Preparation for college can never start to early. For high school students, following a Core Course of Study in high school that prepares them for college and careers. This core is attainable by anyone, and leaves plenty of room for those extracurricular activities such as sports, dance, music, theater, and career and technical education class.
Patterned after the recommendations of the National Commission on Excellence in Education and other groups, the Core includes no less than the following:
- 4 years of English
- 4 years of progressively advanced math (Math through your senior year, including Elementary Algebra (Algebra I), Geometry, Intermediate Algebra (Algebra II) and another advanced math class)
- 3.5 years of social science
- 3 years of lab sciences (one each of biology, chemistry, and physics)
- 2 years of the same foreign language taken in a progressive manner during grades 9-12
Studies by the U.S. Department of Education and others show a strong link between the academic intensity of students’ high school course of study and postsecondary degree completion. For example, students who’d taken four years of English scored an average of 46 points higher on the SAT verbal test than those who’d taken only three; on the ACT, a rigorous course of study gave students a boost of 2.4 points, on average. And 40 percent of students who take algebra II earn a bachelor’s degree, compared with 23 percent of those who stop with geometry. In fact, academic intensity is a better predictor than students’ high school class rank when it comes to success in college, no matter where they start college or how many institutions they attend.
The Utah Scholars program helps motivate students to complete a Core Course of Study in high school that prepares them for college and careers.The initiative brings local business, community and education leaders into the classroom to promote completion of the Scholars Core Course of Study and relay the benefits of preparing for the future beginning in high school. Becoming a Utah Scholar is within the reach of every willing student.
Below are additional stories and resources to help students better prepare for college: