Delaware – High School to College & Careers

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College and Career Readiness

Delaware adopted the Common Core State Standards to promote the skills and concepts required for college and career readiness. Beginning in 2016, a high school student must complete a 24-credit curriculum including 4 units each of English and math to graduate. Also, beginning in 2016, the SAT was identified as the state college-readiness assessment for 11th grade students. The SAT is administered to all high school juniors at no cost. Students who exceed the college and career ready benchmarks set by individual institutions of higher education (IHE) are exempt from placement testing and remediation in college. Students who choose to participate in a pilot transitional course in high school and pass with a 77 or higher are also exempt.

College and Career Planning

High School Graduation Requirements

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

Students must complete at least 24 units to earn a high school diploma. 

Subject

Credits

Required Courses

Qualifications

English 

4

Not Specified

An English II course must be completed

Mathematics

4

Algebra I

Geometry

Algebra II or Integrated Math III

No less than the equivalent of Geometry, Algebra I and Algebra II

Science

3

Biology 

 

Social Studies

3

U.S. Hisotry

 

World Language

2

In the same language

Demonstrating Novice-high or higher proficiency level on a nationally recognized assessment of language proficiency, except English

Physical Education

1

1

 

Health

.5

.5

 

Career Pathway

3

 

 

Electives

3.5

3.5

 

TOTAL

24

   

Credits in the Career Pathway section must follow a pre-planned and sequential course design to develop knowledge and skills in a specific career or academic area.

Assessment Requirements

Delaware System of Student Assessments (DeSSA) requires students to participate in the following assessments:

Grade

DeSSA Assessment

10

DeSSA/DCAS Science, PSAT 10

11

DeSSA Social Studies, SAT

12

ACT WorkKeys

9-12

DCAS

High school sophomores were required to take the PSAT in fall 2014. High school juniors were required to take the SAT in spring 2015. 

Delaware also offers optional assessments: Smarter Interim Assessments for all grades as well as the PSAT for grade 9 and the PSAT/NMSQT for grade 11.

Accelerated Learning Options

Dual and Concurrent Enrollment

Delaware Department of Education rules require local school districts to develop articulation agreements with public and nonpublic state institutions to offer dual enrollment programs. The articulation agreements must include eligibility requirements, how and where students may take courses, and the funding sources used to offer dual enrollment. The rules stipulate that no district can deny access to dual enrollment because of a student or family’s inability to pay tuition.

Career and Technical Education

The Delaware Department of Education has approved three-, four-, six- and nine-credit paths for students enrolled in career and technical education programs of study.

Postsecondary Admissions

Four-Year Institutions

Admission to Delaware’s two public universities is based on grades, class rank, test scores and recommendations from appropriate high school officials. Applicants to the University of Delaware and Delaware State University must complete a required high school curriculum. Delaware State University requires a GPA of 2.0 or better in core academic subjects. 

Delaware Universitites Required and Recommended High School Curricula

Subject

University of Delaware

Delaware State University

  Required Recommended Required  Recommended

English

4

4

4

4

Mathematics

4

4

3

4

Science

3

4

3

3

History/ Social Studies

4

4

3

4

Foreign Language

2

4

2

2

Electives

2

2

4

4

TOTAL

18

20-22

19

21

Course Requirements

University of Delaware

  • Science: Applicants may substitute a fourth year of math or science for the fourth unit of social studies. For the required curriculum, at least two science units must include a lab component.
  • Social Studies: Applicants must complete two units in history. World history is required.
  • Foreign Language: Applicants must take the two required units in the same language.
  • Other: Applicants must take specific courses if they plan to enter a business or STEM major.
  • Math: Algebra I, Algebra II and geometry
  • Science: Three of four sciences are lab-based. Must include one or more of the following: biology, chemistry, physics
  • Social Studies: Two history units and one full unit among the following: civics, American government, economics, geography or psychology.

Delaware State University

  • English: Writing, Literature and Oral Communication 
  • Math: Algebra I and II, Geometry or the equivalent
  • Social Studies: Applicants must complete two units in history. World history is required.
  • Science: Applicants must complete one or more of the following: biology, chemistry, physics.
  • Foreign Language: University recommends that applicants take units in same language.
  • Electives: Allowable units include core subjects, art, theatre, music, and/or computer science.

