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Articles / Applying to College / College Options for GED Recipient with Strong SATs
Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | March 10, 2003

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.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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