Can I Get Into College with a GED?

Colleges and universities only accept students who have shown academic success in high school or similar coursework, earning either a traditional high school diploma or a GED. Admissions committees view these two achievements identically. When applying to the college or university of their choice, students who have completed their high school curriculum using either method should still highlight the traditional areas that admissions counselors want to see: academic successes, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, leadership posts, and stories of personal growth.

Getting In: Are Students Without A Traditional Diploma Frowned On?

There are persistent, if inaccurate, rumors about the impact of a high school diploma or its alternatives when submitting an application for admission to an undergraduate program. The truth is that both achievements only serve to qualify applicants for admission to the program of their choice. Admissions professionals are far more interested in how students completed their high school education, not the piece of paper they have that declares the process finished. There are a few important things that all prospective college students should focus on as part of their education.

Overall Academic Performance

Universities want to make sure that the students they admit will be capable of handling coursework at the undergraduate level. The best way for them to determine whether this will be the case is to examine a student’s prior academic performance and evaluate whether or not this indicates a chance of success. In addition to class grades and transcripts, for high school graduates, most administrators will take note of how long it took a GED student to earn the credential on their own. In most cases, students who completed the program promptly will enjoy better chances of admission than those who waited a very long time to do so.

SAT Scores

Another key measure of aptitude is a student’s performance on the required SAT or ACT exam taken prior to filing an admissions application. These aptitude tests measure skills in basic algebra and language arts and they’re a strong indicator of whether or not students have the basic skills needed for collegiate success. If students perform well on these exams, admissions counselors won’t think twice about giving them a shot at undergraduate coursework.

Extracurricular Activities, Work Experiences, and Leadership Opportunities

The “wow” factor of a college application typically comes not from its academic indicators, but from the selection of work experiences, clubs, sports teams, and leadership posts that graduates are able to brag about. Colleges want to find people who are good at balancing their time, working in groups, and leading their peers. These activities all show initiative and hint that students have what it takes to succeed at a higher level of scholarship on-campus.

Essays and Recommendations

Finally, the written word can certainly have an impact on a student’s chance of securing admission to their top choice schools. Essays let the student talk about their academic and personal history, demonstrating language and composition skills in the process (please also see: How Can I Write a Good College Application Essay?).Recommendations show that the student made an impact on supervisors and teachers in the past. Both things are invaluable during the admissions process.

Traditional Diploma or Not, Universities are Within Reach

Students shouldn’t stress themselves about the way in which they completed their high school education. With the right application materials and demonstrated aptitude, applicants of all types will find themselves with an exciting offer of admission to some of the country’s best universities.