what will be required for college is important; by taking the
right courses and examinations from the beginning of high school,
you may avoid college admission problems later on. In order
to improve your chances of being admitted to a college of your
choice, you should take a solid high school curriculum and perform
well, become active in your school and community, prepare for
and do well on standardize tests, and pursue extracurricular
In addition, students who do not prepare academically
in high school, if admitted for college, may be required to
take remedial courses. Most colleges do not offer credit for
remedial courses, and students may have to pay for these extra
courses and spend extra time in college to earn their degrees.
avoid possible admission problems, select a topic below to
to ask guidance counselors.
Courses Recommended for College-Bound Students.
School Courses Recommended for College.
Sure That All Courses Meet High Standards.
to prepare for college outside the classroom.
to ask guidance counselors.
basic academic courses do they recommend for students
who want to go to college?
many years of each academic subject does the high school
require for graduation?
elective courses do they recommend for college-bound students?
does a student go about completing recommended courses
before graduating from high school?
students who are considering college get special help
activities can students do at home and over the summers
to strengthen their preparation for college?
much homework is expected of students preparing for college?
kinds of high school grades do different colleges require?
Take Courses Recommended for College-Bound Students.
To prepare for college, there is no substitute for getting
a solid and broad academic education. This means you should
take challenging courses in academic subjects and maintain
good grades in high school. Your transcript will be an important
part of the college application process.
A college education builds on the knowledge and skills acquired
in earlier years. It is best for you to start planning a high
school course schedule early, in the seventh or eighth grade.
Students who don't plan ahead may have difficulty completing
all the required or recommended courses that will help them
qualify for college.
Most selective colleges (those with the highest admissions
requirements) prefer to admit students who have taken courses
in certain subject areas. For example, many colleges prefer
that high school students take at least geometry and trigonometry,
rather than only general math and algebra. Basic computer
skills are now essential, and some colleges prefer three or
four years of a foreign language. Your guidance counselor
can help you and your parent(s) determine the high school
courses required or preferred by different types of colleges.
If you are interested in specific colleges, you should contact
those schools and ask about their admissions requirements.
Many high schools offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses and
exams. AP courses are college-level courses in approximately
16 different subjects; they help students prepare for college-level
work while they are still in high school. Students who take
AP courses are often more prepared for the academic challenges
presented in college. In addition, a student who takes an
AP course, and who scores a grade of 3 or higher on an AP
exam, can often receive advanced placement in college and/or
credit for a college course. However, not all colleges and
universities give credit or advanced placement for earning
a grade of 3 or higher on an AP exam. Write to the admissions
office of the colleges that you are interested in attending
to find out if they give credit for an AP exam grade of 3
or higher. Ask to obtain the college's AP policy in writing,
or look for a discussion of the policy in the institution's
Credit: Preparing Your Child For College: 2000 Edition published
by The U.S. Department of Education