LORELAI: No, technically, I didn’t drop out. I, uh, I kept going as long as I could while I got pregnant, which I would recommend to any girl. Not the getting pregnant part, obviously. Um, although, uh, if that happens, um, you know. . . it shouldn’t. I mean, it could but you should try to avoid it. . . um, anyway, uh, I got my GED, yeah.
GED, the General Educational Development tests. These are tests in four different subjects which, when passed, provide certification that the test taker has US or Canadian high school level skills. The subjects are: Mathematical Reasoning, Reasoning Through Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. It is an alternative to the high school diploma. It is only ever referred to as the GED.
In Connecticut, a person is eligible to register for the GED tests once they are seventeen or older, and have officially withdrawn from school for at least six months. There is a test centre in Hartford (the Adult Education Center), and if the person is under 21, testing is free ($13 if over 21 or not a military veteran).
Lorelai says that she never officially dropped out of school, and kept up her studies as long as she could. However, her former school friend Mitzi said that she hadn’t seen Lorelai since she was seven months pregnant, suggesting Lorelai didn’t return to school for the new academic year in September 1984.
At the time, there was a high school for teen mothers in Hartford that Lorelai could have attended, but I’m sure Emily would never have permitted that (the shame! The social disgrace! Lorelai having to mix with working class girls! The horror, the horror!). Lorelai said that her “conservative high school” wouldn’t let her graduate while nursing a baby, so she doesn’t seem to have found an alternative.
Lorelai was eligible to take the GED in 1985, and it would have been easy for her to access the test when she lived in Hartford. I’m guessing she took the GED while she still lived with her parents.
By the way, Lorelai was far from unusual for being a teenage mother trying to balance motherhood and education. By the early 1990s, one quarter of all births in Hartford were to a teen mother, and in 1991, more girls in the city got pregnant than graduated high school.