Can You Go To College with a GED?

If you attended high school but never received your diploma, you may question whether or not you can attend college with a GED. The good news is that many colleges today accept a GED just like a high school diploma. According to GED Testing Service, the official GED® high school equivalency program is recognized by 97% of employers and colleges nationwide.1 Therefore, if you plan to pursue a college degree or a job that requires a bachelor's degree or higher, then successfully completing high school or the GED equivalency test can be a critical part of reaching your academic goals. Whether you recently chose to leave high school or you're a non-traditional student looking into your options after years out of the classroom, pursuing your GED can be a great way to get back on the path toward higher education.

What is the GED?

When individuals leave high school before graduating, they may look for future opportunities that meet the same educational credentials in order to improve their job prospects, qualify for next steps in the military, or open the door to higher education. According to the GED Prep Info, it is estimated that over 60% of candidates who take the CEG are doing so with the intention of entering college or a postsecondary training facility.2 Furthermore, the GED Testing Center, in coordination with a data match from the National Student Clearing house report that 45% of those who earn their GED enroll in a college certificate or degree program online within 3 years, and 35% enroll do so within the first year. Further, 90% of those grads persisted by re-enrolling from one semester to the next.3

The GED, which stands for General Education Development, is a high school equivalency test that's recognized by 97% of colleges nationwide.1 In order to pass the test, you need to demonstrate your knowledge in math, language, social studies and science.

How Do You Get Your GED?

The GED testing administration is managed differently in each state, typically under one of the following departments/divisions: Department of Ed, Division of Adult Education, Board of Regents, Workforce Education, or Community College administration4.

The GED exam is divided into 4 parts: Reasoning Through Language Arts, Mathematical Reasoning, Social Studies, and Science. While students have the option to take all four parts at once, they many choose to focus on one or two sections and then move on to the others once they've been passed. Additionally, since the entire test takes just over 7 hours to complete, it may be more manageable to break up into multiple sessions.5

How Does a GED Change the Application Process?

If you're considering applying to college with a GED, holding a GED should not substantially change the college application process. As part of your college application, you'll be required to submit proof that you successfully completed the test in the same way that candidates submit verification of graduating from high school. You'll also be required to submit your completed application, essays, letters of recommendation, and any other supporting materials required. Moreover, depending on the university’s admissions requirements, you may also be required to include additional scores from tests like the ACT or SAT.

Do not be afraid to address your decision to pursue a GED in your application materials. This could be an important component of your personal statement or college essays, thus offering you the chance to explore your educational journey and your commitment to ongoing learning. However, if you're concerned about how the GED will impact your college experience, reach out to an admissions advisor to discuss further.

Building on Your GED for Academic Success

Preparation for passing the GED can serve as an excellent foundation for your academic experience in college. Most GED prep courses cover five essential areas: math, science, social studies, reading skills and writing skills. The information and study skills acquired during that process can be applied directly to both your general education requirements and classes within your major. Talk to your admissions or academic advisor to learn more and discover additional resources to help provide support during your studies.

Colleges admit students every year with GEDs. Do not fear that holding a GED will hold you back from pursuing your academic goals. It can be done.

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1. “Who We Are.” GED Testing Service. Retrieved from: (Visited September 10, 2018).
2. ”Why Take the GED?” GED Prep Info. Retrieved from: (Visited September 10, 2018).
3. "GED® Graduates Make Significant Gains in College Enrollment and Persistence.” GED Testing Service. Retrieved from: (Visited September 10, 2018).
4. “GED State Requirements.” Retrieved from: (Visited September 10, 2018).
5. "Test Subjects?" GED Testing Service. Retrieved from: (Visited September 10, 2018).

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