Applying to College with a GED

There are plenty of reasons why people pursue a GED (General Education Diploma) in lieu of a high school diploma. Whether you’ve already earned your GED or you’re considering one, you may be wondering how the college admissions process will look for you. Read on to learn more!

About the GED Test

For those considering a GED, here’s a little more information about the test itself. To qualify, you can’t be enrolled in high school, and you must be at least 16 years old. The GED is a series of standardized tests covering 4 categories: reasoning through language arts, mathematical reasoning, social sciences, and science. Each section takes one hour to complete. You have the option to take the tests separately, or all at once. Take note: you can only take the exam at an official GED testing centerYou cannot take these tests online. If you see advertisements to take the GED online, it’s a scam!

Admissions Process

Your college application process with a GED will be very similar, if not the same, as someone with a high school diploma. Depending on the school, you may need to fill out a separate form. Like any other applicant, you will write application essays and submit your ACT/SAT scores. You may also need to submit your high school transcript even if you only went to high school for one year. 

Difference Between GED and High School Diploma

Though the GED is equivalent to a high school diploma, there are some things to keep in mind. If you are applying to 4-year colleges and universities, it may require more time to look at your application. When you have a high school diploma, admissions officers have quick access to transcripts that tell a story. They will see GPA, class ranking, electives, course rigor, absences, and academic trends. 

GED scores don’t provide as big of a picture, which makes it more difficult to gauge your level of preparation for college academics. This is not to say that a GED will impact your chances of admission to a 4-year college. However, make sure you are telling your story in other parts of your application. Let them know about a steady job you’ve maintained or consistent volunteer work. If you score highly on the GED, (between 170 and 200 across all subjects), your application will stand out regardless of the type of diploma.

Types of Colleges

All community, technical, and junior colleges accept GEDs for admission. Most 4-year colleges and universities accept GEDs as well; however, you should check your school of interest’s website to make sure. Some universities may require specific high school equivalency diplomas (usually the GED within their state). You can avoid this complication by applying to schools within your state.

Financial Aid

You may be wondering if you qualify for financial aid with a GED. You do! By completing your FAFSA, you can receive federal financial aid such as grants and loans. Because you are likely classified as a “nontraditional student,” you may also qualify for all kinds of interesting scholarship opportunities. Check out the financial aid options at the schools you are interested in to learn more.

With this information, we hope you feel more prepared to tackle your college search process with a GED!