Entering College without GED Is Possible: No High-School Diploma Is Required?

Homeschooling, teenage pregnancy, low income, health issues, and other personal factors sometimes make children stop studying at school. Consequently, they don’t graduate from school and think they’ll never be eligible for higher education. But is it really so?

Though entering a college usually does require a GED (Graduate Equivalency Degree) or high school diploma, there are opportunities to get a bachelor’s degree without them. We’ll consider seven options that can lead you to the specialization or job of your dreams. Read on to learn more.

How to Enter a College without a High School Diploma

  1. For Homeschoolers

Millions of US schoolers study from home, especially in the pandemic era. And in 2021, homeschooling is no longer an issue for entering college. If this is your case, you may not have a traditional diploma, but you can communicate with admission officers to enroll. You’ll only have to collect and show certain documents that prove you studied at home –– your parents or caregivers usually provide these. This case is probably the least “painful.”

  1. For 24+ Years Old Students 

Young people traditionally go to college after they graduate from school or 1-2 years after it. So, on average, college students are 18 – 23 years old. But for some reason (often family-related), schoolers don’t enter college within years after leaving school and return to this idea later when their lives stabilize. And if they return to the academic path six years after graduation, they are called non-traditional students. 

So, a non-traditional student is at least 24 years old. Often, these students don’t live on campus and have full-time jobs, so they attend classes partially or occasionally. And usually, they juggle work, school, and family. That’s why many colleges initiate programs that support older students and accept them with a GED instead of a traditional diploma.

  1. Community Colleges Accept SAT and ACT

The most popular option for those students who don’t have a school diploma or GED is going to community colleges that don’t require these documents. Not every community college has alternative ways to assess students’ academic success. However, there are cases when you are enrolled with average SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or ACT (American College Test) results. Having a good score for one of these tests is a compulsory requirement of most US colleges; however, these tests are not simple. 

  1. Apply to Trade Schools

Trade schools are also called technical schools. And though most of them require either a GED or diploma, some don’t. Instead, they may ask their future students to take a proficiency test related to some subject or area of study. 

To learn more about your opportunities, ask local guidance counselors or high school advisors. These people should have information about admission rules in various institutions since advising is their responsibility. Some trade schools will even offer free GED preparation and testing. 

For example, some community colleges accept all 18 years old students even without diplomas or GED degrees in California. Nonetheless, students are asked to take remedial courses and placement tests –– they help to understand which subjects such students can succeed in. 

  1. Get a High School Diploma Online

It seems nearly ideal –– to finish your school diploma online and finally get a job or promotion that you’re thinking of. Studying at home appears much better than going to public schools with a regular schedule. But there’s another concern: how legitimate are such flexible offers? Studying hard and balancing other commitments to learn that colleges and employers don’t accept this document is frustrating. But how to avoid such a scam?

Legitimate courses can be held only by licensed and accredited schools, and some schools are accredited not only regionally but also nationally. And educational organizations have to renew their accreditation regularly to ensure that students get high-level education. However, even if a school proves to be accredited and licensed, you should check if your college will accept its diploma. 

  1. Get the GED

The GED test includes exams on four topics familiar to every schooler: reasoning, maths, social studies, and science. As you pass the GED, you get a GED credential –– this is a high school diploma equivalent. It certifies that you have basic knowledge of all 12-grade levels even if you never attended all twelve. 

98% of schools accept the GED, and when enhanced with good SAT or ACT scores, this credential can make you a competitive applicant to any college. In addition, GED can bring you higher salaries in the future. 

While returning to your school diploma with regular classes can be a great way to gain knowledge and experience, it takes years. The GED option, however, requires only a few months. And though both ways promise new opportunities, career growth, and an increase in salary, the advantages of the GED are outstanding. 

  1. Listen to College Courses for Free

Consider free online courses if you need a high school diploma to enter college and get specific skills. Employers can admit this type of education provided that you can utilize the skills. Moreover, the online format is a flexible option for full-time workers. 

Several course providers offer courses from the most prestigious universities. Students can learn history, medicine, psychology, programming, and many more disciplines from famous professors. 

Though getting a master’s degree online requires payment, watching and listening is free, so you’ll only have to pay for certificates. Discover such platforms as EdX, MIT OpenCourseWare, Coursera, Stanford Online, Carnegie Mellon OpenLearning, and many others.

Wrapping Up

Quitting high school too early may seem to be the end of your academic path. But don’t give rise to despair, for you can always get back to your education –– even when you’re 30 and have neither a high school diploma nor a GED. Remember that if you have a genuine wish to get back on track, you’ll find a way. And whether it will be an SAT, ACT, alternative professional test, GED assessment, or even getting a high school diploma along with the college one –– you’ll make it! 

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