Due to various reasons such as health issues or family concerns, not all students are able to complete their high school education and earn their high school diploma. But even when students fail to graduate, it is still possible for them to attend a US college. All they need to do is earn their GED credential.
Read on to learn how to obtain your GED credential and gain acceptance to a US college.
What is the GED?
First, let’s go over the basics.
The GED (also known as a high school equivalency diploma) stands for General Educational Development or sometimes General Education Diploma. It consists of a series of tests that cover a range of high school academic topics including Language Arts/Writing, Language Arts/Reading, Social Studies, Science and Mathematics. In order to earn your GED credential you must successfully pass all five subject tests.
Once you have successfully passed the GED tests you will receive your GED credential, which is accepted by 95 percent of government institutions and universities in the US in lieu of a high school diploma.
Only those who have never earned their high school diploma are eligible to take the GED tests and must be at least 16 years of age. The GED is intended for both American and Canadian students and in addition to English is also available in Spanish, French, large print, audiocassette and Braille.
The GED is offered at a state level, can be completed over a three year period and lasts for a total of 7.5 hours. To obtain your GED find a local testing center and be prepared to fill out an application and provide proof of age and residency.
How Does the GED Differ from a High School Diploma?
Many people assume that because the GED test can be completed in a much shorter amount of time than one’s high school studies, it is an easier option. This, however, is not true.
In fact, in order to pass the GED test, students must perform on a level comparable to or higher than 60 percent of high school seniors. The GED is very rigorous and should be taken seriously.
Another area where the GED credential and a high school diploma differ is in their universal acceptance. Whereas most US colleges and universities will accept the GED as equivalent to earning a high school diploma, many international institutions will not. Therefore, students who are interested in studying abroad may face difficulties.
Conversely, those who are interested in starting their careers earlier may find that the GED is the better option as it allows you to enter the workforce sooner than those who earn their high school diplomas. Just like US colleges, 96 percent of US employers accept the GED in place of a high school diploma. Additionally, those with the GED credential are also still eligible to attend two year colleges and any necessary vocational programs.
What Other Documents are Required for US College Admissions?
When applying to a US college with a GED credential, the first thing you need to do is ensure your chosen schools accept the GED. If you do not see this information on the school’s website, simply contact the admissions office via email or phone and ask if there are any special requirements you must meet.
In addition to your GED credential, you will also need to supply several other documents and test scores, the same as a standard applicant. These may include SAT or ACT scores (unless the school is test optional) as well as letters of recommendation, a personal statement and/or student resume. If English isn’t your native language, chances are you will also need to take a proficiency test such as the TOEFL.
Make sure you stay in contact with the admissions office and submit all the required documentation on time. Each school’s requirements vary slightly so if you have any questions on what must be included in your college application, don’t hesitate to contact the office for further guidance.
Just because you were unable to complete your high school studies and earn your diploma, doesn’t mean you can’t attend an institution of higher learning. In order to continue your studies, you just need to earn your GED. But don’t think that the GED tests are a cake walk – just like high school, you’ll need to study hard and take the tests seriously. But if you do, you’ll find the future rewards and gains (such as earning your college degree) will be well worth it.