High School Preparation Guidelines

A strong curriculum during high school will enhance your success in college. A student’s senior year is especially important. The University expects students to continue with college preparatory coursework, including English and math, for all four years of high school and maintain their strong academic performance through graduation. Please note that admission to some programs is competitive and successful applicants to those programs typically exceed the expectations listed below.


Four years, including writing, literature, and speech. Within the writing component, students may elect work in composition, creative writing, journalism, or research writing. Literature may include both American and world literatures; speech may include both public speaking and debate.


Four years, including two years of algebra, one of which must be intermediate or advanced algebra, and one year of geometry.


Three years, including at least one course each in the biological and physical sciences, with at least one course that requires significant laboratory experience. The biological and physical science requirements would most commonly be met by courses in biology, chemistry, and physics. Other courses could include human anatomy and physiology, botany, zoology, and geology.


Three years, including one year each of geography and American history. Geography need not always be taught as a full year course, and may in fact be incorporated in a significant way into other studies.


Two years of a single world language other than English. World language courses should guide students to begin to develop proficiency in the target language as well as to gain transcultural appreciation and understanding of the communities where the target language is spoken.


One year in the visual or performing arts including instruction in the history and critical interpretation of the art form. Courses in the arts should offer students the opportunity to experience the arts directly as creators/performers and as critical, informed observers.

Completing all of the high school preparation course guidelines enhances students’ preparation for success in college and strengthens their application for admission. Admission decisions are based on the holistic assessment of each application, and students not meeting all of the guidelines may still be admissible with otherwise strong applications overall.