Generally speaking, anyone who wants to earn an associate or bachelor's degree must first earn their high school diploma. However, there are programs that allow students who did not graduate high school to earn their GED as they work toward their undergraduate degree. These programs typically provide high school equivalency classes that must be completed before they can complete their college-level courses. Each school has its own specific guidelines, but all are designed to ensure their students receive the best, most thorough education.
Choose your program and school. In general, local community colleges will be the best place to look, as many offer duel degree programs, but other schools, like Pace University, also accept students looking to earn their GED.
Apply to the school(s) of your choice. In most cases, the application process is different from the undergraduate students, so it is important to understand the requirements for the GED program before submitting your application.
Apply for financial aid, scholarships and student loans, if needed and/or applicable. Some schools, like Pace, do not offer financial aid to GED students, but charge part-time tuition costs while in the GED program. Make sure you know and understand the costs of attending school before enrolling.
Take assessment exams or fulfill other requirements prior to beginning courses. Most programs require general education assessment exams prior to enrollment, allowing the school to assess whether you will be able to complete the required coursework and help you plan the classes you will be taking.
Complete required credit hours. Typically, a student can complete the GED program in about two semesters. Classes include high school-level English, math, and science, as well as college-level introductory courses in a variety of subjects.
- Programs usually require students to maintain at least a minimum GPA in order to successfully complete the program and earn a GED.
- All programs vary, but most college programs do not require you to take the GED test once you have finished the required course work. Be sure to study the program requirements and work with your adviser to fully understand the required steps to earn your degree.
- Once you earn your GED, you are free to either continue to earn your undergraduate degree at your current school, or apply to transfer to another college or university of your choice.
Jen has been a professional writer since 2002 in the education nonprofit industry. Her work has been featured in the New Jersey SEEDS Annual Report, as well as several Centenary College publications, including "Centenary in the News" and the "Trustee Times." In 2009, Jen earned a Master of Arts degree in leadership and public administration from Centenary College.