Once upon a time, being expelled from high school meant that your only option for education was correspondence school or the General Educational Development (GED). However, times have changed. Alternative education programs have created a variety of options for students who have been unsuccessful in traditional schools. Many of these schools make it their mission to serve the at-risk population, including returning dropouts and expelled students. Follow these steps to be on your way to earning a high school diploma.

Decide on the type of school you would like to attend. Do you prefer the traditional classroom setting, a self-paced computer lab environment or staying at home and finishing high school online?

Research alternative schools in your area. Some may be run by your local public school district; others may be charter schools controlled by private organizations.

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Arrange an appointment with the school leader. Most alternative programs will not accept you without meeting you first. Bring your parent or guardian if you are under age 18 and not emancipated.

Bring a copy of your official high school transcripts and expulsion letter. Official transcripts may take a couple days to process, so request them from your former high school ahead of time. Your new school may also wish to request your official information directly from your former school registrar.

Accept and follow any stipulations on your attendance. For example, if you got expelled for violence, you may only be allowed to attend the night session when there are fewer students in attendance. If you got expelled for drug possession, you may be required to submit to a search at any time.

Work hard to complete your classes and earn your diploma. Prove to yourself, your family and your community, that you can own up to your mistakes and take responsibility for your future.


  • Self-paced classes only work for self-motivated students. If you are not mature enough to set goals and work toward them, you should look for a school with a more traditional classroom setting.


  • Some schools, including charter schools, may reject your application based on the nature of your expulsion, limiting you to online or distance learning.

Things Needed

  • High school transcripts

About the Author

Erin Flanigan has been writing professionally since 2011. She is currently a high school English and social studies teacher. She also has years of experience in bicycle sales and repair. Erin earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Arizona.