If you have taken and passed the GED, or if you are considering whether taking the test is a worthwhile endeavor, you should know that applying to college with a GED in hand is not difficult. Most community colleges and state universities accept the GED instead of a high school diploma for acceptance into their higher learning institution. There are, however, a few factors to consider when applying to college with a GED that can increase your chances of being accepted into the school of your choice.

A GED is more than a piece of paper. It shows that you have commitment and ambition to apply yourself in order to further your job prospects and education. Technology institutes and trade schools are two higher education institutions that also value a GED for applying students.

Facts About GED Testing

Before you schedule and/or pay for a GED test, there are a few requirements to consider. To officially take the GED test, you must be at least 16 years old, not have a high school degree, not be currently enrolled in college and be a resident of the state or country for a predetermined amount of time. The requirements can vary by state, territory or country. If you are considering taking the GED test and you are still enrolled in high school, a guidance counselor or administration staff can assist you with understanding the requirements for your area and the skills that you may need in order to successfully pass the five-part test.

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The test can be administered for free at a certified testing center or can cost upward of $80 depending on the state or province. The GED test is comprised of five separate content areas. These are math, social studies, science, language arts with reading and language arts with writing. The test centers for the GED are relatively accessible to most, with more than 3,400 test locations around the world. Getting a strong score on each section of the GED, which would be between 170 and 200, can offer you an edge over those who are requesting admission with a high school diploma. Make sure to take advantage of the abundance of free online GED study guides and practice tests. Online practice tests are a great tool to build knowledge as well as confidence.

Preparing to Take the GED

Before scheduling a GED test, go to GED.com and create a free account. This will give you greater access to GED resources that can assist you in passing the test with a high score. The website has study guides, practice tests and answers to questions that are commonly asked.

GED testing days are abundant. Make sure to schedule it online well in advance to ensure you have a spot on a day that works well for you. There are many accredited study guides available to purchase online or at book stores. You can obtain a free GED study guide by mail. The turnaround time is rather quick. It will arrive at your home within days of sending in a request.

If you are currently enrolled in a school, ask a favorite teacher or the admissions office if there are any resources they may have, such as tutoring, that are available to you to study for the GED. Focus on skills with which you may have struggled. Rather than focusing on math in general, a GED study guide will help you to narrow your focus in order to study what will be on the test. GED flashcards are a quick study guide that can be done during commutes to work, during break times or otherwise on the go.

Universities That Accept the GED

More than 95 percent of colleges and universities will accept a GED certification. However, there are a few factors to consider when applying that will increase the chances of gaining acceptance to a higher learning institution with a newly minted GED. A phone call to the admissions office can work wonders if you are unsure of the process of applying to a specific college with a GED. Always read through the requirements of a college to ensure you aren’t wasting your time. While the college may accept those with GEDs, they may have restrictions, such as a certain test score on specific parts of the test. The minimum passing score for the GED is 145 points, which may or may not gain you acceptance to the college of your choice.

Trade School Route

If a high school diploma or GED seems to be a difficult endeavor and is stopping you from furthering professional instruction to ensure future lucrative job positions, a trade school can be a good route for a lucrative extension of your education. Completing a trade education can significantly increase your career prospects and earning potential. They tend to take less time to complete, so you can get to work in your field sooner rather than later. A trade school may more than likely have created strong connections in the community, which can increase the chances of gaining useful employment immediately upon graduating from the program in good standing.

Trade schools that don’t require a GED or diploma include beauty schools, welding and air conditioning schools and other craft work such as carpentry and commercial painting and construction. Always check the state licensing requirements before you begin to work in the trade that you have chosen. Some states require a GED or equivalent in order to work within the trade.

Help for Home-Schoolers

Obtaining a GED can be a bonus for those who are ahead of the curriculum in high school and want to get a jump on attending college. As a home-schooled student, applying to college is nearly the same as it is for those who attend and graduate from traditional high schools. The few differences are that as a home-schooled student, there may not be clear transcripts available to show the admissions officer. However, many admissions officers will take this into account and rely on other means of information about the student, such as SAT and ACT scores, BASI test scores and other monitored test results. Parents can create transcripts and a subsequent diploma for the home-schooled student or use a service that specializes in home-school curriculum and transcript assistance.

The average student spends more than 1,000 hours attending classes each year in high school. Some admissions officers and employers look at the amount of time and diligence it takes for students to complete that much schooling and feel that it gives them better preparation to sit through college classes and have the patience to maintain long hours of instruction or work. However, a GED is a valuable accreditation to have, and so is your attitude.

There are also many online schools that don’t require a high school diploma. Applying and being accepted to an online school can assist in gaining acceptance to a community college or university. It will show your current grade point average and capabilities in completing college courses, and it may offer avenues, such as teacher recommendations or admission assistance, to successfully applying to brick-and-mortar higher education institutions.

About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.