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The GED

basinobasino Registered User regular
edited July 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I dropped out of high school before finishing the 9th grade. I'm currently 17 and working full time. Going back to high school isn't really an option so I've been looking at the GED test in order to get myself into college. I have been reading this book to prepare myself for the test: http://www.amazon.com/McGraw-Hills-GED-CD-ROM-Mcgraw-Hills/dp/0071451994/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-2096683-9183925?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184098477&sr=8-1
Although I'm finding that I know almost everything the book teaches already.
I'm looking for advice on taking this test, any alternatives that are worth considering, and also what my next steps should be to get into college after I pass the test. I reside in Brooklyn, NY if that is relevant.

basino on

Posts

  • LiveWireLiveWire Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    What do you want to go to college for? With an 8th grade education, you've got a long and expensive road ahead until you can get a college degree. I think you would be much better suited to learning some type of trade.

    LiveWire on
  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Yeah I hate to agree with livewire (IT BURNS OH IT BURNS) but if you have any kind of ability with your hands, being a plumber, electrician, construction guy in general could be better suited to you. Hell I'd recommend most young people not locked in to getting a degree to go that route, tradeskill positions are in high demand and limited supply.

    Preacher on
    I would like some money because these are artisanal nuggets of wisdom philistine.

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  • LiveWireLiveWire Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Just to be clear, Preacher is referring to an ethical disagreement we had in D&D, nothing to do with advice I have given in the past.

    LiveWire on
  • RhinoRhino TheRhinLOL Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Tradeskills are good, you can get good money from that; but I would still suggest a GED. Some educational centers give out free books that help you study for it and for the most part the test is fairly easy. Call the place that your going to take it at and ask them for some study material, they probably have some. For the most part the test is easy; it's very basic stuff.

    Also most colleges you can get in with a GED, just say that A) your 100% finically independent [from your parents and others] and B) you want to apply as an adult student. Most colleges will let you in with that. If not, most community colleges will take you for 2 years and then transfer to a bigger school.

    I've gotten into 3 different colleges (one was community, one was a major U and third was a private school). All you have to do is claim independence and that you are an adult student and they usually let you in. You still have to take the tests to see where you place though.

    Rhino on
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  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Yeah it was a joke throwaway not to say his advice is particularly poor or anything. I always recommend tradeskills, and any children I have I will try and sway that way. Christ look at the ghost hunters dudes to see where the big money is, those guys have like 8 kids amongst them and still take trips all over with expensive shit.

    Preacher on
    I would like some money because these are artisanal nuggets of wisdom philistine.

    pleasepaypreacher.net
  • basinobasino Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Don't tradeskills also require a high school diploma? If they do, I don't see why I would go to plumbing school or whatever as opposed to regular college. From what I understand, tradeskills while making solid salary don't really compare to most post college careers.

    basino on
  • GlaealGlaeal Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    That book should be fine. If you believe you can pass the GED and get a good score on your SAT, you should be able to get into a decent college and get a degree. You obviously won't be able to get into an Ivy League school or some of the more selective schools, but your average state school will let you in. You will need a higher score on your SAT to balance out the GED.

    If you have problems getting into a state school, go to a community college for a year or two and try to transfer. Most community colleges have deals with state schools to transfer credits.

    Just get the GED, regardless of your future plans. At the very least you'll have the satisfaction of getting it done.

    Glaeal on
  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    basino wrote: »
    Don't tradeskills also require a high school diploma? If they do, I don't see why I would go to plumbing school or whatever as opposed to regular college. From what I understand, tradeskills while making solid salary don't really compare to most post college careers.


    Well the GED is a good thing to get regardless of career. And Tradeskills make similar if not better money then post college careers (unions, demand play a big part) not to mention you go to plumber school (which is more apprenticeship last I heard) soon as you are done you are a plumber and can start making good money, where as a college degree doesn't always guarentee big post college money. And there is the added benefit of not as much if any debt after becoming a tradeskiller.

    Preacher on
    I would like some money because these are artisanal nuggets of wisdom philistine.

    pleasepaypreacher.net
  • FirstComradeStalinFirstComradeStalin Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    The GED test, from what I hear, is incredibly easy. The fact that you are using the internet and posting on these forums pretty much means that you can walk in without studying and pass with flying colors. There's not really much incentive not to take it.

