Courses that Colleges Require
Although each college and university has the final say in admissions decisions, Michigan's public schools have agreed that students who plan to attend a four-year college must meet the following requirements:
ENGLISH (4 years required)
Take English every year. The ability to read critically and to understand what you read is essential for success in college and in most work situations. It is as important to be able to express yourself clearly as it is to understand what others have written. College courses typically require the ability to organize and present information and ideas in written form, and the most successful students are those who learn these skills while in high school. You should also develop your capacity to speak clearly and concisely and to be a good listener. Traditional courses, such as American and English literature, help you improve your writing skills, reading comprehension and vocabulary.
MATH (3 years required; 4 years strongly recommended)
You need algebra and geometry to succeed on college entrance exams, in college math classes and in most careers. Take them early on, and you'll be able to enroll in advanced science and math in high school – and you'll show colleges you're ready for higher-level work. College prep math classes include algebra, geometry, algebra II, trigonometry and calculus. Colleges and universities are putting more emphasis on math when they consider a student for admission. Recent studies show that finishing a course beyond the level of algebra II (for example, trigonometry or pre-calculus) more than doubles the odds that a student who enters post-secondary education will complete a bachelor's degree.
SCIENCE (2 years required; 3 years strongly recommended)
Our world is becoming much more complex as a result of new technology and innovations. An understanding of scientific concepts will help you deal with everyday life situations and open the doors to a number of challenging career options. Science teaches you to think analytically and apply theories to reality. Laboratory classes let you test what you've learned through hands-on work. Six semesters are recommended: two semesters in biology, two semesters in chemistry and/or physics, two semesters in earth/space sciences, advanced biology, advanced chemistry or physics.
SOCIAL STUDIES (3 years required)
As you study the social sciences, you will see how political, economic and social conditions relate to each other. Understand world events that are happening now by studying the culture and history that has shaped them. Social sciences round out your core curriculum. Take two semesters of U.S. history, one semester of U.S. government, one semester of economics, one semester of world history or geography and one additional semester in the above or other areas.
FOREIGN LANGUAGES (3 years strongly recommended)
Language is the basic means of thought and expression. By studying foreign languages you gain a better understanding of different cultures and the diversity among the peoples of the world. Foreign language study also helps you understand the structure of our own language. Many colleges require at least two years of foreign language study, and some prefer more.
THE ARTS (2 years recommended)
Research indicates that students who participate in the arts often do better in school and on standardized tests. The arts help you recognize patterns, discern differences and similarities and exercise your mind in unique ways, oftentimes outside of a traditional classroom setting.
COMPUTER LITERACY (1 year recommended)
More and more college courses and jobs require at least a basic knowledge of computers. Computer skills also can help you do research and school work better and faster.
Advanced Placement (AP®)
Try out college-level work, master valuable skills and, with satisfactory grades, maybe even receive college credit. More than 1,400 higher education institutions award credit based on satisfactory AP Exam grades. Learn more about the AP Program at https://www.collegeboard.org.
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