Students still working on their GED tests have only a few weeks left to finish up. In January, the GED company will roll out a new test, forcing anyone still working to start all over.
The GED has been the standard for students who weren't able to finish high school with their diploma. It has been around since World War Two, and like everything, needs updates from time to time. This new update will make the old test irrelevant, adding another deadline for students trying to finish their high school educations. Sometimes, life gets in the way of school.
"I had a family, I needed to work, so it was easier to drop out and get a job than go to school," says Monic Miller, who is taking her practice tests.
Ashley Cox is finishing her practice tests. She says, "I moved back and forth from here to Des Moines and then my final move back, I didn't have enough money to get school supplies and things I needed."
"I was being bullied consistently, and I ended up pregnant,"says Lakisya Austin, who just finished her GED last Thursday.
A lack of school sometimes gets in the way of life.
"I should have never dropped out, a lot of stuff I've never learned in school, and I'm doing now, I'm doing decimals and fractions with my fourth grade son,"says Miller.
"There's no jobs out there that's going to accept someone with no GED or diploma," says Austin.
These students believe finishing their high school educations will open the door to better jobs, better pay, and a better quality of life.
"Primarily, so I can get a better job to support my daughter,"says Cox.
"I plan on going and getting my CNA license, and then my massage therapy degree,"says Miller.
"I always wanted to work with women and babies. It's kind of hard to get into nursing," says Tequeria Burrage, who finished her GED Thursday.
All plan to finish soon. Their teachers encourage them to keep on schedule, telling them to beat the end of year deadline, and often, their own expectations.
"This is something I've wanted to do, been wanting to do, for a long time. I dropped out of school at 13," says Mary Campbell, who finished her practice tests.
"Everyday it's a reminder,"says Miller.
"You have to have your own motivation," says Burrage.
Iowa students will not take the GED next year. The state chose to go with a different company's test. Illinois students will continue taking the GED.