    And while a tradeskill may be good for you, it's still not the only route. If you know what you want to do and it requires a college education, go to college. No knock against tradeskills (and I don't want this to become the "is college necessary?" D&D thread), but degree-requiring jobs tend to have more room for advancement even if the starting salaries aren't as attractive, and will probably be better for you in the long run. You're young, you have time, if money is tight consider just being a part-time student and graduating in about ~6 years instead of a full-time 4 (which could leave you with a good amount of debt). Maybe join the army and then go to college if you think you'd be cut out for that.

    FirstComradeStalin on
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  • GlaealGlaeal Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    If it's been a few years since you taken math classes, you may have a little difficulty remembering it. The GED was very easy, but I can see how some of the stuff you haven't used in a while could blindside you. If you're good with that study guide, it should not be a problem. The SAT, on the other hand, is something you want to study very hard for. If you left school before 9th grade, I doubt you got any of the math you'll need for it, and the SAT is pretty much required if you're trying to get into college with a GED.

    Glaeal on
  • Re: nholderRe: nholder Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Get the GED.

    That book would be fine, but as a person who dropped out and took the GED right away I can tell you it's pretty damn easy. The only challenge, like every test, is psyching yourself out. Study up, man up, and get it done. It will save you alot of headaches later in life and get you into a good college (with a good ACT/SAT score of course).

    The first step to anything in your career is the GED, no matter what you choose. Trade school or not, the GED is not even a choice.

    Otherwise, the test I took was set up like this (if you don't know):

    - Math
    - Science
    - Writing
    - Reading
    - History
    - "Bonus"

    I finished all of them in three days total, but you can schedule for it to take up to two weeks.

    The bonus they offered to me was an essay on the topic of their choice, and added to the overall Writing score. I'm not sure of the word/page requirement, but I know I filled about 2 1/2 pages, which is more than enough.

    Good luck.

    Re: nholder on
  • basinobasino Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Thanks for all the advice so far guys. I'm going to sign up for the test asap. I was holding out after hearing that it was "more difficult than any test you'll take in high school" but if it really is a push over I won't have a problem.

    Now, how should I go about studying for the SAT? I heard some colleges offer training courses. I consider myself fairly intelligent but I definitely need to brush up on the more advanced math and science.

    basino on
  • IreneDAdlerIreneDAdler Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Since you won't have any high school transcripts or any academic achievements (awards, Honor Society, etc), getting into a good school would probably be hard, and getting financial aid would probably be even harder. Like someone just said, it will be a costly process. On the other hand, I think getting a college education could be vastly beneficial to you, because it'll enrich your mind and possibly help you realize what you really want to do in life (that's not always the case, though). So let me break it down like this:

    1) You know what you want to do and it requires a college degree -- Obviously, you make the financial commitment and go to college. Even though it's going to be expensive, it'll be worth it to further your career.

    2) You know what you want to do and it doesn't require a college degree -- Then it's probably not worth going to college.

    3) You don't know what you want to do -- I would probably still lean towards going to college at this point, but it's a far riskier proposition, because you might just come through the other end with no better idea of what you want to do, and be saddled with debt. I would probably go to some career counseling center and investigate options at this point. Do your interests make you more disposed to careers that would be better pursued through college or trade school?

    In the end, I think it's better to try to figure out what would be best for your future happiness, monetary costs notwithstanding. If you pursue a career that is lucrative but makes you miserable, that just isn't worth it. You're probably still a little young to have a good idea of what you want to do, unless your job gave you a good idea, so you should get a better education, be exposed to more stuff. My career interests have definitely changed as a result of going to college, so I think going to college is not only a good way to advance your career, it will also help you pick a career that you will really enjoy. Though, again, if you already know what kind of career you want, that's moot :)

    Edit: Re: SATs
    If you want to get into college, definitely take the SATs. You might not need to take some fancy courses for taking the test. The test itself doesn't cover a whole lot of knowledge -- you might need to study some vocabulary, maybe learn a few math theorems, but that's about it. What those courses really teach you is how to take the test; stupid things like, "Don't guess at the answer unless you can eliminated at least two of the choices." Just get some study guides and practice tests. Most test guides have practice tests that you can then score yourself to see what score you would have gotten if it had been a real test. That's a pretty reliable gauge of how well you'd do on the real thing. And look at what the colleges want. Most places require you to take additional tests, like SAT II Writing or SAT II Math, especially if you want to get into certain programs.

