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Education & Training

What’s the Best Path for Me to Graduate High School?

If you haven’t finished high school yet, that’s OK! You can find paths to graduation that offer flexible schedules, and that support you if you have special needs.

Alberta offers many options for finishing high school, so that everyone has a chance to succeed.

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Alberta High School Diploma

The standard way to graduate high school is to get an Alberta High School Diploma. You can do this in either English or French.

This is the classic high school scenario where you work over a few years as a teenager to earn a certain number of credits, some of which you must take and others that you choose. The credits you choose may depend on what you want to do with your education or career after high school.

The Alberta High School Diploma is recognized all across Canada. So, if you plan to live or work outside Alberta, this is likely the best option for you.

If you’re working to get your Alberta High School Diploma, look at these checklists designed to keep your future on track. They’ll remind you of the tasks you need to complete and what you need to think about from Grades 10 through 12.

Try to choose elective courses that will bring you closer to your goals.

Certificate of School Completion

The Certificate of School Completion is designed for students who have a significant cognitive disability and are not able to earn another type of high school diploma or certificate in Alberta.

To earn this certificate, you must be nominated by your school principal or assistant principal. You also need to meet these criteria:

  • You benefit from extra learning support because of a cognitive impairment. This means you can earn your high school diploma differently than some other people.
  • You have worked toward the goals and objectives in your individualized program plan or instructional support plan. This means you have a special learning plan made just for you.
  • When you finish school and get your certificate, you should have been in school for at least 12 years. You also need to be 17 years old or older by March 1 of the year you graduate.
  • The year you graduate is the last year that you will be in high school. This means you’ll be done, and high school will be behind you.
  • When you graduate, there will be a special code on your school records that shows you got extra help in your education. Your code in Alberta’s education system will likely be one of these: 41, 43, 44, or 52.

If you want to earn this type of high school certificate, you and your family should talk to your school guidance counsellor. They will help you make a plan to graduate.

High school diploma for mature students

If you have been out of school for a while, you may be a mature student.

This path to graduation could be right for you if you are 20 years old (or older) and never finished high school. If you want to go take post-secondary education or pursue a job or career that requires certain skills and courses, finishing high school might be your best option.

Going to school as a mature student may be the best choice even if you already have a high school diploma from Alberta or another province or country. Sometimes, mature students need specific high school credits to meet the admission requirements for post-secondary school or to qualify for a particular job or career.

The criteria for earning a high school diploma can be unusual for mature students—in a good way! This is because you may already have life experience that counts in your favour.

For example, mature students may be able to enrol in courses at the senior high school level or write diploma exams without having completed the prerequisite courses that most students must take.

But for some courses, you do need the prerequisites. For example, if you want to join the Green Certificate Program, you must take a course in Agriculture Safety.

Even if you did not finish high school, you may be able to enrol in a post-secondary or training program as long as you are at least 18 years old.

If you need more guidance, contact your local school board for information about enrolling as a mature student.

If you think you’re too old to finish high school, think again! There are many paths to graduation in Alberta, and the education system is here to help you reach your goals. Take advantage of the opportunities and work toward success.

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