Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Test Out of Highschool

  1. Dec 19, 2011 #1
    Hello Everyone,

    To put it shortly:
    I am a 15year old Sophomore in HS who would like to leave & test out of highschool (GED), study at community college, and head to a state school (NC State or UNC), or Caltech (if I can find genie). Where I plan to Major in Physics and Philosophy

    I've slacked my first two years and my grades Freshman year were poor (As, Bs, and Cs) at lowest. Sophomore year has been very similar, and the first semester just ended recently.

    Why I want to do this:
    My main goal in life, and the reason I haven't already killed myself, is to answer several very fundamental philosophical questions. Questions that as of early January (when I had what might be called an existential crisis) are slowly (or maybe the already have?) driving me insane.

    It can mostly be summarized to this:
    I want "a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."

    Philosophical issues:
    -Know what is truth? I define truth as "congruence to reality," unfortunately I've still yet to find out what to make of the world I find myself in.

    I've looked into the existentialists (have a great fondness for Camus and Kafka) and there's still much (much much ...) more for me to read and study.

    I've realized that the best way to do this would be through science (empiricism, rationalism, and naive realism; but ultimately the best resource we have) specifically physics. So I've wanted to become a Physicist for several months now. As of last week, when break began I've done nothing but really read and study alg2/trig (from the beginning), as my math is too weak to really understand physics.

    My main reason for wanting to leave highschool and head to community college, isn't grades (my grades are poor but i'm far from failing), but community college would really allow me to begin to study what matters to me (Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics, Philosophy, etc). where as in highschool i find myself taking several courses (alg2.trig, chemistry, english, theology, etc.) of which i'm only interested in two of them (alg2/trig, and chem).

    I believe if I leave highschool, and really spend 2 months or so I'll be able to take and pass the GED tests, and promptly begin studying in community college until I have enough credits, or am old enough to transfer to NC State or UNC for my undergrad.

    Money is not a problem, as I'd actually save money going to comm college; I currently go to private highschool.

    All Advice is appreciated,
    Thank you.

    Quick Summary
    -I'd like to test out of highschool (obtain my ged) and study at community college until I can apply to colleges.
    1. Is this possible or is it just the pipedreams of a teenager?
    2. Do colleges mind ged's?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 19, 2011 #2
    I think you should stop slacking at get all A's. Take every AP class you can your junior and senior year. Then when you get to college, you'll have more time for the courses you enjoy.

    I am unsure if physics will be able to answer your questions, though.
  4. Dec 19, 2011 #3
    take all APs first, and then try to leave HS, colleges dont mind a GED, but some things like the military REQUIRE it for advancement . . . not saying you are going into the military, but it is one for-instance.
  5. Dec 19, 2011 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    You think you're going to be able to test out of high school, something that goes over 4 years of work, by studying for 2 months?

    Stick to high school.
  6. Dec 19, 2011 #5
    @intwo & highway
    That's what I planned and am going to do If I can't test out, but I think this would basically be the same but better for me, as once I test out I'd just take several class at the comm college and probably get at least my first year classes out of the way.

    That's what I'd have to take; If i took it now I'm sure I could easily pass the math and english sections.
  7. Dec 19, 2011 #6
    I'm going to have to disagree with this. It would have been trivial for me to pass the GED as a sophomore with the equivalent of an A.

    If you're slacking not because you don't know the material, but because it's below your abilities, skip high school and take the GED. An ex-girlfriend of mine, still a good friend, did this, went to college early, and is currently working on her master's.

    Starting at community college is a good idea. I went to community college before transferring, and I feel that the money saved was well worth the loss of the "college experience" of living in a dorm and all that.

    In my opinion, nothing is gained in high school that can't be gained in college. If you feel you're ready for it, go for it.

    Conversely, if you want to skip high school out of laziness, or because you're struggling and you just want out... don't do it. Stick it through. Judging by your post, though, I don't think this is the case.

