Diploma Endorsements by State and Tracking Student Service Hours | Track It Forward

Diploma Endorsements by State and Tracking Student Service Hours

Last updated by Jordan Galerkin on 02/16/2024

Diploma Endorsements: What are they, and how do they benefit high school students?

Many high schools in the U.S. offer diploma endorsements - an extra designation on a high school diploma indicating additional achievement in a particular field. Diploma endorsements have become more popular in recent years as a way to recognize and incentivize outstanding academic and community achievement.

Some states offer diploma endorsement options at the state level to all public school students (and often by request for private schools), however in many areas across the country the decision of whether or not to offer diploma endorsements is up to the school district. See our complete list of which states offer high school diploma endorsements below:

Graphic: Diploma Endorsements by State. Many U.S. states offer high school diploma endorsements or seals to recognize outstanding student achievement in different areas of study.
State Endorsements: Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas. 
State Designations & Pathways: Florida, Washington.
State Seals: Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming.
Local Endorsements: Alabama, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia.
Sources: state department of education websites

A diploma endorsement can serve many purposes. The main reason states and many school districts have decided to offer them is to incentivize high school students to go above and beyond the standard diploma graduation requirements. The benefit for students is that they’ll receive additional recognition for their hard work and dedication. This recognition can be used to strengthen applications for college, technical schools, or careers they choose to pursue after graduation.

Common types of diploma endorsements:

  • Postsecondary Workforce Readiness/Career & Technical Education
  • STEM
  • Biliteracy/Foreign Language
  • Community Service/Citizenship

Some states even offer additional benefits on top of recognition. The state of Mississippi, for example, offers guaranteed public university admission to any student who earns a high school diploma endorsement. As stated by their department of education, “Mississippi students now have the opportunity to make their high school diploma more valuable.” This is a new initiative that begins with the graduating class of 2022.

Community Service Diploma Endorsements

Community service or citizenship diploma endorsements are designed to recognize volunteer work in the community. Some states and districts may offer these in place of or in addition to a community service graduation requirement. There are both pros and cons to making community service optional for high school students:


  • The award/recognition goes to someone who is truly dedicated to the community
  • Students are given a choice of which endorsement to pursue


  • A limited number of students may choose to pursue the community service option, and these are students who tend to be more civic-minded in the first place
  • Other students who may have needed the extra push of a requirement to discover the benefits and enjoyment that comes from community service may lose out on an opportunity to explore new areas of interest
Pursuing academic excellence is important, and students should be rewarded for their knowledge, hard work, and pursuit of intelligence. However, more and more colleges and companies are looking for adeptness as soft skills in addition to hard academic skills.

Dedication to community service shows maturity, leadership skills, and willingness to go above and beyond. Depending on the type of volunteer service, it can also serve as work experience. For example, students who volunteer at an organization where they do administrative work in addition to hands-on service gain experience on two levels.

States and school districts that do offer community service diploma endorsements may find volunteer work harder to keep track of than course-focused achievements, which can easily be measured on a student’s academic transcript. But what if community service could be integrated just as easily into a student’s record?

With Track it Forward, it canbe! Track it Forward is an easy-to-use volunteer time tracking software that schools can use to effectively track student service hours. Student-friendly features include a mobile app, service resume, and community service directory to help match students with verified volunteer opportunites. 


Tracking Community Service Hours for Diploma Endorsements

Track it Forward allows school districts and teachers to set up custom categories for different types of community service, and students can view their progress toward milestones, or service hour goals. In addition, students can submit verification of volunteer work completed onsite, like signatures, selfies, and GPS locations.

One of our most popular features is the Track it Forward mobile app. Students can submit volunteer hours quickly and easily from their phones - no need to log on to a computer and submit hours at a later time. This increases accuracy in hours reporting because students can record hours as they are completed, rather than needing to remember to submit them later on a computer.

More and more states and school districts are beginning to offer diploma endorsements as a way to motivate and recognize students who go above and beyond. The endorsements can have a lasting impact on students both academically and in their future careers. 

Community service can be one of the most rewarding endorsements for high school students. They can make an impact in their community while demonstrating dedication, leadership, and workplace skills. If any of your students are participating in community service for endorsements or requirements, Track it Forward can help streamline tracking of these important achievements.


Learn more about how your school can use Track it Forward: