Can I Go to College with a GED?

If you are considering getting your GED certificate or have already earned your GED, you may have found yourself asking this very same question: can I go to college with a GED? In general, the answer is yes; however, there are some exceptions depending on the type of university. The only way to know for sure if the college you would like to attend accepts the GED in place of a high school diploma is to contact the admissions office to ask about specific admissions requirements, since they vary by school. In general, most open admissions colleges accept students who have earned their GED certificate.

If you studied for the GED test at a local community college or university and are familiar with the campus, this may be a great option for continuing your education. Some colleges even have bridge programs designed to help students earn their GED and then start taking classes towards a college degree. For example, Rio Salado College, a Maricopa Community College in Arizona, offers a College Bridge Pathways program that is designed to help students make the transition to college after completing their GED program. Rio Salado offers certificate and associate degree programs in a variety of subject areas.

Associate Degree Programs and Community Colleges

Most community colleges have open admissions policies and accept students who have earned their GED certificate. For example, Miami Dade College in Florida accepts students with a GED into their Associate in Arts, Associate in Science and Associate of Applied Science programs. While Miami Dade College does offer bachelor’s degrees, students must have already completed their associate degree before applying. Houston Community College in Texas is another example of a college with an open-door admissions policy that accepts students who have passed the GED exam.

Special Note: Colleges with open admissions accept all students who meet admissions requirements, while colleges with selective admissions do not accept all students who apply and meet the admissions requirements.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs from Open Admissions Universities

Some national universities with campuses in multiple states or offer online degree programs also accept students into both associate degree and bachelor’s degree programs with a GED certificate. For example, DeVry University accepts students who have completed their GED and meet prior education performance criteria. In addition to a GED certificate, students may be required to complete prerequisites or take an entrance examination to determine class placement.

The University of Phoenix, another national university with campuses in over 35 states, accepts the GED certificate in lieu of a high school diploma. The University of Phoenix has additional admissions requirements including age restrictions, work experience requirements depending on the degree program, and students must not have been expelled from a previous college or institution.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs from Selective Admissions Universities

For students who have earned their GED and know they want to pursue a bachelor’s degree from a selective admissions university, it is common to first pursue an associate degree at a community college, technical school or career college, and then transfer to the four year institution at the junior level. If this is indeed your intended path, you should speak with the admissions counselors at both schools before starting to ensure that any degree or credits earned will transfer. This will also give you the opportunity to ask about admissions and GPA requirements for the four year university.

Some selective admissions universities do accept the GED in place of a high school diploma, and allow you to apply for admission without first obtaining an associate degree. For example, The City University of New York (CUNY) will evaluate students who have earned their GED certificate. However, those students must still meet prerequisites and academic requirements including minimum standardized test scores, and be able to demonstrate that they are ready for college-level courses in math, reading and writing. In addition, each CUNY campus has minimum GED test scores for admissions.

Beauty Schools, Technical and Career Colleges

Another option for students includes colleges that offer career training programs. These range from beauty schools to auto mechanic schools to schools with programs in healthcare like medical or dental assisting. Regency Beauty Institute has campuses in 20 states and offers programs in cosmetology. Students can complete their program in nine to 13 months depending on the state. Universal Technical Institute (UTI) has 10 campuses and offers technical training to become an auto mechanic. Programs take approximately one year to complete (when taken full-time) and classes start throughout the year. For both Regency Beauty Institute and UTI, a GED may substitute for a high school diploma.

ITT Technical Institute has over 140 locations in more than 35 states and offers a wide range of programs like information systems, electronics technology, criminal justice, and business management. ITT Tech also accepts a GED certificate in lieu of a high school diploma. Admission requires a meeting with a school representative and prospective students must pass an admissions test if they have not taken the ACT or SAT and achieved an acceptable score in the past five years.

In addition to beauty and technical schools, career colleges offer programs focused around career training. Typically, programs can be completed in one to two years of full-time study which allow students to enter the workforce faster. Programs usually result in a certificate, diploma or associate degree. Anthem Education, through their Anthem College, Anthem Career College, Anthem Institute and Florida Career College brands, has 34 campuses in 14 states offering a variety of degree programs including dental assisting, medical assisting, medical billing and coding, pharmacy technician and paralegal studies. Anthem Education accepts the GED certification in lieu of a high school diploma as well. With most career colleges, programs vary by campus, so be sure to speak with an admissions counselor if you find a program that interests you.

Online Degree Programs and Education Options

For students who work during the day or have other obligations that do not allow them to pursue a college degree at a traditional campus-based school, online degree programs may be a good alternative. Most online programs have flexible scheduling that allows students to log into classes at non-traditional times. Students interact with professors and classmates through chat sessions, interactive lectures and through email. These programs are also convenient for students who do not have access to transportation or who live in remote areas where educational options are limited.

While online degrees allow working professionals the opportunity to pursue advanced education at convenient times, they are just as challenging as traditional campus-based programs. Online programs require dedication, commitment and self discipline since classes do not meet regularly to keep students on track. For students who would still like to interact with teachers and classmates in person on a more limited basis, some schools offer hybrid programs that combine classroom and online learning.

If you are thinking about earning your GED certificate, we have compiled a list of colleges across the US that offer GED preparation courses. You can find colleges with GED programs in your state by checking out our state index page and clicking on the state in which you live. It is never too late to pursue your GED and go to college.

Disclaimer: All educational institutions described above are used for example purposes only and are not recommended or endorsed by