What Are the Different Types of College Prerequisites?
College prerequisites include admission prerequisites, academic program prerequisites, and graduation prerequisites. These requirements could vary substantially depending on the degree program, the college, and possibly even the previous institution the individual is coming from, if applicable. Students should check with their schools to determine what may be required for the school and programs of their choice.
Concerning admissions, college prerequisites often include some basic requirements. Typically, students will need three to four years of language arts, with focus generally in the native language of the student. Many colleges also require at least two years of a foreign language, but not all do. Three years of science, three years of social studies, and two years of electives are also very common minimum requirements.
Three or four years of math will also likely be a requirement. The college prerequisites in math generally also require math at a minimum skill level. For example, many colleges may require at least an introductory algebra course, but usually two years of algebra are needed. In addition, a year of geometry is also a requirement. While it may not be required, many colleges recommend students in high school take the highest math courses their high schools offer.
In addition to these requirements, college prerequisites also will likely include taking a standardized exam, such as the ACT or SAT. The minimum acceptable scores for these tests often vary by year and by institution, with the determining factors often coming down to how other applicants have performed. Therefore, there is no set benchmark that a school uses to qualify a student for admission, but taking the tests, or at least one of them, is usually a requirement for those coming out of high school.
Once in college, many students will elect for a certain field or program of study. For example, to get into a pre-medical program, the student may need a certain grade and certain number of courses in areas such as biology and chemistry, among others. These prerequisites vary greatly by degree or program choice. In some cases, only basic science courses, or math courses, may be required. In other cases, students will need many hours in these courses to qualify for a college program.
Lastly, students will need certain prerequisites to graduate from college. College prerequisites for graduation often include having a minimum number of hours of study, generally approximately 120 credit hours for an undergraduate degree. In addition, to get an endorsement or degree in a particular field, a minimum number of those credit hours will need to come from specific areas. For example, an engineering student will need a certain number of those 120 hours to come from engineering courses.
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