West Virginia – High School to College & Careers


College and Career Readiness

The West Virginia College and Career Readiness Standards define the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to be successful in postsecondary education and/or training leading to employment. All students currently take the West Virginia General Summative Assessment (WVGSA) in 11th grade to determine college readiness. Students who score a 3 or 4 on the WVGSA are exempt from having to take non-credit-bearing, remedial courses. Students who do not meet the state college-readiness benchmarks in 11th grade are required to complete transition course(s). The mathematics transitional course counts toward a fourth year of math if the student has completed Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry.

College and Career Planning

High School Graduation Requirements 

Course and Diploma Requirements for Current Seniors

Students must complete 24 credits to receive a High School Diploma. All students must in an experiential learning experience at some time in grades 9-12. It is recommended that all students complete an online learning experience and at least one course in technology applications. All senior students are required to enroll in a full day of high school and/or college credit bearing courses and are encouraged to complete a senior project.

Subject Credits Required Courses Substitutions
English 4

English 9

English 10

English 11

English 12

AP English courses; English 12 CR, or Transition English Language Arts for Seniors

Mathematics 4

Math I or Algebra I

Math II or Geometry

Math III

Math IV

AP Math courses

Trigonometry/Pre-calculus or Math IV TR or Transition Mathematics for Seniors* or any other fourth course option such as AP Math

Science 3

Physical Science


An additional lab science course


Conceptual Biology or AP® Biology


AP Science

Social Studies 4

World Studies

United States Studies

Contemporary Studies

Civics for the Next Generation

AP concurrent courses; Grades 9-11 may substitute the following AP® courses:  AP® World History, AP® US History, AP® European Studies, or AP® Human Geography, Civics for the 21st Century or AP® Government and Politics
Physical Education 1    
Health 1    
Fine Arts 1    
Electives 2    
Concentration 4    
TOTAL 24 Credits    

Personalized Education Plan

Each student’s Personalized Education Plan (PEP) includes a four-credit concentration that, if completed, will lead to (1) placement in entry-level, credit-bearing college courses; (2) attainment of an industry-recognized certificate or license; or, (3) enrollment in a workforce training program.

Students may pursue an academic or career and technical education (CTE) concentration. For the academic concentration, the state encourages students to take at least one Advanced Placement (AP) and/or Advanced Career (AC) course with corresponding examination, a fourth science credit, and two credits in one world language.

The CTE concentration results in the acquisition of an industry-recognized, CTE credential. The four credits taken in a CTE concentration must be consistent with those identified for West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) approved CTE programs of study. Each career-technical concentration in a school shall provide students the opportunity to obtain an industry-recognized credential as part of the instructional program, when applicable. Schools offering a concentration outside of the state-approved CTE concentrations must have four related courses approved by their local boards of education.

Assessment Requirements

The West Virginia General Summative Assessment is a customized test used to measure students’ levels of achievement of the Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives (CSOs) for West Virginia. Grades 3-11 are assessed in the areas of English Language Arts and mathematics in alignment with College to Career-Readiness Standards. Tenth graders also take an assessment in science.  

Accelerated Learning Options

Dual Credit Courses

High school juniors and seniors may take college-level courses on college campuses and at high schools. Students must meet the institution’s admission requirements and course prerequisites and receive approval from a high school administrator. The college offering dual credit courses must address all of the equivalent high school course requirements in addition to the college requirements for a student to be awarded dual credit. High school students bear the cost of taking college-level courses, but institutions can create special tuition and fee structures for joint enrollees.

Advanced Placement

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WVCTCS) Rules §135-15-1 require a common process for awarding college credit for Advanced Placement (AP) tests. Students receive general education or elective credit for each exam score of 3 or higher. System institutions may choose to require higher proficiency if the exams relate to a course requirement within a student’s academic major.

Early College Admission

The West Virginia EDGE (Earn a Degree, Graduate Early) program is an early enrollment option specifically designed to enable high school students and adult learners to earn college credit in career/technical courses toward the completion of a technical associate degree.

Career and Technical Education

West Virginia has adopted the National Career Clusters Model. The state provides CTE courses in 16 career clusters. Students may take an Advanced Career (AC) course in place of a course as listed in the applicable program of study.

Postsecondary Admissions

Four-Year Institutions

State policy sets minimum admissions criteria based on the institution’s Carnegie classification. Institutions may set more rigorous standards than the state minimum. Institutions may admit students who do not meet minimum requirements on a conditional basis, so long as the number of students in this classification does not exceed 10 percent of total freshmen enrollment.