    IreneDAdler on
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  • basinobasino Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Since you won't have any high school transcripts or any academic achievements (awards, Honor Society, etc), getting into a good school would probably be hard, and getting financial aid would probably be even harder. Like someone just said, it will be a costly process. On the other hand, I think getting a college education could be vastly beneficial to you, because it'll enrich your mind and possibly help you realize what you really want to do in life (that's not always the case, though). So let me break it down like this:

    1) You know what you want to do and it requires a college degree -- Obviously, you make the financial commitment and go to college. Even though it's going to be expensive, it'll be worth it to further your career.

    2) You know what you want to do and it doesn't require a college degree -- Then it's probably not worth going to college.

    3) You don't know what you want to do -- I would probably still lean towards going to college at this point, but it's a far riskier proposition, because you might just come through the other end with no better idea of what you want to do, and be saddled with debt. I would probably go to some career counseling center and investigate options at this point. Do your interests make you more disposed to careers that would be better pursued through college or trade school?

    In the end, I think it's better to try to figure out what would be best for your future happiness, monetary costs notwithstanding. If you pursue a career that is lucrative but makes you miserable, that just isn't worth it. You're probably still a little young to have a good idea of what you want to do, unless your job gave you a good idea, so you should get a better education, be exposed to more stuff. My career interests have definitely changed as a result of going to college, so I think going to college is not only a good way to advance your career, it will also help you pick a career that you will really enjoy. Though, again, if you already know what kind of career you want, that's moot :)

    Edit: Re: SATs
    If you want to get into college, definitely take the SATs. You might not need to take some fancy courses for taking the test. The test itself doesn't cover a whole lot of knowledge -- you might need to study some vocabulary, maybe learn a few math theorems, but that's about it. What those courses really teach you is how to take the test; stupid things like, "Don't guess at the answer unless you can eliminated at least two of the choices." Just get some study guides and practice tests. Most test guides have practice tests that you can then score yourself to see what score you would have gotten if it had been a real test. That's a pretty reliable gauge of how well you'd do on the real thing. And look at what the colleges want. Most places require you to take additional tests, like SAT II Writing or SAT II Math, especially if you want to get into certain programs.

    Honestly, I don't know exactly why I would go to college. Society puts this pressure on us about needing a degree to get any decent job. At this point all I know is that being a waiter or something like that isn't gonna cut it and that I need to do "something".

    basino on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    basino wrote: »
    Honestly, I don't know exactly why I would go to college. Society puts this pressure on us about needing a degree to get any decent job. At this point all I know is that being a waiter or something like that isn't gonna cut it and that I need to do "something".

    Well, step one is obviously getting your GED. As others have mentioned the test probably shouldn't be terribly difficult, provided you put a little preparation into it. I'd not be surprised if your local library had some resources available for you.

    Anyway, if you're looking towards college the next step may be the SAT/ACT. I took the SAT, I'm honestly not well versed in the difference. Though really you can get into community college in most areas without either, and instead take a placement exam at the community college you're looking to go to.

    But the fact that you don't know exactly what you want to do, and that you're only 17, makes me hesitant to recommend college at this point to you. Not that you shouldn't go eventually (I think pretty much everybody who is able should go eventually) but where you are right now I'm thinking it's likely you'll end up wasting a little bit of time and possibly quite a bit of money. I didn't start college until I was 23, there's no rush really.
    Maybe join the army and then go to college if you think you'd be cut out for that.

    This is the route I would suggest (and the route I took). Maybe not Army so much (my branch) due to current deployment tempo and danger level...but you might consider at least looking into the Navy or Air Force. They're going to want a longer commitment (if they'll even take you with a GED...they only take limited numbers) but you'll thank yourself later. Talk to a recruiter and be persistent; unless they straight-up tell you you're never getting in (and why) there's a good chance you can get in later. I'll not go too much further on this now, since you've not expressed any prior interest in the military...but I'll say that if you've ever felt at all called to serve it's a good deal. You'll have a steady paycheck, a place to live, and when you get done you'll have quite a bit of money to pay for college.

    Avoid the Guard/Reserves though. I'll avoid a lengthy explanation on that one as well unless you ask for it. Basically if you decide you want to go the military route there have been several threads on this in the past that you can read over, and/or feel free to start a new one. There are quite a few past/present servicemembers around here who will be more than happy to give you the good, bad, and ugly on the concept.

    mcdermott on
  • CangoFettCangoFett Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    As far as the test itself goes, its not that hard. if you arent learning anything from the book, you're probably good to go. Try to find a practice test, its about 45 minutes long.

