Community colleges urge dropouts to get GED this year - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Community colleges urge dropouts to get GED this year

AMARILLO - Amarillo College and hundreds of other schools across the nation are urging high school dropouts to get their GED sooner rather than later because of coming changes to the GED exam.

More than 500 high school drop-outs have gone through the Amarillo College GED program in the past seven years, but Census statistics show that 18 percent of Amarillo residents are still without a high school diploma or the equivalent.

"If you've never attempted the GED. This is a great year to go ahead and try and get it you think you're ready," Instructor and advisor for Amarillo College's Community Link program Danette Fenstermaker said.

Come 2014, the exam will be more expensive and more challenging. More short answer, essay, and fill-in-the blank questions will cover a wider array of topics.

Fenstermaker says taking the exam before the end of the year is especially important for those who've already passed parts of the test.

"You need to finish it by December of this year. Because if you haven't finished it by December of this year, you'll have to start all over," Fenstermaker said.

Amarillo College offers a free assessment test that gages whether you're ready to take the test, or which subjects you need to brush up on.
      
They also offer prep courses, scholarships, and guidance for the future. Something Palo Duro High dropout Alex Cisneros says is well worth the time.

"To me it was very hard, I thought how am I going to go back and learn all of this whenever I don't even know how I made it 11th grade in the first place," Cisneros said.

Now Cisneros, the mother of three small children, is well on her way to getting her bachelor's degree in nursing. After finishing the GED program at Amarillo College, she's about to start at West Texas A&M.

"It's kind of intimidating, because you think that you're not going to be able to do it because of where you came from or your background or you're just hard on yourself," Cisneros said. "But I think it was great here. It did open a lot of doors for me here."

Amarillo College has seen students  of all backgrounds, from the ages of 16 to 76, get their GED. Proving that anyone can do it, If they just set their mind to it.

"If you want it, you can do it," Cisneros said. 
 
Right now it costs $80 to take the GED exam. That price will go up in 2014.
 
Amarillo College's Community Link program offers seven-week prep courses for $40 each. The class meets twice a week for one hour, and the next round of courses starts March 25.
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