Students may satisfy minimum state admissions requirements by submitting their high school GPA and/or ACT Composite scores.

Minimum State Requirements for Four-Year Institutions

 Institution Typs GPA Only GPA + ACT
Baccalaureate 3.0 2.0 and 18
Doctoral 3.0 2.0 and 19

In addition to GPA and ACT/SAT score requirements, students must successfully complete the following minimum core courses prior to enrollment.

Minimum High School Curriculum Requirements

Subject Credits Course Requirements
English 4  
Mathematics 4 Algebra I 
Science 3 Lab-based units only
Social Studies 3 U.S. History
Arts 1  
Foreign Language 2 Two consecutive units in same language, American Sign Language is acceptable
TOTAL 17  

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Applicants are eligible for admission if they possess a high school diploma or an equivalency credential, or if they demonstrate an ability to benefit from postsecondary instruction through certain assessments. Institutions may establish more rigorous admissions standards for specific programs.

Postsecondary Placement


Degree-seeking students at all public postsecondary institutions must demonstrate minimum proficiency in mathematics, writing, and reading. State policy authorizes institutions to offer three types of support for students who do not meet minimum standards: stand-alone developmental education courses, co-requisite courses, and supplementary academic support programs.

State policy provides minimum placement cut scores. Institutions may set higher cut scores for placement decisions. However, high school juniors who score a Level 3 or higher on the English Language Arts and math summative assessments are exempt from placement testing.

Test Math Reading/Verbal English/Writing
ACT 19 17 18
SAT 500 23* 480
Grade 11 Summative Assessment Level 3 N/A Level 3
ASSET 40 (Numerical)/ 38 (Elementary Algebra) 36 38 (Writing Skills)
COMPASS** 59 (Pre-Algebra)/ 36 (Algebra) 75 71
ACCUPLACER 85 (Arithmetic)/ 76 (Elem. Algebra)/ 40 (College Level) 79 88 (Sentence Skills)
Nelson-Denney 30th percentile

*Critical reading sub-score on new SAT

**As of 2016, the Compass test system, and its affiliated tests, are no longer offered but scores from these tests will continue to be accepted.

Students not meeting one of these standards must successfully complete required remediation. Institutions must develop strategies that allow students to progress through college-level, credit-bearing courses in the first year of enrollment. Institutions may require students who do not meet the standards to complete such courses at another institution. Such courses could include a stretch course, a co-requisite course, an ALP class or other embedded course delivery.

Postsecondary to High School Feedback Reports

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and Council of Community and Technical Colleges produce an annual report on college-going rates of recent high school graduates, by county and school. These reports do not contain data on the placement status and college success of high school graduates; however, the state’s High School Readiness Report discusses college developmental education, placement, GPA, and retention. 

State Financial Aid

West Virginia awards financial aid based on academic merit, financial need, and intended career.

The primary financial aid program is the merit-based Providing Real Opportunities for Maximizing In-State Student Excellence (PROMISE) Scholarship. The program offers awards for tuition and fees of up to $4,750 toward attending an in-state public or private college.

To be eligible, West Virginia high school graduates must meet two requirements: (1) a 3.0 GPA in PROMISE core and overall high school course work; and (2) an ACT composite score of at least 22, with minimum scores of 20 in each subject (or equivalent SAT scores). The PROMISE core is aligned with university admission requirements.

To renew the award, full-time enrollees must earn a 2.75 GPA in the first year and a cumulative 3.0 GPA thereafter. Further, students must earn a minimum of 30 credit-hours per year.

The West Virginia Higher Education Grant (HEGP) is a need-based financial aid program. Awards vary based on the extent of financial need. Maximum annual awards are $2,600. This grant can be used in conjunction, or “stacked,” with the PROMISE Scholarship.

The West Virginia Higher Education Adult Part-Time Student (HEAPS) Grant program is a need-based financial aid program for students enrolled part-time or enrolled in a short-term workforce training program. Award amounts vary.

The West Virginia Engineering, Science, and Technology Scholarship provides a maximum annual award of $3,000 for students admitted to eligible programs. Graduates must repay the scholarship with interest if they do not meet the work requirement (one year of in-state work for each year the scholarship was received).

Other scholarship and loan programs increase affordability for students entering early childhood, teaching, and health science fields.

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:

West Virginia Department of Education

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

Community and Technical College System of West Virginia


College Foundation of West Virginia
Community and Technical College System of WV
West Virginia GEAR UP
West Virginia Department of Education
West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission