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What is an Adult High School?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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An adult high school is an educational program which allows adults who have not completed high school to finish their educations and obtain a high school diploma. These programs are designed to get students to a college level of readiness, and to provide people with more employment opportunities by allowing them to obtain high school diplomas. Many regions of the world have adult high schools available to adults in the community who lack diplomas, and programs are often low cost or free to make them accessible to all.

In some communities, an adult high school is a dedicated facility which is run solely as an adult high school. The program may include day and night classes along with special services aimed at students in the school. Other adult high schools are held in regular high schools during the evening, or on college campuses. Some community colleges have an adult high school program as part of their overall program offerings, allowing students to attend classes which will lead to a high school diploma.

Classes at an adult high school include standard classes which people may need to take to qualify for a diploma, along with classes which are specifically tailored to the student body. English as a second language (ESL) classes are a common option for schools in areas with lots of immigrants in the United States and other English speaking nations for example, and adult high schools may also offer career counseling, child care, and health services to their students so that they can access services which will help them succeed.

Upon completion of an adult high school program, a student will be given a diploma. He or she may opt to attend college or technical school for additional training, or to enter the workforce immediately. Completing high school can allow people to access more jobs, and generally results in earning more money. Adult high school can also prepare immigrants for life in a new country, providing them with an adjustment period which allows them to learn the native language, learn about local customs and traditions, and establish a network of supportive friends.

When a student joins an adult high school, he or she usually meets with a counselor. The counselor goes over the student's records to determine which courses will be needed to graduate, and talks with the student about life goals and options. A student who wants to attend college may be encouraged, for example, to take additional courses which will bulk up a transcript and make a student more prepared for college.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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