According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, around three-fourths of freshman in the high school class of 2008 to 2009 graduated. This also means roughly one-fourth of prospective graduates failed to earn their high school diplomas at that time. A lack of a diploma has major effects on your future.


Your employment potential naturally rises as your education rises. Without a high school diploma, you are behind every potential job prospect who has a high school diploma or higher in the job market. In essence, lacking a diploma limits your range and quality of job options and puts you at a disadvantage competing with similarly experienced candidates with more education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated a 12.4 percent unemployment rate among people without a diploma in 2012. With a high school diploma, the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent.


Not surprisingly, your pay potentially is much lower without a high school diploma. This impacts both current or near-term earning potential, as well as total earning opportunities over a lifetime. The bureau indicated that non-high-school graduates earned a median income of $471 per week in 2012. With a high school diploma, median pay jumped to $652 per week. This represents a $181 per week income differential, which amounts to roughly $750 to $800 a month.

Relationships and Family Life

Completing a high school diploma can actually have major implications in your personal relationships. First, high school dropouts often blame a lack of support from parents as contributing to them not finishing school. Whether it is the blame from students or disappointment from parents, the student-parent relationship can be adversely affected if you don’t get a diploma. Additionally, students who drop out because of pregnancy or family obligations may find difficulty in their inability to adequately provide for a significant other or child. Also, education contributes to critical thinking and conversational skills, which are important to develop various personal and working relationships.


Character education has become a major component in high school education in the early 21st century. “Character Counts,” for instance, is used to educate students on how they fit into the broader, interdependent societal picture. About 60 percent of prison inmates are high school dropouts, according to “CBS News.” This supports a strong correlation between earning a diploma, finding a quality job, staying busy and productive and avoiding idol time and criminal activities.

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