Studying Criminal Justice With a GED
For students who did not receive a high school diploma, earning a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) can be the first step in getting an associates or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Students should research two and four year colleges that offer criminal justice programs and review the enrollment requirements. If the school of choice will not accept a GED as part of the school’s enrollment requirements, applicants can appeal to the admissions committee, enroll in a college as a non-degree student or enroll in a school that accepts the GED and transfer to a desired school after establishing one’s self as a successful student.
Appeal to the Committee
If the criminal justice program is at a school that does not recognize a GED as meeting the admission requirement, the applicant can ask if the school has a Faculty Student Senate Committee that reviews applications. The process may require a copy of the GED test scores, high school transcripts, letters of recommendation and a statement explaining why the applicant believes that they will be successful in the program. The applicant may have to explain the circumstances which led to taking the GED rather than completing high school. The committee reviews all information presented before determining if the applicant has a potential for success.
Take Classes Before Applying to the Criminal Justice Program
Some colleges accept non-degree (non-matriculating) students. These schools will allow students to take classes prior to enrolling as a matriculating students. The opportunity can be used to complete general education courses in mathematics, writing, humanities and lower level criminal justice electives. Use the time to work hard and maintain an acceptable grade point average (GPA), usually 2.5 or higher. A good GPA along with letters of recommendation from professors can be helpful when applying to be considered as a matriculating criminal justice student.
Apply to a Two Year College
Two year colleges often accept a GED when considering prospective students. It may be that an associate’s degree will be all that is required to begin a career in criminal justice, but the ultimate goal is a bachelor’s degree. Meet with the department chairperson of the criminal justice department at the four year school. Discuss goals and express a desire to enroll in the program. Consider their advice and direction when registering for lower division classes in the two year college. After successfully completing the two year degree, or a portion of the program, apply to transfer to the four year college. It is important to research the accreditation of all schools to ensure that credits will be transferred. Meet with counselors and read the school’s catalog carefully to ensure that the necessary prerequisites are completed and to eliminate the expense of paying for course that cannot be transferred.
For students who have earned their GED and want to begin a career in criminal justice, there are opportunities for a college education. Research the website of colleges for enrollment equirements. For additional information the Department of Education has a link for non-traditional student resources.