Is A GED Bad?

Last Updated on May 16, 2024.

The GED diploma is not bad at all. Technically, the GED certificate or diploma has the same value as a common high school degree.

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Nowadays, people who have earned their GED diploma are known for their self-discipline, persistence, and determination.

These skills will help you make it through the GED exam and are important to your potential employers and earn respect.

This also counts for the credential that’s awarded upon successful completion of the HiSET exam.

There are employers and colleges, however, that favor students who hold a high school diploma over students with a GED because of the different ways their skills and knowledge are measured.

Because students can earn a GED by taking just one set of tests rather than enjoying a 4-year education, the GED credential is sometimes not regarded as a reliable indication of an individual’s perseverance.

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And perseverance is definitely something that’s not only required to complete a full traditional high school academic education but also to be successful in college and later on in a professional environment.

If students are young enough to still go back to high school, so usually younger than 20 years of age (mind you, policies differ by state), we recommend they strongly consider going back to high school instead of going the GED path.

As said before, the two credentials may technically be identical, but there are still employers and colleges that prefer applicants for a job or a college education to hold a regular high school diploma.

That said, however, it is still better, and this goes without saying, that holding a GED is better than holding no secondary degree at all!

The fact of the matter is that recent changes to the GED test have made the exam more rigorous and that today, the GED diploma has gained a lot when it comes to credibility and respect.

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Can You Get into College with a GED?

Practically all U.S. colleges and universities accept GED graduates if they meet their other admission qualifications and requirements. Some private colleges, however, continue to not accept GED grads.

Estimates are that more than 60 percent of GED recipients of recent years are currently enrolled in, or have graduated from, college so it seems that the latest GED test edition is a great success, not only for the U.S. job market but also for college education in general.

So, students who left high school without a diploma at a relatively young age may not have so much to put on their applications. This is why many GED graduates first sign up for a community college or technical school to later transition to a four-year college after a few years.

For GED holders counts, just like for high school graduates, that many colleges require applicants to submit results from a college entrance test such as the ACT or SAT. If they attain “GED College Ready” scores, however, this requirement may be waived, and the number of colleges and universities that accept GED College-Ready scores is expanding rapidly.

Usually, colleges are also looking for well-rounded applications that include good GPAs. Check here -> to learn more about how you can convert GED scores to GPA.

GED Scores

The GED scoring system includes four stages. Scores are indicated on a 100-200 scale, and the below-passing score is in the 100-144 range. The 145-164 range equals high school equivalency, and the next two states are college-ready (165-174) and college-ready PLUS credit (175-200). Check here -> for more information on GED scoring.

At an increasing number of colleges and universities, the last two stages make that applicants are no longer required to submit any college entrance exam scores.

For GED graduates in the high school equivalency category (scores in the 145-164 range), it may be pretty tough to acquire the attitude and study skills required to be successful in college since the GED exam is not preparing them for independent studying, long-term projects, and in-depth assignments.

Students who experienced problems with self-study and keeping up with their assignments while still in high school may really want to give some thought to adjusting some bad study habits from the past prior to enrolling in highly competitive and challenging college programs.

Keep in mind that financial aid in college is equally available for high school graduates and GED holders. If you don’t go to college, however, bear in mind that there still may be a difference between what high school diploma holders bring home and the compensation for GED holders.

Is A GED The Same As A High School Diploma?

As stated above, technically speaking, the GED is the same as a regular high school diploma, but in daily life, there are still some differences. Let’s look at some examples.

Suppose you are employed in a college admissions office, and there are just these two credentials to compare. If you must make a choice, which of the two diplomas will, in your opinion, give you the best idea of success in college? Let’s look at some more examples.

In the armed forces, only a limited number of applicants can be GED graduates. The U.S. Army allows only some 15 percent of its enlistments to hold a GED every year.

Though both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy welcome GED graduates, the U.S. Marine Corps accepts GED holders only after individual evaluation, and only 5 percent of all recruits will be enlisted without a standard high school diploma. See also this post: Can you join the U.S. Air Force with a GED?

In all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, recruits are categorized into three categories, the so-called 3-tier system. The first category is for recruits with a high school credential, the second tier is for recruits with a GED diploma, and the third 3rd category is for recruits who don’t have a secondary education diploma at all.

These examples are not meant as a discouragement, but when you hold a GED diploma and you didn’t pass the exam with flying colors, you may need some other strong traits and qualifications if you want your application to stand out.

So, in conclusion, we can say that your GED is of the same value as a regular high school diploma, but it might take some effort on your side to help offset some possible negative perceptions.

Your college application essay offers you a great chance to highlight your strong traits and make clear why the path you took was definitely not just an easy way out.

To take the GED exam (if you wish, one subtest at a time), you needed to come in person to a state-approved GED test center, but recently we’ve seen the introduction of the online proctored GED test.