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A question about college and RNs who got their GED.

LeeyuhRae LeeyuhRae (New) New

Hello! Before I go on, I apologize in advance for so much text. I'm a very detailed person, haha. I also apologize if this is in the wrong section.

Anyway! I'm 17 years old and I recently got my GED and I'm trying to get into college now to become an RN. I was moved between schools a lot 5th-8th grade and therefore didn't learn much, and in the first month of 9th grade I was forced by my parents and school to drop out. I'm a VERY dedicated and smart person, though, and within a month of attending a GED I was able to get my GED with a higher average than my teachers had ever seen (and these were elderly teachers who had been teaching a long time). I am POSITIVE I want to become a RN. I'm not worried about not being able to pass school, I know I can because like I said- I'm very smart and dedicated. What I'm worried about is getting in to school and knowing what steps to take (if that makes any sense, haha).

I've tried to understand the whole process of college and medical school, but nobody in my family and none of my friends have gone to college so I really don't have anybody to advise me. Honestly all I know are the basics, so I really don't know HOW to get into a college that's right for me and my plans. I know it sounds stupid for me not to know, but I don't and that's why I'm here. I want to succeed and I want to know everything there is to know in order to achieve my goal.

So a few questions:

-What's the whole process of getting your BSN, from getting your high school diploma (in this case, GED) to actually having your BSN?

-For nurses who got their GED: Did you having your GED and not a high school diploma effect your ability to get into colleges?

-If you attended/are attending an out of state college for school, how did you decide which college to go to?

I know I DON'T want to stay in my state for school, mainly because EVERY school here is an extreme party school, even the 'smart schools' and I'm NOT into that. I also would like to experience a new area. But I don't want to spend money to go and visit every school I have in mind without knowing if I can even attend it yet. But I also don't want to apply, find out, and then visit the school and possibly realize I don't like the atmosphere and don't want to go there. How did you decide?

I think for the time being that's all the questions I have. I'm sure I'll think of more later. I'm sorry if I'm not making sense in this thread, if I wasn't clear on something just let me know. :) Thank you all so much! I love this forum, and I'm so thankful to have found a place where I can find out so much information!


Specializes in Home health.

I'm not sure about the GED portion, but for most school you have to take either ACT, SAT and for some schools both. You may also have to take the school's placement exams. Generally BSN programs are 4 years ( a year of prerequisite classes, then 3 years of actual nursing course. Most schools have a website where you can see their requirements/ costs/ etc. If you take longer to complete pre- requisites it will take longer to complete your degree. Most nursing schools you have to apply to the actual nursing program after finishing pre- req's, if the school has a long waiting list, that could affect the time it tkes as well. Also, going to school out of state can be extremely expensive with the non- resident surcharges. Some schools will waive that fee if you go to a surrounding state. For example an Ohio resident can go to Michigan State and request for a fee waiver. You will have to see if that will apply in your case. Sorry I can't help with the GED portion, but I hope this helps some.


Specializes in acute/critical care. Has 11 years experience.

God bless you, Leeyuh. You sound like you have been through a lot in your young life.

The bare-bones basics -- a BSN is a 4-year college degree. Most if not all BSN programs require you to do one to two years of general college courses and prerequisites and keep your grades up, and at that point there is another application to get into nursing school.

I cannot speak to how a GED plays into getting into nursing school specifically. It may impact your ability to get into college in general. I would recommend calling schools that you intend on applying to and finding out what their requirements are and what their admission statistics are for GED applicants. If you don't know this already, you will likely need to take the ACT or SAT to get into a 4-year college. If 4-year colleges won't take a GED, community colleges will, and there really is no issue with taking two years of prerequisites at a CC and then transferring to a 4-year school.

Choosing a college is another complex decision and without knowing more specifics, I don't feel like I can give you advice. I would definitely look at cost and in-state/out-of-state tuition when weighing your options, however.

I knew somebody who didn't go to high school and subsequently got a GED. She had a problem getting considered for two or three nursing schools although she graduated from a two year college cum laude and completed nursing prerequisite courses with a very high average. You may have a problem like she did. In that case, move around until you find a school that doesn't give you grief over your GED. Concentrate on completing nursing prerequisite courses at your nearest community college with the highest grades you can. Then apply to all of the nearby nursing programs and go with the one that accepts you, or accepts you first, or that offers you the best program for your needs. Good luck.

It depends on how much work you got done with your GED. For me it wasn't a difference at all but that is because I had three years of english, three years of math, two years of science and history from HS. I pretty much had most of my classes for my HS diploma. I also took the SAT so I had no problem getting accepted. For the schools in my area only accepted GED applicants that got over a 3100 which is considered to be like getting a 85 in high school.

Your questions really need to be answered by the nursing schools at the colleges you are interested in.

Grab a pen and paper and start calling each school as you will find different

schools may have different requirements.

Best wishes! For what its worth, the person with the highest GPA in my graduating nursing class was barely 20, a single mom and had a GED.

