Postsecondary Admission

Overview

Postsecondary Admissions Requirements

Admission policies are set either at the state level, by an institutional governing board, or by individual institutions. Policies may also vary by institution type, such as four-year and two-year technical schools. Admissions requirements may include high school courses, high school grade-point average, and standardized exam score submissions. See below for each state’s postsecondary admissions requirements. (Updated August 2019)

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Alabama
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

Common, statewide admissions requirements do not exist for four-year institutions. Institutional governing boards set admission requirements.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

For admission to associate degree programs, students must show that they have completed a high school diploma or an equivalent credential. Students applying to vocational programs must demonstrate an ability to benefit from instruction.

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Arkansas
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

Students must have a high school diploma or GED credential. For unconditional admission, students must complete the “Smart Core” high school curriculum requirements with a minimum grade-point average of 2.0. While parents may waive their child’s participation in the “Smart Core,” opting out could result in conditional admission and ineligibility for state financial aid.

State law authorizes institutions to admit applicants on a conditional basis. These students receive full admission once they complete 12 hours of core academic courses with a cumulative GPA of 2.0.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Applicants must possess a high school diploma or an equivalency credential. While community and technical colleges are open-access institutions, admission does not guarantee entry into specific academic programs. State rules require technical colleges to develop procedures to determine whether students are able to benefit from instruction.  

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Delaware
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

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 grade-point average of 2.0 or better in core academic subjects. 

Delaware Universities: Required and Recommended High School Curricula

Subject

University of Delaware

Delaware State University

 

Required

Recommended

Required

Recommended

English

4

4

4

4

Math

3

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 science. For the required curriculum, at least two of three 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 STEM major.
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 instruction.

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Florida
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

The Florida Board of Governors sets minimum admission criteria. Individual institutions may choose to establish more stringent admission requirements within the parameters outlined in the board’s regulations. The minimum standards require that applicants graduate with the Standard Diploma.

Minimum Admission Criteria for First-Time, Degree-Seeking Freshmen

Subjects

Units

Course Requirements

Minimum Assessment Requirements

English

4

All three units must have a writing component.

ACT Reading & Writing: 19/17

SAT Verbal: 440

Math

4

All units at or above Algebra 1 level.

ACT Math: 19

SAT Math: 440

Science

3

Two units must have a lab component.

 

Social Studies

3

Options include anthropology, history, civics, political science, economics, sociology, psychology, and/or geography

 

World Languages

2

Both credits must be in the same language.

Applicants can waive requirement by showing fluency in language equal to or higher than the 2nd course level.

Electives

2

   

Total

18

   

Florida has three routes to university admission:

  • Standard admission – Institutions may admit students with a high school grade-point average of 2.5 or higher who have met the minimum admissions criteria, have qualifying SAT and/or ACT scores, and have met the requirements for college-level placement.  
  • Talented Twenty – Students receive guaranteed admission to one of the 12 state universities if they are in the Top 20 percent of their graduating class and have completed the required 18-credit core curriculum and submitted qualifying SAT or ACT scores. The Talented Twenty program does not guarantee admission to the first-choice institution.
  • Alternative admission – A limited number of applicants who are not eligible for standard admission may be considered for alternative admission. University admissions officers review a variety of factors, including but not limited to potential for success, family education background, socioeconomic background, and graduation from a low-performing high school. The additional factors shall not include preferences in the admissions process based on race, sex or national origin. 

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Students who attend two-year institutions must have a standard high school diploma or its equivalency or must demonstrate potential for success in postsecondary course work.

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Georgia
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

The University System of Georgia (USG) contains community colleges and universities. High school diploma requirements are identical for all system institutions, but minimum admissions criteria vary by institution type. The system authorizes institutions to enroll a small number of students under the Limited Admissions provision.