    Oh, and if you're serious about it, practice questions can be found here:

  8. Dec 19, 2011 #7
    all first year classes are offered in the form of AP classes, assuming you get a 5 on the AP exam -- that is what colleges accept as credit. so, the idea would be getting the APs done in 9-10th grade, and then having nothing left at the high-school level to take, so you would be taking more advanced math/chem/physics at a local college when you normally would be in your junior/senior years . . .
  9. Dec 19, 2011 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    If this is true, I will sadface for days. Though, in all fairness, when I really think about it, our exit exam was junior high level garbage.

    I think I'm going to go cry now.
  10. Dec 19, 2011 #9
    Jack gives sound advice. If you find that you can't adapt to the lifestyle at community college, you can always shift back to another high school. Good luck though. And good on you for reading Camus. I absolutely love Caligula. On that note, see if you can learn some French, it would definitely give you a more "complete" experience of his work, seeing as translations are often lacking in "something", whatever that "thing" may be.

    Heh, tell me about it. :)

    Eventually, I did drop out and did my A-Levels on my own (mostly) but it was very half-assed and by that time, I was quite disgusted and just wanted to get it over with. Sticking with high school for that other year or two was the worse thing I could have done. Should never have went back after year 11/13. Soul (if there is such a thing...) sucking experience throughout.
  11. Dec 19, 2011 #10


    User Avatar

    There are a lot of problems here. First of all, you can't take the GED at 15. Depending on which state you live in, you must be at least 16, and sometimes as old as 19 before you can take it. You must officially drop out of high school and then wait 3+ months before you can take it. If you're getting C's in high school, chances are good you will not pass the GED. It is designed so that 40% of graduating seniors fail it, and it is NOT meant to let people test out of high school.

    Next, your expectations are unreasonable as to what you think you will learn in college, and what you plan to do with that knowledge. No college is going to grant you a degree without taking gen ed classes (well, a few will, but you didn't show interest in them) so you're not going to be able to avoid things that don't interest you.

    Yes, it all sounds like pipe dreams of an idealist about to find out the world doesn't work like he wishes it did. We get that a lot here. Not sure what it is about physics that somehow inspires it.
  12. Dec 19, 2011 #11
    There are a lot of reasons why people drop out of high school. I mentally dropped out in 10th grade (though I still physically attended until I graduated) because I was sick about learning middle-school grammar every year, over and over again. I was tired of memorizing a few dates for history class without ever being taught anything deeper. The only thing I enjoyed was the math, but that was only because I was in a magnet program with advanced classes that the "standard" kids didn't have access to.

    I was getting straight Ds in high school after 10th grade, and I am claiming I could have aced the GED at that time. I now have a 3.8 GPA in my senior year of my physics undergrad.

    The GED has many purposes, one of which IS to let people test out of high school. I wish I had done it myself. Again, an ex of mine did just that, started college early, and went on to be very successful.

    I don't know the OP's situation or ability level, but I trust him to be able to self-assess better than I or anybody here can judge him.

    I've read his post three times now, and nowhere in it does he say he wants to get a degree without taking gen ed classes. It's best if you don't put words into the mouths of others. I think he'll better learn how the world works in college than in high school. If he's able to pass the GED, he has saved himself two years of nonsense and given himself a shortcut to the real world.

    I think some people here are of the mindset "Well, I had to suffer through high school, so should everybody else!" Or, conversely, maybe you people loved high school, and can't understand why anybody would want out.

    High school nearly drove me to suicide, and that isn't hyperbole, so maybe I'm just biased. But if somebody has the attitude and aptitude to get the equivalent of a diploma early, I think they should jump at the opportunity. There's no reason to make people suffer for the sake of suffering.
  13. Dec 20, 2011 #12


    User Avatar

    He said he doesn't want to take things that don't interest him. That means he probably doesn't want to take gen ed classes, but that's a big part of college - taking them, and doing well in them.

