When you’ve quit high school without graduating, you may feel like that’s the end of your educational path. However, just read on and learn about your options to get back on your educational track.
If you don’t hold a GED or high school diploma, there are still some great options if you want to pursue a college education.
In order to secure a well-paying job and work toward a fulfilling career, you need education and training beyond high school practically at all times.
Most employers want to hire individuals who have continued their education after high school and hold a college degree.
The fact of the matter is that you really don’t need to put off a college education for the simple reason that you don’t hold a high school or equivalent diploma such as a GED®.
And if you hold a college degree, you don’t need to include GED or high school diploma on your resume.
Sure, usually, you must have a high school diploma or GED to be able to enroll in credit-bearing college courses.
Generally, that’s a prerequisite. But let’s see how you can still continue your academic education and work toward a college degree and a fulfilling career.
Community colleges and trade schools
An increasing number of community colleges, technical colleges, and trade schools accept students by using other proof of qualification than merely a high school or GED degree.
For individuals without a high school or GED diploma, enrolling in a community college or a trade school is a good option.
Bear in mind, however, that, especially in college, you’ll have to maintain your academic achievement to secure financial student aid.
Standardized college entrance tests such as the ACT or SAT are very useful (these tests are open to adults as well), and many states have their own college qualification exams such as the TSI exam (Texas), PERT (Florida), and the ACCUPLACER tests and CLEP tests may help as well. Online GED video lessons are a great way to get all set for these options.
Many colleges recommend aspiring students take additional remedial courses and have assessments to ensure the students will have no problems being successful in their credit-bearing courses.
Individual states and colleges are in control of setting requirements and standards for admission procedures, so do some research and discover what colleges are accepting candidates without a high school or GED diploma.
Keep in mind, though, that most public universities and private colleges require a high school diploma or an equivalency but that community colleges and trade schools may have their own admission policies.
In California, students that do not have a high school or GED diploma must be at least 18 years of age to get admitted into college. Generally, applicants are required to take and score sufficiently on a college entrance exam and/or take remedial courses so the educational institution can determine which courses the students may complete successfully.
Some colleges allow non-traditional students over the age of 24 to show proof of academic achievement through accomplished projects, alternate studies, or reading lists.
These schools are looking at other academic traits and markers, such as previous accomplishments, extracurricular activities, essays, work experience, or recommendations from professional colleagues or teachers.
Then there’s the Ability to Benefit (ATB) option. More and more colleges are no longer requiring applicants to hold a high school or GED diploma for admission. This allows students to become GED graduates while attending college courses. Check out also this post about -> GED students taking the SAT college entrance exam.
Through the ATB program, students can sign up for college or university courses and also qualify for federal financial aid or even sometimes state financial support.
These colleges offer instruction toward a GED while students simultaneously work toward an associate degree. This website’s free GED practice tests will help students very well to master everything required to be successful on the GED exam.
So check out a community college that offers this option and see if they offer courses that you are interested in. Additionally, there are quite a few universities that offer courses for applicants that didn’t graduate from high school.
Many colleges provide dual programs (GED program in combination with associate degrees) without advertising this option. Keep in mind, though, that not all institutions accept the GED as equivalent to a grade 12, and this is particularly true for the U.S. armed services.
How about homeschooled students without a high school or GED diploma?
According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, state laws require that most homeschool programs, though not accredited, are valid alternatives and equivalent to a high school diploma. Read also this post about how GED grads might even make it into Harvard. It will be challenging, but it is definitely possible.
Though the related documents are issued by parents or a guardian instead of school administrators, the U.S. Department of Education recognizes these documents as equivalent to traditional diplomas, and so do most public and private schools.
Adult high school
Students wishing to go to college but did not complete the credits needed for a regular high school diploma or who left school without a diploma have another great option: Adult High School.
Many community colleges and public school systems offer adult education for students to earn an Adult High School Diploma. So individuals who quit high school prematurely still have the chance to earn the credits that they missed in high school.