    On the practice I got like

    Math:800
    Science:800
    Social:700
    English:675

    and on the GED I got like
    Math:725
    Science:725
    Social:700
    English:700

    You need a 400 to pass, 800 is a perfect score.

    If you were still in HS, looking at a GED, Id tell you not to drop out. But since that isnt the case, go for it

    Worst case scenario, you wasted like, what, 50 bucks, and one saturday, taking a test?

    CangoFett on
  • Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    The GED was upsettingly easy when I did it. Apparently they made it harder (in MD) since then, but goddamn. When I took it, I was kicking myself for not having dropped out sooner. I could've easily passed it at 14.

    Vincent Grayson on
  • basinobasino Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    So now I found out that I will be required to enroll in an alternative high school program before I can take the GED. Anyone familiar with those?

    basino on
  • RhinoRhino TheRhinLOL Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    basino wrote: »
    So now I found out that I will be required to enroll in an alternative high school program before I can take the GED. Anyone familiar with those?


    I went to one for a few months. Basically it was taught by some big hippy that (and I shit you not) let us do school work if we 'felt like it', because he thought stress and forced learning was upsetting the comsic balance of our culture (or something. No one had a clue what the dude was talking about.).

    All the kids just ended up going out for smoke break in the back and getting really stoned then leaving after the "state oppressive" (his words) 3 hour min-requirement.

    The good thing about it though, is they just had all the books and study material for all the classes (that the public schools had) so you could go, check out a book, cram it and then ace the entire classes within 1-2 hours for the easy classes (just opt out with the test) or a few weeks with the harder ones.

    Depending of course; on ones own motivation since it was very "free formed" and "open" learning environment. Some of the kids went there for 4 years and never got a single class done. So it was very self-driven.

    Actually it was pretty good, I liked it; they let me read anything I wanted and it was only three hours. Most of the other kids just got stoned and drew pot leafs on their note books and complained about how much it sucked. It was way better then public school!

    Rhino on
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  • PirateJonPirateJon Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    basino wrote: »
    So now I found out that I will be required to enroll in an alternative high school program before I can take the GED. Anyone familiar with those?

    I was told similar stuff but in my state it turned out that it was just "GED prep course" which is laughably simple bullshit so I refused to attend and demanded to take the GED right away. There was some minor drama, but they let me do that. I passed the test in about an hour and with a near perfect score - which speaks to how easy the test is, not to my super smarts. So double check you really do have to take this course.


    data point for you: I dropped out of school in 10th grade, got my "Good Enough Diploma", dicked around for a while, and I'm now in a networking job that "requires" a 4 or 6 year I.S. degree and I'm making near 6 figures. So anyone that tells you a degree is the only way to get a "decent" job is full of shit.

    PirateJon on
    all perfectionists are mediocre in their own eyes
  • Butterfly4uButterfly4u Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Having a GED will affect which college you can get into. You will probably have to go to a junior college for two years or at least a semester before you can get into a state university or private university. On the bright side junior colleges are a lot cheaper.

    Butterfly4u on
    Butterfly
  • RhinoRhino TheRhinLOL Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Also as other as said the GED is fairly easy, but you also have to take a "Constitutional test" which is hard if you don't know much about American history. Most everything you need to know on that test can be found by reading the "Fun Facts" on a Denny's menu, but would advise to study for that if they are still requiring it.

    Rhino on
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  • AdrienAdrien Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    PirateJon wrote: »
    basino wrote: »
    So now I found out that I will be required to enroll in an alternative high school program before I can take the GED. Anyone familiar with those?

    I was told similar stuff but in my state it turned out that it was just "GED prep course" which is laughably simple bullshit so I refused to attend and demanded to take the GED right away. There was some minor drama, but they let me do that. I passed the test in about an hour and with a near perfect score - which speaks to how easy the test is, not to my super smarts.

    I'll second this. It probably varies somewhat, but the GED was the easiest standardized test I've ever taken, bar none. I didn't study at all, just walked in and aced it.

    But then, I am super smart, so YMMV.

    Adrien on
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  • Butterfly4uButterfly4u Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I took the Constitution test in 8th grade. It was super easy, but that was after the teacher had pounded the facts into our heads for two months straight. Just know the preamble to the constitution by heart, know the bill of rights, who drafted the constitution, and when it was drafted and signed. It was drafted on the 2nd by Thomas Jefferson but wasn't signed by everyone until July 4th 1776. We had to get at least a 95% on the test inorder to pass the 8th grade. I doubt it will be that hard to pass for the GED test.

    Butterfly4u on
    Butterfly
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