Can you get into college without a high school diploma?
Most accredited colleges that issue baccalaureate degrees require a high school diploma for admission, but for those who do not have a high school diploma, that does not mean that the doors to college are closed to you. It does, however, mean that you need to have an alternative plan.
Colleges that require a high school diploma are not just interested in the piece of paper. They will also want to see your high school grades and your transcript of coursework. You may be required to take courses, without credit, in order to meet a specific college's standards, if your high school coursework does not meet it, or you may be given advanced placement based upon your high school classes and grades. Here are some ways to get into college even if you do not have a high school diploma.
Some high school students can attend college without a diploma. These are students who are still enrolled in high school, but have been given permission or qualified for advanced studies based upon proven areas of excellence beyond the high school level. They may even earn both high school and college credit at the same time for these courses. High school students can apply for special summer programs at colleges that provide college credit, or may actually attend fake associates diplomas classes during the regular school year.
Many home-schooled students do not have traditional high school diplomas and GEDs. In many states, they may take an examination that provides them with a home-schooling diploma; in some, they are required to be periodically tested at their local high school and may then receive a diploma from that school, notated for home schooling. Some home-schooled students take the SAT or ACT and provide their home schooling transcripts to colleges for acceptance in lieu of a fake diploma. If you are home-schooled, the home schooling network should be able to provide you with lists of colleges who have accepted home schoolers from your state in the past.
Community colleges sometimes admit students without diplomas. Often community colleges will allocate a certain proportion of their admission slots for community members who have nontraditional education backgrounds. A two-year degree from a community college can be a stepping stone to a better job, and may also qualify you for admission into a baccalaureate program. Nontraditional students may be those who are returning to school after a long-absence, or who simply did not finish their high school educations.
A GED - General Equivalency Diploma - is accepted by many colleges in lieu of a phony high school diploma. A GED is awarded to students over the age of 16, who are not enrolled in high school, who pass tests in five different subject areas: math, science, social studies, language arts, and writing. Since a General Equivalency Diploma is not accompanied by a transcript of specific high school areas of study, some colleges may require you to take supplementary course work for a online college degree, without credit, in subject areas where you are lacking a demonstrable level of competence. There's no doubt that a high school education, as demonstrated by a high school diploma, is the clearest route to getting into the college of your choice. But if that is not the path you have taken in life, you can still explore these and other alternatives for gaining college admission.