Little Panda RN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Assisted Living Nurse Manager.

I recieved my GED way back in 1979 (I am showing my age here:) and I am now a RN. I attended a community college for my AS degree and they did not have a problem with me having a GED and not a HS diploma. I am transferring to a 4 year college for my BSN with no problems.

You will just have to apply and find out. Good luck to you!!!

I never graduated from high school, don't have a GED, and have earned two college degrees, a BA and a BSN. In California (where most public schools are a joke) we have a high school equivalency exam that I took when I was fifteen. I started at a junior college when I was sixteen.

I would recommend getting started at a 2 year community college, then transferring to a 4 year school as a junior. It is way less competitive to get into a 4 year college as a transferring junior, especially if you do really well those first two years in CC. Plus, you will save a lot of money and have opportunities to experiment with different classes and fields. Once you have a college transcript, universities will not even look at your high school transcript.

I have my two college degrees framed next to my framed High School Proficiency Certificate. High school was a complete waste of time for me. Every class you take in high school can be taken at a junior college.

Best of luck to you!!

First of all you are not stupid, hardly any person at age 17 REALLY knew what they were doing (even if you think/thought you did)

I got my GED, and actually was in the same boat as you, I moved around all the time (not military btw) and I just hated high school because it was either too easy or too hard, or whatever the reason. You should be able to say "I moved around a lot and because of the constant harsh change in ciricullum (Sp?) I preformed badly" or something of that nature. SINCE you passed your GED recently it would be a great time to take your entrance exams (SAT, ACT, whatever the college requires) because the info is fresh in your mind, but should still get a study guide and work through it because there is a difference in the exams.

You should, find out exactly what classes you have to have for the RN program you wish to attend (or find a list of the common basics you need nursing school) and then sign up for those classes, you can do this on campus, online, or both. Most likely you will not be able to get into an RN program for at least a year (maybe a year and a half) most programs start taking apps months ahead of time (most that I know of start in August some start mid year) Then you must find out what nursing entrance test required for entry, then get a guide and study for that test or study for several because they are not the same at each school. Try to get the best grades possible because most schools go by your gpa and your test results for entry. You will also need to get your CPR from the AHA (heath care professionals I believe is the kind of AHA crt) and provide your shot records and there should be a list of which ones are required these make you look better if you have the prior to application, but some schools do not require them until clinicals.

Hope this helps, Good luck. Believe in yourself and you will go father, work hard and BTW most people that get drunk or party a lot in nursing school, fail and don't even make it past the first semester so don't worry about being around bad influences just don't let them influence you! And if you can stay at home and just focus on your studies and not work, that would probably be better because RN school requires a lot of studying on top of common sense.

czyja, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, Progressive Care.

I've tried to understand the whole process of college and medical school, but nobody in my family and none of my friends have gone to college so I really don't have anybody to advise me. Honestly all I know are the basics, so I really don't know HOW to get into a college that's right for me and my plans. I know it sounds stupid for me not to know, but I don't and that's why I'm here.

It not stupid at all. We are glad to here. In fact, the very fact that you are here, asking these questions suggests that you are going to make one amazing nurse!

I very much reccomend that you talk to your local community college or 4 year nursing schoo. Schools in California actively try to recruit people who have overcome difficult backgrounds.

Believe, and you will make it.


Here is a small list of a few successful people that have their GED. A previous poster said that some colleges may not take your GED (in so many words lol) they may be right, BUT you can always find a stepping stone. FIRST find out what classes you must take, then find a college that will take your GED for sure, and then before you apply find out if the college of your choice (maybe a state college) will transfer credits from that college.

Seriously though, don't ever a day in your life think you are any less of a person for getting your GED. I am sure there are a lot people with their HSDs that could not pass the GED. It's not an easy test and as you said you did well, so that also counts for something. So even if the state school you'd like to go to doesn't take your GED originally I bet you they will after you have shown the how smart you are in your college classes.


Specializes in neuro/ortho med surge 4.

I graduated from the eight grade and never made it past the ninth. I got my GED at 17. I went to a community college at 22 and graduated with mostly A's. A community college does not require SAT's and is the cheapest way to get a degree and build up good grades to get into a 4 year college. I went straight to a four year college and received a BAchelors degree in business. That was in 1993. I earned an associates degree in nursing from a community college in 2008. A GED never hindered me in any way. If I had applied to 4 year schools with a GED I believe I would have a hard time getting in.

I would apply to community colleges and take nursing prerequisites and do really well on those. Nursing school looks to see how many pre reqs you have done and what greades you received in them to see if you will be able to handle the nursing classes. Working as an aide will also help you get into school and let you experience first had the flow of a hospital. The key to nursing school is perserverance and dedication.

Go for it. You can do this.

I got my GED in 2003 when my family moved to the US. I attended about four different state colleges to get my prereqs done and none of them ever had a problem with admitting me.

I'm so sorry for reply to you all so late! I've tried to type my response 3 times, but for some reason my laptop finds it funny to randomly shut off each time! haha.