    Most people hated high school. Most people thought about killing themselves during high school. It sucks. It's part of growing up (the wanting to kill yourself when things are going wrong part, and getting away from high school doesn't get away from that). That doesn't mean that people should be dropping out of it. Can some people get a GED without it? Sure. But for most people, especially those doing poorly in high school, it's a very bad idea.
  14. Dec 20, 2011 #13
    i personally would have liked to do what TC is talking about doing, should he pull it off successfully. another thing you will want to wait for imo is having a drivers license and car, unless you have ways around it with public transport, etc. having a license and car would make getting to school for class a lot easier . . .

    the idea of him talking about taking what he wants (i think) isn't so much as not taking gen eds, but taking classes that are nothing but filler and do nothing for him in the long run. if he was taking AP gen eds or other classes that would count towards a philo degree, i think he would be ok with that.

    also, the difference with taking college classes and APs is, even if he gets a B/C in college history, that is what his grade for the class, he doesn't have 1 grade for the class, and 1 score for his AP exam that schools may or may not take -- if he passes the college class, it transfers.
  15. Dec 20, 2011 #14
    I would first recommend seeking professional, psychological help. I'm not saying this to be rude, but rather because you are experiencing suicidal thoughts over something that is not going to go away. You will almost certainly (to within an infinitesimal degree of error) fail at your desire to discover the beginnings of everything. If these existential questions are 'driving you insane', then you need to step back and get a grip. One can (and should) ponder the most mind-numbing questions, such as the paradox of existence itself, but to say it is 'driving you insane'? Wake up and smell the flowers. Stare into the abyss, but do not meet its gaze.

    If your intent is to test out of high school with the GED, then you would likely not do too well on the essay and writing sections, assuming your writing here is anything to go by. Trust me, I know - I took the GED, and I was taken out of school during sixth grade. It was a hard test. I did extremely well on everything but mathematics, but that's because I read and wrote every day since I was eight years old with increasingly perfect grammar and spelling (I didn't really practice my mathematics though).

    Once I got my GED, I spent a couple years in community college. It was a good learning experience, and was a great transition from self-study to university. I then went to one of the best engineering schools in the country, with a very nice scholarship. My sanity remains intact.

    One thing I might suggest to you is to take up the hobby of debate. Philosophy and politics (if you're interested in the latter) are best honed through interaction with other people. I thrive on it. It is helpful to get that stuff off your chest. There are plenty of venues for such conversations, but I think the internet is the best. Find a debate site. In fact, I can recommend one if you'd like. It's a great site with diverse membership (of which I am a part) who would be happy to converse with you on the merits of existentialism. I personally think it's nonsense and philosophical drivel, so I'd take the position against you.
  16. Dec 20, 2011 #15
    I do understand that there are some classes that are required and just have to be taken, I've got no problem with that; it's actually why I planned on going straight to community college so I could get a good amount of them out the way.

    I don't really hate my high school or the people there, no problems with bullies, etc. I just really don't understand or see why I'm there other than that's the norm

    @Angry Citizen
    I just experience occasional waves of angst, and that coupled with hormones is probably it. Suicidal thoughts, yes; but not because I hate life or am pissed at the world but really out of curiosity. When they come I weigh the pro's & cons, and so far the pros greatly outweigh the cons so suicide definitely won't happen :)

    I don't expect to fully solve these problems at all, but I feel obligated to try. Please do I'd like to know the name of the forum?
    "I personally think it's nonsense and philosophical drivel, so I'd take the position against you."
    I find existentialism, specifically sartre's philosophy, to be as fundamental as the air we breathe. So that discussion would be interesting.

    Everyone else:
    Thank you for the responses and advice, I have a general idea of what to do now. I found out there's a program in my area that allows students to attend comm college junior & senior year, with the basic hs classes.
  17. Dec 20, 2011 #16
    I sent you a PM to avoid the impression that I'm shamelessly plugging (it's not even my forum anyway, it's just one I participate on).
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook