It is very difficult to make a generalized statement as to what high school courses students should take who are planning to go to college. Requirements for college are as varied as there are colleges. Generally speaking, colleges fall into one of four selection categories:

Highly Selective – Excellent student, high test scores, rigorous high school program (i.e. 4 years of English, 3 to 4 years of mathematics, 3 to 4 years of laboratory science, 3 to 4 years of social science, 2 to 4 years of world languages), recommendations, activities; examples: Stanford, Harvard, M.I.T., Notre Dame, Northwestern, University of Chicago.

Selective – Excellent student, high test scores, strong college preparatory program (same as above); examples: Iowa State, Illinois Wesleyan, DePaul, Loyola University and University of Illinois.

Traditional – Rank in top half of class and/or achieve a particular A.C.T. or S.A.T. score, strong college preparatory program is recommended; examples: Illinois public universities such as Illinois State, Northern Illinois, Eastern Illinois.

Open Door Policy – High school diploma required; may need specific high school courses to get into some programs (example: algebra for the electronics programs); examples: Community colleges such as Joliet Junior College.

A counselor can assist a student in identifying which colleges fit each category. College representatives tell us that students should take as many of the core (traditional) academic courses as possible. An example would be 16 credits selected from English, world languages, math, science and social science.

Students planning a career in the health professions, engineering, or the sciences should take as much high school math and lab sciences as possible. World language is required for some colleges. Students are strongly encouraged to research college/university requirements. If it is required, then two consecutive years of the same world languages is necessary. Some universities will allow students to substitute World Language for two years of fine art credit. Four years of literature & composition are required at most universities.

Taking the most challenging courses we have to offer for four years will prepare a student for most any program in college.