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6 Steps to Apply for College After Your GED

May 17, 2022

Apply for College

As you know, getting your GED is a huge accomplishment. You worked hard, studied, and prioritized. It’s exhausting but well worth it. Congratulations! So what’s next?

For many recent GED recipients, attending college is the next thing on their to-do list. But how? The process of applying to college may seem challenging, but that’s what you thought about the GED process. You did that, and you can do this, too.

Here are 6 steps to apply for college after getting your GED.

1. Look into Schools

Research colleges within your price range and geographic location. Don’t forget to consider online programs as well. You can often take online classes anywhere in the country, and the prices are much lower than attending school in person. One option is the Accelerated Pathways Program, a non-traditional, online college experience that offers flexibility as you earn a Bachelor’s degree. You’ll have the opportunity to work with an academic counselor to develop a customized degree plan that fits their identified goals, budget, and schedule.

When doing your research make sure the schools offer your chosen major or minor and look into their programs and reputations. Check out their alumni program too. What percentage of their graduates find full-time work in their chosen field?

Now that you’ve got your GED, community college might be a great option. Every two-year community college accepts students with GEDs. They have smaller class sizes, so you’ll receive more one-on-one instruction. They’re also less expensive.

Community colleges often partner up with state schools. When you graduate with your associate degree, you can automatically transfer to participating four-year colleges or universities as a junior.

After you make a list of colleges, double-check any out-of-state schools to see if they accept the GED from the state where you received it.

2. Contact the Admissions Department

After you determine that you meet the schools’ qualifications, submit the necessary documentation. This often includes:

  • An application.
  • An application fee or a fee waiver.
  • A FAFSA form for federal grants and loans.
  • Copies of your GED transcripts and standardized test scores.
  • Proof of identity and residence.
  • High school transcripts.

3. Write an Outstanding Essay

A well-written essay is often required for incoming students. Give yourself plenty of time to write an outline. Complete the essay and ask a teacher or professional you trust to edit the final draft.

Inspirational essays about overcoming challenges do well. School requirements may differ, but an essay should be between 600-800 words. The theme could be a story about yourself and an accomplishment you’ve recently made.

4. Ask for Recommendation Letters

Tell your references you need the final draft about a week or two before it’s due. This is a typical requirement, so try to find at least three references ahead of time. Here are some suggestions for whom to ask:

  • Former teachers
  • Employers
  • School counselors
  • Instructors
  • Local leaders

5. Consider Financial Aid

Create a spreadsheet with every college’s tuition schedule and related expenses. Include financial aid possibilities. When you’re doing this, inquire about a waiver for each application fee, but include that amount in your budgeted expenses just in case. You should also consider researching your eligibility for federal student aid.

6. Look for Scholarships

They’re out there. Find scholarships related to your background, including:

  • Location/Community
  • College
  • Major
  • Ethnic background
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Income bracket
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Sport of choice
  • Age

Websites like offer a full database of national scholarships. As a “nontraditional student,” you may qualify for more benefits. Contact the financial aid departments at your schools of choice.

GED Testing Service can provide more information about these steps to apply for college. Get started today.


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