High School Diploma Admission Requirements

Subjects Credits Course Requirements
Math 4 Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and fourth unit at Algebra II level or higher
English 4 Literature integrated with grammar, usage and advanced composition skills
Science 4 Two courses with laboratory component; Georgia public high school students should have at least one unit of biology, one unit of physical science or physics, one unit of chemistry, earth systems, environmental science, or an advanced placement course, and a 4th science.
Social Studies 3 One unit related to American studies and one unit focusing on world studies
Foreign Language 2 Two units of the same language. American Sign Language and Computer Science satisfy this requirement.
Total 17  

The system sets minimum admission cut scores based on the Freshman Index (FI)—a composite score based on students’ SAT or ACT score and high school GPA.

  • SAT Formula: (500 x High School GPA in required courses) + 1.06 x (SAT Critical Reading + SAT Math) – 74
  • ACT Formula: (500 x High School GPA in required courses) + (ACT Composite x 42) + 88
  • Freshman Index Thresholds: Research Universities (2500), Regional Universities (2040), State Universities (1940)
  • System regulation authorizes presidents of state colleges to establish a minimum Freshman Index score.

Programs Leading to a Baccalaureate Degree

Other admission requirements for baccalaureate programs vary by institution type. Students seeking admission to system universities must have a minimum SAT evidence-based reading and writing score of 480 and a math score of 440 or an ACT English score of 17 and ACT math score of 17.

Programs Not Leading to a Baccalaureate Degree

Admissions requirements for career certificates and career degrees (i.e., Associate of Applied Science degrees and Associate of Science degrees in allied health areas) depend upon the extent to which the general education component is based on Core Curriculum courses. There are two sets of admissions requirements.

Programs with more than twelve (12) semester hours of Core curriculum

All applicants must have a high school diploma, a qualifying Freshman Index score, and minimum SAT score. Individuals admitted to career programs do not have to meet the high school curriculum requirements for students enrolled in baccalaureate programs.

Programs with twelve (12) or fewer semester hours of Core curriculum

Applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Graduate from an accredited high school with a minimum GPA of 1.8
  • Meet the beginning freshman required high school curriculum criteria for the institutional sector
  • Earn a GED

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Persons 16 years of age or older are eligible for admission to Georgia’s technical colleges. Applicants to technical colleges must submit proof of a high school diploma or its equivalent, unless otherwise specified by the program’s standards.

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Kentucky
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

First-time freshmen must show that they have completed the Pre-College Curriculum with a minimum grade-point average of 2.5 or higher and have taken college readiness assessments required by the Kentucky Department of Education. Institutions may admit students with a GPA between 2.0 and 2.49 if a learning contract is executed prior to enrollment. Out-of-state students should complete a college-preparatory curriculum comparable to Kentucky’s Pre-College Curriculum.

In addition to the Kentucky minimum high school diploma requirements, the Pre-College Curriculum requires two consecutive years of a world language or demonstrated proficiency. State policy authorizes institutions to substitute the SAT for the ACT Assessment and to set additional admission criteria.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Applicants must possess a standard high school diploma or GED credential, or be eligible to pursue a GED credential.

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Louisiana
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

The Board of Regents groups public, four-year universities by institution type. Each grouping shares minimum standards for ACT scores and high school grade-point averages in the core curriculum. Universities may adopt additional, more specific or rigorous requirements.

All applicants must complete the 19-unit Regents’ Core, which is based on the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) curriculum. The Regents’ Core requires four units each in English, math, science and social studies, two units of world language, and one unit of fine arts. Universities may make exceptions to the minimum admission standards for four to eight percent of the freshman class, depending on the institution type.

Minimum Performance Requirements by Institution Type

Institution Type High School GPA ACT Composite
Flagship (Louisiana State University) 3.0 25
Statewide Universities 2.5 23
Regional Universities 2.0 20

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Community colleges are open-admission institutions. Applicants must complete an admissions application, submit their high school diplomas, GED credentials and/or scores on institutional tests that indicate their ability to benefit from instruction, provide proof of selective service registration, and produce immunization records. System policy states that specific educational programs may require additional admissions documentation.

