These are the Courses You Need In High School to be Ready for College

While it’s tempting to take only those classes needed to graduate, a strong academic foundation improves your odds of getting into, and succeeding at, your top college. This means you should take challenging courses and maintain good grades. Although academic requirements differ from college to college, the recommended classes below are typical requirements for admission to most four-year colleges and universities:

English, Language Arts, 4 years

College requires a lot of reading, interpretation and the ability to communicate your thoughts effectively, both verbally and in writing. Prepare by taking courses in reading, composition, interpretation of literature and speaking.

Math, 3 years

Two years of algebra and one year of geometry are recommended, but entrance into specific program majors may require additional coursework such as trigonometry, calculus and/or statistics.

Science, 3 years

Biology, chemistry and physics are good college prep courses. Classes in physical or environmental science may also count toward the three-year recommendation. Some colleges may require or highly recommend a class with laboratory experience.

Social Studies, Geography, Social Science, 3 years

Social studies, world history and U.S. history classes help you gain an understanding of the world. Additional courses in economics, geography, government, sociology, psychology or anthropology can also count toward the three-year recommendation.

Foreign Language, 2–3 years

Two years of a single foreign language is recommended, although some program majors may require three years in a single language or two years each in two different languages.

Elective Courses

Elective courses allow you to explore your interests. Taking challenging programs offered at your school will help you stand out in the college application process. Classes may include computer programming, accounting, agriculture, journalism, marketing, graphic design and art-related courses in addition to others.

For more ways to prepare, attend and succeed in your education after high school, check out Iowa College Aid's "Your Course to College!"


Printed from the Iowa College Student Aid Commission website on March 19, 2018 at 12:20am.