Thank you all SO MUCH for all of this knowledge! I feel MUCH MORE confident in my plans now that I actually know what I need to do! I'm very serious about my goals, but not knowing what to do to get where I want to be can be very stressful and overwhelming. For now I'll focus on studying and taking the ACT's and SAT's. I was originally planning to go to a community college and transferring to a 4 year university afterward, but I wasn't sure what I should be studying there or how long to expect to be there, so y'all have helped quite a bit with that, and I think I'll do that route! :) I'm so happy to see that other RN's have come from this path or similar and have succeeded. It's great to know that hard work does pay off, no matter what kind of past you come from! Thank you all so much! God bless!


@opensesame: Thank you very much. I would be lying if I were to say that I haven't had it rough so far, but I'm far from the victim of the circumstance! :) Where I've lacked in a 'proper upbringing' I've been blessed beyond words by being able to see how God is working day by day in my life. He has crafted my life in a perfect imperfection to glorify Him in all areas of my life at any given moment! Thank you for your help, God bless!

@MySonIsAdorable: Thank you! I've had some bad experiences when I've tried to ask for help in the past, which is why I was so worried about sounding stupid haha. I was afraid to say something TOO dumb and be criticized that I won't make a good nurse. I'm so happy that you all were able to understand where I was coming from, though! :) I didn't move around a lot being of the army either.. my family became very unstable after my dad's drug addiction began after my parents divorce. So I switched schools a lot moving between family members. I'm not very worried about bad influences.. I'm not exactly the leader but I'm far from the follower. I pick my associations carefully. I mainly meant the noise, LOL

@czyja: Thank you SO MUCH!! That really means a lot to me. I hope I make a good nurse. I don't expect it to be an easy job, but I know it'll be worth it. Thank you very much! :)

God bless you all! Thank you all so so much! I know I've said that so many times already, but once more won't kill y'all :p

I agree with the previous posters about going to a community college first and then transferring to a university.

I moved to the United States in 1994 from a different country. At the time it was roughly $200-$300 to get my transcript translated and it cost $65 to receive a GED. I opted for my GED. I attended a community college and received my Associates in Arts Degree. I then joined the military as a reservist because they were offering an LPN program for free and all I had to do was attend basic training and subsequently an EMT program followed by the LPN program. Afterwards, I applied to a 4 year university and finished my BSN with a 3.85 GPA.

You can definitely make it. A strong will and determination can take you in the direction you want to go.


Specializes in Emergency, Cath Lab.

I dropped out of 10th grade and got my GED. I am currently an Emergency Department RN.

Alot of the 4 year BSN programs will not accept you because you cannot meet their admission requirements. However, I went the community college route for my Associates, RN and than transfered to an RN-BSN program without difficulty.

For entrance to a community college, the ONLY requirements are that you have completed your GED. You will have to take an entrance exam so they know what level to place you for math, reading etc. Complete the nursing program pre-reqs and than you may apply for their nursing program. At my nursing school, they didnt care AT ALL if you got your GED or HS diploma. What they DID care about was your nursing pre-req GPA and entrance exam scores. I had a 4.0 GPA and decent entrance exam scores and got into the program immediately without being waitlisted.

For the RN-BSN program they require that you have a valid RN license and certain core courses that you most likely would have completed prior to getting in to nursing school such as Microbiology, Math, English etc. Their entrance critera is typically based on your nursing school GPA and instructor references only.

Please dont feel that having a GED limits you in life. You may have to take a different route to get where you want, but in no way will it prevent you from getting there. My BSN is the same as any ones elses BSN. Go for it!

You don't have to have an ACT or SAT at a community college, GED is all and their placement exam so they can help you set up your initial schedule and get you in refresher classes if needed before your regular gen ed classes. As another poster posted, it is MUCH cheaper to get prereqs. done at a CC. I graduated from high school, but I still chose to do prereqs. at a CC because they're the same classes, for much cheaper, and from my experience I had to work harder at the CC than at the university for same classes (were worth more credit hours at CC than same class at University). Here in chicago at least, to skip the need for high school transcripts you need to have 24 or more semester credit hours to not be considered a freshman college student. After that your transcripts from the CC is enough (speaking from experience, I got all my Nursing school prereqs. done at a total of 4 different CC here so I could save a ton of money). I'd go to a CC first. Hope this helps.

Thanks! All of that did help, especially the extra information about community colleges. I wasn't sure if community colleges required ACT and SAT scores as well. My only concern is not knowing what university to go to afterward. Because the way some of you have worded it, only some classes will transfer to other colleges depending on which college it is. But I'll talk to somebody at my community college and find out more information from them!

Also, I'm loving all of these success stories! haha I've always been told that 'GED is for dummies' (even from people who know the circumstances for me dropping out) and that the best I could do with a GED was flipping hamburgers.. so it's nice to know that that's far from the truth and there are other successful people who have gone that route! Thank you all so much!