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Maryland
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

The University System of Maryland Board of Regents sets minimum admissions requirements but authorizes the 12 system institutions to set more rigorous criteria. Institutions may make exceptions to the minimum requirements for up to 15 percent of their incoming classes. The statewide minimum admissions requirements are as follows:

  • An earned high school diploma or equivalency credential
  • High school grade-point average of 2.0 or higher
  • Completion of the 16-unit Core Curriculum
  • Submission of national college exams such as SAT or ACT scores

Required Core High School Curriculum

Subject

Units  

Course Requirements

English

4

 

Math

4

Algebra I, Geometry I and Algebra II

Students who complete Algebra II prior to their senior year must complete a year-four math

Science

3

Earn credits in at least two subject areas.

Two of three units must be lab-based.

Social Science/ History

3

 

Foreign Language

2

Two units in the same language

Some institutions may substitute two units of advanced technology in place of foreign language

Total

16

 

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Community college admissions requirements vary by institution.

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Mississippi
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

The Board of Trustees for the Institutions of Higher Learning sets the minimum admissions requirements for public universities. All applicants must complete the Required College-Preparatory Curriculum to receive full admission. The board has also created a more rigorous, recommended preparatory curriculum. Students may substitute Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses for specific subject-area requirements.

The board requires institutions to grant students full admission if they complete the College Preparatory Curriculum and meet one of the following qualifications: 1) 3.2 grade-point average; 2) 2.5 GPA or Top 50% Class Rank and ACT composite of 16 or higher; 3) a minimum 2.0  GPA and an ACT Composite of 18 or higher. Board policy allows students to submit equivalent SAT scores to meet institutional admissions requirements.

Universities may admit students who do not meet full admissions requirements through enrollment in the Summer Development Program. Successful completion of the program entitles students to continue enrollment in the fall semester. Institutions also may enroll students in Yearlong Academic Support Programs. Some credits earned through the yearlong program do not count toward graduation.

Institute of Higher Learning College-Preparatory Curriculum

Subject

 Required Units

Recommended Units

Course Requirements

English

4

4

Must require substantial communication skills

Math

3

4

Algebra I or equivalent

Other units higher than Algebra I

Science

3

4

Biology I or its equivalent

Other units higher than Biology I

Social Studies

3

4

American & World History (1 unit each)

American Government (1/2 unit)

Economics or Geography (1/2 unit)

Recommended units include Introduction to World Geography and Mississippi Studies (or a state/local government course in any other state)

Arts

1

1

Units in visual and performing arts

Advanced Electives

2

2

Option 1: Foreign Language I and Foreign Language II

Option 2: Foreign Language I and Advanced World Geography

Option 3: Any combination of English, Mathematics higher than Algebra I, Science higher than Biology I, Advanced Elective category, any AP course, any IB course

Technology 

.5

.5

A course that emphasizes the use of technology as a productivity tool

Total 16.5 19.5  
*Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses can be substituted for each requirement. A course may not be used to satisfy more than one requirement.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Academic and technical students must meet one of the following Mississippi Community College Board admissions criteria to enroll at an institution:

  • An earned high school diploma or approved equivalency certificate
  • The completion of at least one unit less than the minimum acceptable high school units as prescribed by law (20 credits)
  • Mississippi Occupational Diploma or state-approved Career Certificate
  • Official transcript from accredited postsecondary institution

Two-year institutions may enroll students in career programs based upon qualifying scores on a federal assessment that demonstrates their ability to benefit from postsecondary instruction.

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North Carolina
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

The Board of Governors has established minimum course requirements that align with the North Carolina State Board of Education’s (NCSBE) college preparatory curriculum. First-time undergraduates must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.5 and produce minimum qualifying scores on the SAT (800 or higher, or the corresponding score on the redesigned SAT) or ACT Composite (17 or higher).

System institutions may set higher admission standards. Institutions may make exceptions to the minimum SAT/ACT score or GPA requirements for up to one percent of their incoming classes.

UNC – NCSBE College Preparatory Curriculum

Subject Units Course Requirements

English

4

Units must emphasize grammar, composition, and literature.

