We all remember how proud we were the day we graduated high school and obtained our diplomas. That document we received was our official proof that our childhood was complete.
Still, most of us haven't given that piece of paper a second thought since that day. In fact, you might have no idea where your high school diploma ended up. So, when a potential employer asks you for a copy of it, what do you do?
Fortunately, there are a few ways to get an official, legal copy of your high school diploma. You just need to follow the steps in this guide.
Or, for non-official purposes, you can obtain a replica diploma. We'll show you how to do that, too. Read on to learn what to do.
1. Try to Find Your Missing Diploma
There aren't many reasons why you'd need a second, official copy of your diploma. So, chances are, you're reading this because you need to replace a diploma you've lost.
Furthermore, this means you've already tried to find it. We urge you, though; try looking for it again.
Diplomas and other official certificates you earn through education are strictly protected by the government. In other words, the government purposely makes it difficult to obtain a copy because they don't want these records ending up in the wrong hands.
So, the official process of replacing your diploma is a time-consuming pain. It's likely much easier to go through those boxes in your garage than to order a new diploma.
Besides that, you don't want your old diploma to be found by someone else, anyway. It has your important, personal information on it.
2. Contact Your Old High School
For the reasons stated above, the only way to obtain a genuine replacement diploma is through official channels. This starts with contacting the high school that issued the diploma.
Don't attempt to call them via the old number you found in your high school yearbook. Check their website for official contact information. Then, email them from there or use the current number they provide to call them.
Better yet, see if the website offers the option to order a replacement diploma. If so, simply follow their instructions to do so. Otherwise, proceed to the next step.
3. Request Your Replacement Diploma
If you're able to contact the school, simply ask for instructions on how to order a replacement diploma. Typically, they require that you pay a fee and mail in a written request along with certain information, such as:
- The reason for the request
- The name of the school you graduated from
- Your graduation date
- Your contact information, birth date, and social security number
The school determines what information is needed, so they may have additional requirements.
4. Contact the School District
Unfortunately, you may hit a snag when trying to contact your school, such as:
- The school doesn't seem to have a website
- The school website doesn't have contact info
- The contact info on the website doesn't work
- The high school has closed down
If you're experiencing any of these problems or otherwise can't get ahold of the school, try to contact the school district the high school was a part of. Or, contact all of the school districts in that area and see if any are connected with your previous high school.
When a school closes down, the school records pass to the district the school belonged to. They should be able to access your record to get you your replacement diploma. To get ahold of the district, follow the same instructions we gave for contacting your school.
5. Contact the Department of Education
Ok, it's extremely rare that both the school and the district are now unreachable or nonexistent. But, unfortunately, it does happen.
If this happens to you, then you need to go all the way to the top: the Department of Education. The good news is, you won't have any trouble contacting them.
Get their contact information from their official government website. Make sure it's the same state as the school that issued the diploma.
6. What About Private School Diplomas?
Furthermore, it's possible that you graduated from a private school, not a public school. In this case, it's best to try the Department of Education first.
7. What if the School Refuses Your Request?
The school may not wish to oblige your request for a replacement diploma. In that case, ask them if you can at least obtain a copy of your transcripts.
This is better than nothing and you can legally use it as official proof of your graduation (in most cases). This should be sufficient for any reason you needed your diploma in the first place.
8. Order a Replica Diploma
Alternatively, perhaps you only want a copy of your diploma so you can display it. In that case, you don't need to jump through all the hoops of getting an official replacement.
Just order a replica from a reputable third party. You'll be able to customize it to look exactly like the original.
But this replica will be for display only. It's illegal to use such replicas for official purposes, like proving your educational achievements to a potential employer.
Replace Your High School Diploma With These Steps
If you need to replace your high school diploma, you know what to do. Just follow these steps and get your replacement.
Now, do you want to learn more about ordering replica diplomas? Then check out these 7 Factors to Consider Before Getting Replica Diplomas.