course every year. While you don't need four credits of math, science or social studies just to graduate, you do need four to qualify for an honors diploma as taking these four core courses yearly indicates your dedication to academics.
Take three years of a foreign language. Taking three years of a foreign language is also commonly necessary to gain admission into a college or university, so completing this academic challenge serves two purposes.
Earn the required grade point average. The specific grade point average required to earn an honors diploma varies from school to school, but in most cases students must earn roughly a 3.5. Check your handbook for specifics regarding grade point average requirements.
Achieve the required ACT or SAT score. Your school counselor can advise you as to the ACT or SAT score that you must obtain to earn an honors diploma. Just as with GPA, the cut off score needed for these standardized tests varies, but as a general rule students must earn around a 27 on the ACT or a 1300 in their SAT.
Earning an honors diploma often gives you more than bragging rights alone. An honors diploma will make you more eligible for academic scholarships and make you a more attractive candidate to college admission boards, which can give you a useful advantage when applying to schools with competitive programs.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.