Math

4

Four allowable combinations:

  • Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II and one unit beyond Algebra II
  • Algebra I & II and two units beyond Algebra II
  • Common Core I, II and III
  • Integrated Math I, II and III, and one unit beyond Math III

(the fourth unit of math affects applicants to all institutions except the N.C. School of the Arts)

Science

3

Three course units in science, including:

  • At least one unit in life or biological science (e.g., biology)
  • At least one unit in physical science (e.g., chemistry, physics)

At least one laboratory course

Social Studies

2

Two course units in social studies, including

  • At least one unit in U.S. history

Institutions may admit students without this unit if they complete a three-credit course by end of sophomore year.

Foreign Language

2

Two units in the same language

Total

15

 

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Community colleges have open-door admissions policies for applicants who are at least 18 years old and who possess a high school diploma or an equivalency credential.

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Oklahoma
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education require applicants to complete a 15-unit pre-college curriculum. Institutions admit applicants through a combination of performance measures, including high school grade-point average, class rank, and ACT/SAT scores. Board rules stipulate minimum standards for admission to research universities, regional universities, and community and technical colleges. Institutions may make exceptions to minimum standards for up to eight percent of first-time freshmen class or 50 students, whichever number is greater.

Required High School Curriculum

Subject

Units

Course Requirements

English

4

Courses should integrate a writing component

Math

3

Units chosen from Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, trigonometry, math analysis, pre-calculus, and statistics

Science

3

Three laboratory sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics)

History & Citizenship

3

One unit of American history and two additional units chosen from history, economics, geography and government  

Other

2

Options include courses in additional core subjects (including Advanced Placement), computer science and foreign language

Total

15

 

Note: The Regents recommend additional units in fine arts (two), lab science and math (one each).

Minimum Performance Requirements for First-Time Students

Institution or Type

Option 1: Standardized

Option 2: GPA and Class Rank

Option 3: GPA in Pre-College Core

Oklahoma State University

24 ACT/ 1160 SAT

GPA: 3.0

Class Rank: Top 33%

GPA: 3.0

21 ACT/ 1060 SAT

University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

24 ACT/ 1160 SAT

3.0 or Top 50% Rank

GPA: 3.0

Class Rank: Top 25%

GPA: 3.0

22 ACT/ 1100 SAT

Regional Universities

20 ACT/ 1020 SAT

GPA: 2.7

Class Rank: Top 50%

GPA 2.7

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Applicants must possess high school diplomas or GED credentials. Students who plan to enter a degree or certificate program must complete the 15-unit, pre-college curriculum requirements and present scores from ACT or a similar assessment.

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South Carolina
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

The governing boards of four-year colleges and universities establish admissions standards. However, state law requires that the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education review minimum undergraduate admissions standards for in-state and out-of-state students. The commission sets a minimum high school curriculum for four-year public college admission.

Minimum Pre-College Curriculum Requirements

Subject

Units

Course Requirements

English

4

 

Math

4

Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II and a fourth unit (e.g., trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus, statistics, discrete math or a senior-year capstone course

Lab Science

3

Two units selected from biology, chemistry, physics, or earth science

Social Studies

3

One unit of American history

Half units of economics and government required.

World history or geography strongly recommended

Foreign Language

2

Two units in same language

Fine Arts

1

 

Physical Education or ROTC

1

 

Electives

2

Computer science strongly recommended but not required

Total

20

 

Each institution can make exceptions in admitting students who do not meet these prerequisites, limited to individual cases in which failure to meet one or more prerequisites is due to circumstances beyond the students’ reasonable control.

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Students designated as baccalaureate-ready must meet the same admissions requirements set for students who apply to the system’s flagship. Regional campuses designate applicants who do not meet system standards as provisional admits. Provisional enrollees undergo placement testing in English and math to determine readiness for college-level courses. Failure to reach readiness benchmarks results in students’ placement in co-requisite courses.

While technically allowed by commission rules, the University of South Carolina System’s Board of Trustees prohibits the delivery of standalone remediation at regional campuses.

Technical colleges operate as open-admissions campuses. The State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education requires applicants to be 18 years old. Younger applicants must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent.

