Can You Go to College Without a GED?

 Are you looking for a college without GED or high school diploma? Let us help you find a college which suits your requirements the best.

Updated by TCM Staff on 16th October 2020

To enroll in a college you usually require a GED or high school diploma as one of the prerequisites, if you don't have one you can still continue your higher education and fulfill your dream of earning a college degree.

Can I go to college without a GED or a High School Diploma?

The answer is, Yes

There could be various reasons for not having a High School Diploma or a GED, some people choose to be homeschooled, some dropout or could be a “non-traditional student” who is working and hasn't gone to school for at least 6 years.

No matter the reason we have a solution for everyone.

How can get into a college without GED or high school diploma?

Here is a list of options that allow you to pursue your college education without a GED or high school diploma,

1. Community Colleges

This is the most common option for people who want to go to college but do not have a GED or a High School Diploma. Several Community colleges accept people by giving them something to prove that they are qualified other than a High School Degree. Common standardized tests like the SAT’s or ACT’s can help. Some colleges may even recommend a course to assess the knowledge and make sure the students won’t have any problem once a part of the college program.

2. Earning a GED

GED is also known as the General Education Test. GED test is something that you take instead of going to a High School that proves that you have High School level academic skills by clearing a group of 4 subjects. Hence, it becomes the perfect replacement for a High School Diploma that will get you enrolled in a College.

You can get a GED through the following steps

  • Being at least 16 years of age

  • Preparing for the 4 part exam, you can prepare through online classes and sample tests

  • Registering online for the GED exam

  • Appearing for the test

  • Checking the test result 4 hours after the exam you need to score at least 150 to pass, if you don’t, you can take the test again.

The difference or should I say the advantage of getting a GED diploma instead of a High School diploma is that the GED will only take a few months of preparation when compared to 4 years of full-time high school. Another advantage is that even though it takes less time to get a GED it is comparable to an actual high school diploma.

You can go to college with a GED even if you are still appearing for it although the college might not give you your degree till you have your GED diploma.

3. Earning a High School Diploma along with your college degree

If you still want to earn a High School Diploma and not a GED, you have the option to enroll for an Online High School degree program that will help you earn a degree whilst still at home similar to being homeschooled, most adults choose this option to get a high school degree.

Watch out for scams, anything that is labeled as an “online free high school degree” is something you should stay away from.

Another option is to take college classes while still in high school that is taught by college-approved professors which will also help you earn college credits. This way you can earn your high school and work towards your college degree at the same time.

4. Being homeschooled

If you don’t have a traditional High School diploma because you were homeschooled you can still go to college by giving the college documents from your parents or a guardian that looked after your studies that can prove that you got an education equivalent to a High School Diploma.

Homeschooling is approved by the U.S. Department of Education so students who were homeschooled have no problem joining colleges.

5. Nontraditional student

Yes! Going to college at 30 is also possible.

Students who have not been to high school for over 6 years are nontraditional students who can apply to colleges based on the factors that make up for them such as life experience, maturity, and skills possessed. The colleges, in this case, look at work experience, recommendations, and standardized test scores such as the SATs. Some colleges may even allow you to attend some classes to see how you perform after being out of school for at least 6 years.

6. Join a trade school

This might be one of the best options for people without a high school diploma. The students have endless options when it comes to studying at a trade school and it will give you on-the-job training by teaching you what you will be doing at your job which you don't get with most college degrees and students have to go through the struggle of learning through internships for a specific skill set. Trade school is also less expensive than college.

Some of the trade school graduates work as Dental Hygienist, Web Developer, Radiation Therapist, Plumber and many other things that require a specific skill set and not a lot of “book learning” but actual practical experience.

You may also read - Highest-paying trade school programs

7. Taking college classes without a degree

If nothing works out you can always take individual classes based on the skills you want to possess, it will also diversify your career options and add to your resume.

Colleges have no problem letting you enroll for classes. You will not get a degree or a certificate but it is still helpful because you still get knowledge like any other student studying for the same class.

At the end of the day going to college does not prove that you are more qualified than people who didn't go to college there are several things that you can still do that will make you equivalent to someone with a college degree.

Can I enroll in an online undergraduate program without a GED or high school diploma?

Accredited online programs have a compulsory requirement for a high school diploma or a GED certificate. However, many programs offer concurrent enrollment- students can parallelly earn college credits while pursuing high school. Although a high school diploma is important to get an education, you can still continue to pursue your dreams by choosing these simple options. 

Financial aid for students that didn't go to high school

Not having a high school diploma should not stop you from getting financial aid but Federal Student Aid will require something equivalent to a high school degree such as a GED or even homeschooling works. Private organizations are more open to granting loans or scholarships to people who don’t have a high school diploma. You can even appear for an Ability to Benefit exam to prove that you have academic knowledge that equals a high school diploma.

You may also read - Eligibility requirements for financial aid

List of colleges that do not require a GED or a high school diploma

Here are a few colleges that do not require GED or a high school diploma,

Jobs that don’t require a high school diploma or GED

Several job positions don’t require a high school diploma or a college degree but actual skills such as

  • Acting

  • Massage Therapist

  • Painter

  • Film Director

  • Librarian

  • Politics

  • Singer

  • Dancer

Many people go to college and earn a degree but end up doing something completely different which proves that you don’t need a degree to be successful in life.

There are jobs for everything that you can imagine even sitting in front of a camera and eating food aka Mukbang is a job that is earning Mukbang Youtubers in 6 figures.

Although you will need a lot of dedication and hard work to convert your passion to your occupation and earn money while doing that.


More than 40% of the people are doing something completely different than what they studied for and graduated college with.

It's not the end of the world if you don't have a high school diploma or you if you didn't get to college. A degree cannot decide your worth. As long as you work hard, hustle, and never give up on your passion you will get where you want to be.

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