College Options for GED Recipient with Strong SATs

Question: I am a 21-year-old male who failed to graduate from high school. I have my GED and have recently taken the SAT and scored 1410. I’m wondering what would be the best way for me to pursue a college education. Would I be better off to start looking at nearby community colleges, or do you think some four-year universities may be able to look past the GED?

Your high SAT’s and GED will present an interesting (and perhaps appealing) combination to admission committees, and you certainly have a shot at four-year colleges and universities. It’s possible, in fact, that even elite colleges will keep you in the running, but that will depend on a number of factors, including how long you were in high school, how you fared while you were there (and the rigor of the courses you elected), what you have done since you left, and the circumstances that led to your earning a GED instead of a more typical high school diploma.

If you would like to attend a top-tier college, and your high school record makes you ineligible now, you may indeed be wise to prove yourself at a community college first and then apply to a prestigious four-year school as a transfer. (It’s not at all uncommon for highly competitive colleges to take transfers from open-enrollment community colleges.) On the other hand, you may indeed be a viable candidate for a strong four-year school right now. It’s hard to say without knowing a lot more about your background. (You may also have to take the SAT II: Subject tests to qualify for admission to the more selective for year schools. If you need additional information about those tests and the registration process, go to www.collegeboard.com).

For starters, we suggest contacting the four-year institutions that interest you and ask admission counselors straight out if they think you’re in the ballpark. You might also want to consider a Stats Evaluation from College Confidential. If we learn more of your story, we may be able to give you more specific advice.