While board rules do not require adult applicants to hold a high school diploma, some institutions require them for enrollment in a degree or certificate program.

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Tennessee
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Statewide

There are two public postsecondary systems in the state—the Tennessee Board of Regents and the University of Tennessee. The TBR system includes six universities, 13 community colleges, and 27 colleges of applied technology. The UT system includes three universities and a health sciences center.

To receive a regular high school diploma, all students must complete a 22-unit curriculum and complete the ACT or SAT in their junior year of high school.

Chapter 869 created institutional boards at TBR’s six universities in 2016. Since then, the local boards have set admission requirements. The Tennessee Board of Regents sets admission requirements for community colleges and colleges of applied technology. Community colleges have open-enrollment policies, but these institutions may use ACT/SAT scores for advisement and placement purposes. 

The University of Tennessee admission requirements also incorporate the core high school graduation requirements into their curriculum requirement. Students must submit high school transcripts and either the ACT or SAT for consideration of admission to the University of Tennessee.

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Texas
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

Students who graduated high school in the last two years receive automatic admission to four-year institutions, except for the University of Texas at Austin, if they meet the following criteria:

  • Place in the Top 10% of their graduating class
  • Complete the Foundation Diploma requirements at the Distinguished Level
  • Meet the ACT Benchmarks (i.e., 18 English, 22 Reading, 22 Math, and 23 Science) or score 480 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and 530 on the Math SAT sub-tests (no combined scoring allowed)

Students who do not qualify for automatic admission may apply to four-year institutions if they earn the Foundation Diploma or meet the ACT Benchmarks. The University of Texas at Austin admits students through the Top 10% Plan up to 75 percent of enrollment capacity.

Texas Foundation Diploma Requirements

Subject

Units

Course Requirements

English

4

English I, II, III and advanced English course

Math

3

Algebra I, geometry and advanced math course

Science

3

Biology

Integrated Physics and Chemistry or advanced science course

Second advanced science course

Social Studies

3

American history

World history or geography

Half units of economics and government

Foreign Language

2

Districts may waive this requirement to expand number of courses in elective focus

Fine Arts

1

 

Physical Education

1

 

Speech

0

Demonstrated proficiency

Elective

5

 

Total

22

 

To attain the Distinguished level, students must complete 26 units including:

  • four units each in English, math, science, and social studies
  • Algebra II
  • four-unit endorsement in one of five areas — STEM, business and industry, public services, arts & humanities, or multi-disciplinary studies

Two-Year and/or Technical Colleges

Applicants are eligible to apply to two-year institutions if they are 17 years of age or older and possess a high school diploma or equivalency credential. Those without diplomas or the equivalent must demonstrate that they can benefit from instruction.

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Virginia
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

Institutional governing boards set admissions requirements and minimum qualifying scores on college entrance exams. Colleges and universities consider high school curriculum, grade-point average, SAT/ACT scores, and class rank when making admission decisions.

Through system-wide agreements, students who graduate from a transfer-oriented degree program at a Virginia Community College System institution with an associate degree are eligible for guaranteed admission to more than 30 public and private four-year institutions, provided they meet minimum GPA requirements.

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 are 18 years of age or older and demonstrate an ability to benefit from postsecondary instruction, as measured by the Virginia Placement Test, COMPASS or Asset. Students who do not achieve the scoring benchmarks will be permitted to enroll in non-credit classes only.

Readiness Assessment Benchmarks

Subject VPT COMPASS ASSET
Writing ENF1 32 35
Reading ENF1 62 35
Math MTE1 25 33

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West Virginia
Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Four-Year Institutions

State policy sets differential admissions criteria based on whether the institution is a baccalaureate- or doctoral degree-granting institution. 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 grade-point average and/or ACT Composite scores.

Minimum State Requirements for Four-Year Institutions

Institution Type

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

Units

Course Requirements

English

4

 

Math

4

Algebra I

Science

3

All courses must have laboratory component

Social Science

3

American History

World Language

2

Units in same language; American Sign Language is acceptable

Arts

1

 

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.