Delaware State University also requires a minimum SAT score of 800 or 17 ACT Composite score.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Delaware Technical Community College students must have a high school diploma or GED credential, or they must be 18 years old and pass institutional tests that demonstrate their ability to benefit from instruction.

Applicants must possess a high school diploma or an equivalency credential if they want to apply for financial aid and/or admission to selective programs of study. Students not seeking state and federal financial assistance can take the SAT or ACCUPLACER to demonstrate ability to benefit from postsecondary institution.

Postsecondary Placement

Four-Year Institutions

The SAT is administered to at no cost for all high school juniors. Students can take the ACT at their own expense. Students achieving the SAT cut score set by the individual IHEs are exempt from remedial or developmental courses. Students participating in the current transitional course pilot program and passing the course with a 77 or higher are exempt from remedial/developmental work.

Both universities require all first-time freshmen to take the ALEKS assessment to determine math course placement.

University of Delaware

Placement goals vary by college and intended major. Students cannot register for a specific math course unless they attain the appropriate placement threshold. Students can enroll in credit-bearing math courses if they reach 45 percent proficiency on the ALEKS assessment. In the fall 2017, University of Delaware is instituting a test-optional pilot program for Delaware residents applying for first-year admission.

Delaware State University

All formally admitted freshmen and transfer students must complete online ALEKS placement test for Mathematics two weeks prior to orientation. Students who score a 15 or lower on the ACT must take the Nelson Denny reading test. Students are placed in English composition courses based on their SAT/ACT scores: Under 400/15 or below ─ Writing Skills; 400-574/16-19 ─ Regular Composition; 575+/20+ ─ Honors Composition.

Delaware State offers two Summer Bridge programs – Jumpstart and Project Success – for first-time freshman who could benefit from academic enrichment. Students may be provisionally admitted if they do not meet regular admission requirements, contingent upon successful completion of the Project Success Program. 

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Delaware Technical Community College students who meet minimum admission test scores requirements (SAT Math of 500 or above, SAT Verbal of 475 or above), have competed credit-bearing courses in English, reading and math, or who have a bachelor’s degree when they are admitted, may be exempted from taking standardized placement tests in reading, writing and math. All other students are required to take the ACCUPLACER to determine the level of instruction at which they begin college course work.

Postsecondary to High School Feedback Reports

In September 2014, the Delaware Department of Education released the first annual college to high school feedback reports that include data on student enrollment and remediation rates in Delaware public and private colleges. In addition, the reports also include data on average first-year credit accumulation and GPA.

State Financial Aid

Delaware’s awards the majority of financial aid through the Scholarship Incentive Program. The scholarship provides need-based aid up to $700 annually for students with a high school GPA of 2.5 or higher. Students receive up to $1,500 in merit-based supplements based on GPA. The grant awards are not renewable, meaning that students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid on an annual basis.   

The Delaware Higher Education Office administers six professional incentive programs for students who pledge to enter teaching, nursing, optometry, speech pathology, or librarianship. In addition, there are several merit based scholarships administered through the Higher Education Office. Delaware is a participant in the Academic Common Market and pays for a limited number of students to enroll in veterinary programs through a partnership with SREB.

Students attending Delaware Technical Community College or enrolled in the Associate in Arts program through University of Delaware are eligible for the SEED scholarship, which covers tuition for up to two years. Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA and complete their FAFSA. Delaware State University students are eligible for the INSPIRE scholarship if they maintain a 2.75 GPA and complete a FAFSA. This provides for up to three years of tuition. Both scholarships are funded through the state.

Special Thanks

We would like to thank the staff at the following agencies for their assistance in carefully reviewing and confirming the accuracy of the policies and programs described in this document:

Delaware Department of Education, Higher Education Office

Sources

Delaware Department of Education
Delaware State Code
Delaware State University
Delaware Technical Community College State of Delaware Regulations University of Delaware Delaware Goes to College