Can You Go Back to High School After Dropping Out?

by | Aug 24, 2023

Can You Attend High School Again?

So you may have dropped out of high school and are now asking yourself: can you go back to high school after dropping out? The answer is yes! There is a catch for those of you looking to go back to school in person though. States vary on the age but in general if you’re older than 19, you will not be able to go in person to a high school. If you’re 19 or younger and you’ve dropped out less than a year ago, you can! This is great for those of you looking to attend school in person and wanting to cross the stage as a graduate to receive your diploma.

It can feel a little awkward in this situation when going back to school as you’ll end up being the oldest in your class. This age gap can feel isolating, but this is still a good option to consider if you want to walk across that stage!


  • Obtaining an official high school diploma
  • Walking the stage
  • Affordable


  • Age gap with peers

Alternatives to Consider

While getting to attend high school in person again is a great option, not everyone is going to be eligible to do so. Here are some other alternatives you may want to consider:

  • GED Program
  • Alternative High School
  • Adult Education Classes

GED Program

Let’s start off by discussing the GED program. Out of all of the options this is the one you are most likely to be familiar with. While the GED is not the same as a high school diploma, it still is a very valuable document. The GED is also the most flexible option out of all of the alternatives we will discuss. The program is entirely self-taught, meaning you study and take the test on your own time. This is great for those of you who are busy with work or family related matters.

The GED program is divided into 4 main sections:

  • Reasoning Through Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Each of these sections will evaluate your knowledge on a high school level. The exam is also separated into these sections with each section being $40. That means to take the test, it comes out to $140. This can be expensive so it’s recommended to not rush when taking the test. Take the time to study and understand the material. There are a number of resources like prep classes and practices tests that are useful. While these are not required it is recommended if you are having difficulty learning the material. So while you can go back to high school after dropping out, this is a great option to consider if you dropped out as a freshman or sophomore.


  • Affordable
  • Taken on your own time
  • Best option for students who dropped out early


  • Not as competitive as a diploma

Alternative High School

If you dropped out of high school as a junior or senior, this might be the option for you. Alternative high school programs are offered by most local community college campuses. These programs are highly customized and allow you to take classes online, in-person, at night, and more. This is perfect for those that need to take a couple of classes to graduate.

There are downsides which include it being expensive. While not as cheap as the GED the alternative high school option is one of the only on this list that can give you an official diploma. This is important as a diploma will always hold more weight on a resume than a GED.


  • Highly customizable curriculum
  • Can be taken at night, in-person, or even online
  • Available at most local community colleges
  • Official diploma


  • Expensive
  • Heavy workload

Adult Education Classes

These classes are offered by most local community colleges. They are great for getting ahead with your education and picking up certificates. This option is for those of you who may already have your GED and are looking to continue your education. These programs offer certificates, prep classes, ESL classes, and more.

While you will not be earning high school credit taking these classes, they are still great if you are looking into jump starting a career or exploring career interests. Taking a GED prep class through adult education classes is a great idea if you need more structure behind your GED studying too.


  • Jump start a career
  • Learn valuable skills
  • Available at most local community colleges


  • Will not earn high school credits
  • Will not earn a GED
  • Expensive

So can you go back to high school after dropping out? The answer is most certainly yes. The question you will want to consider though is, should you? We briefly went over all of the options available and it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each. Not every person is going to want their GED, while not everyone will want a certificate. I recommend checking out each of the programs discussed and start considering all of the options available. While you are at it, make sure to check out some of our tutoring services that we have if you are looking for some extra help!

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