Tips on Helping Runaway and Homeless Youth Prepare for the GED

  • Make your first priority addressing young people's basic needs, such as food and shelter.

  • Give youth the information they need to make their own decisions about whether the GED is right for them.

  • Help students create their own timeline for preparing for and taking the tests, based on individual ability and circumstances. Some youth may need a few months to prepare while others may need 1 or 2 years.

  • Be realistic and honest about the GED's potential to improve young people's earning potential and career opportunities. Put it in the context of other life planning, life skills training, and career building activities.

  • In addition to GED classes, offer support in the form of one-on-one tutoring or mentoring.

  • Help youth think about college and other post-GED education programs. The U.S. Department of Education's Think College Web site at provides useful information about preparing for college.

  • Incorporate hands-on and nontraditional classroom experiences, such as using monopoly money and budgeting exercises, analyzing receipts, going grocery shopping, and taking field trips.

  • Offer specific workshops in areas youth generally have trouble with, such as writing or math. To learn about strategies for improving student performance, go to the "Just for Teachers" section of the U.S. Department of Education Web site at

  • Offer spaces and activities that facilitate different styles and levels of learning, for instance, by using a combination of group learning, one-on-one tutoring sessions, and individual projects.

  • Give youth opportunities to work together and learn from each other.
National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth | 5515 Security Lane, Suite 800 | North Bethesda, MD 20852 | (301) 608-8098 |