Getting a bachelor’s degree is a crowning achievement that greatly improves your chances of finding quality jobs beyond the entry level. In 2013, the Georgetown CEW projected that 35 percent of the economy’s 55 million openings by 2020 would require a bachelor’s. Median income raises from $25,636 without a high school diploma to $59,124 with a bachelor’s. Further, Lumina Foundation reports that bachelor’s grads are 74 percent less likely to be out of the labor force than high school graduates.
Unfortunately, some people who dropped out of high school think this helpful education credential is out of reach. That’s because the traditional path to bachelor’s study is a 16-unit college-prep curriculum from freshman to senior year. However, alternative options make it never too late to realize career goals. One such example is the GED certificate, which is widely accepted by admission committees as a high school equivalency.
Introduction to the GED
The GED, or General Educational Development, is a test series that certifies individuals’ mastery of secondary-level academics. It was developed during the 1940s by the Army Institute for military personnel who hadn’t finished high school. Last revised in 2014, it’s now structured to evaluate proficiency in four subjects: Reasoning Through Language Arts, Mathematical Reasoning, Social Studies, and Science. Each section is graded 100-200 points with a minimum passing mark of 145. Note that scores above 165 are classified as “College Ready.”
According to Education Week, 79 percent of the 300,540 GED takers in 2017 passed with a 580 total or better. Eligibility varies across the 50 states and Canada, but most only accept testers age 16+ years of age who aren’t enrolled in high school. The American Council on Education lets people sit for the entire 7.5-hour GED test at once or in smaller sections. Though the GED is standardized, six different forms of high school equivalency diploma tests exist to retain the exam’s integrity and academic recognition.
Steps to Earn a GED
High school students attend over 1,000 hours of class each year, so preparation for the GED is crucial. Making use of GED practice books will judge your content mastery level. Consider attending formal GED program classes at your local community college or technical school. Psychology Today also lists important test-taking skills to exercise. You can spring for a practice test, or visit a testing center to practice.
Next, register for the in-person GED exam online. General Educational Development prices vary drastically by state. For instance, Arkansas bills $4.00 per section for $16 while George charges $40.00 by subject for $40 total. Registration forms will include picking from the over 3,200 Pearson VUE centers in North America.
On your selected day, you’ll arrive early with identification, pencils, water, and the TI-30XS calculator allowed. The computer exam then involves multiple-choice and fill-in-the-black questions. Stay calm yet focused on allotting enough time for each 70- to 150-minute part. Passing scores lead to a digital or paper GED certificate. If your test score are lower than you want, two free retakes are offered for test-takers.
College Admission with a GED
The National Center for Education Statistics found 98 percent of institutions recognize the GED as equivalent to a traditional high school diploma. In fact, 43 percent of GED earners enter college within six years. There are three main college types that GED recipients choose from. First, community colleges like Fox Valley Tech, Northwest Vista, CUNY Hostos, Moore Norman Center, and Marion Military Institute often have open enrollment.
Second, online schools, including CSU-Global, DeVry, Strayer, Liberty, Southern New Hampshire, Walden, and Purdue Global, have flexible internet classes ideal for GED credential adults.
Third, traditional four-year universities, such as Penn State, DePaul, Auburn, Old Dominion, Pomona, Arizona State, Indiana, and Florida Tech, generally welcome passing testers. Like any other document, you’ll need to submit the GED report with the application. The GED Testing Service will fulfill transcript requests to colleges from Maine to Guam for $15. Besides that, admission processes are the same as for high school grads.
Overall, the answer is yes GED graduates can get into a bachelor’s degree program. Please note that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed acceptance at your chosen college though. The NACAC State of College Admission report calculated an average Fall 2015 selectivity rate of 66.1 percent.
Finishing the GED alone might not impress the committee staff. Thus, use the application as your outlet to display what you’ve been doing since high school. Create a detailed résumé, submit a project portfolio, or get recommendations about your ambitious ethic. Some colleges prefer GED recipients who’ve taken other entrance exams like the SAT.
Others like seeing evidence of college-level ability through previous adult education college credit. Consider building atop the GED with an associate degree or certificate from an accredited career institute. Four-year bachelor’s programs usually accept 60-65 transfer credits of lower-division courses for the general education core. Gaining entry to a college degree with a GED diploma is possible, but might require some extra work.
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