Subject Area CSU Strong Candidate State of
Colorado HEAR*
Mathematics 4 4
English 4 4
Science 3 3
Social Studies 3 3
Foreign Language 2, same language 1
Academic Elective 2 2

 *The State of Colorado Higher Education Admission Requirements (HEAR) are required for admission to any Colorado four-year public institution. [more information]

General course work details

  • One unit equals one year of a high school course or one semester of a college course.
  • Grades of C- or better are preferred. Grades of D, F, or P(ass) may not be competitive in a selective admission environment.
  • In the rare cases that courses cannot be easily categorized or may fall into more than one category, we defer to the student’s high school to identify how the course is categorized. For example, yearbook may be counted as an English course at some schools and as an elective course at others; we defer to the high school’s classification.
  • Applicants who will be deficient in one or more academic areas at the point of application should use the “Academic Explanation” section of the application to provide details (in the presence of disabilities or other extenuating circumstances, for example). While we can consider applications from students with deficiencies, it is to an applicant’s advantage to explain not only why there is a deficiency but what other strengths may compensate (for example, additional electives taken in place of a foreign language or efforts made to overcome academic struggles, etc.).

Subject-based course work details

Mathematics

  • The four units must include algebra 1, geometry, and algebra 2 or a comparable college-preparatory sequence.
  • High school level math courses taken prior to 9th grade are acceptable toward meeting admission requirements. While we prefer that the course credit and grade be reflected on the transcript, we recognize that some high school transcripts cannot reflect academic work taken prior to 9th grade. If we see that 9th grade begins with geometry and proceeds to algebra 2, for example, we assume that algebra 1 was taken in 8th grade.
  • Admissions preference is given to students whose fourth year of math is at or above the level of algebra 2 (e.g., trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus, AP statistics).
  • In cases where four years of high school math are completed prior to senior year due to acceleration, applicants are strongly encouraged (but not required) to continue math through the senior year.
  • Extended algebra, applied math, technical math, consumer math, and other skill-building courses may satisfy the four year math recommendation provided algebra 1, geometry, and algebra 2 are complete, but they will be less competitive in a selective admission environment.

English

  • English courses can include literature, writing, speech, grammar, debate and journalism and is determined according to what the student’s high school/district defines as receiving English credit.
  • English as a Second/Foreign Language courses can meet course work requirements provided the applicant has completed two or more years of non-ESL English course work (i.e., ESL for grades 9-10 can count as long as grades 11-12 are “mainstream” non-ESL). In some cases, English proficiency documentation may be required as part of the application for admission.

Science

  • Two units must be lab-sciences. Lab sciences are those that apply all components of the scientific method (i.e., hypothesis/research, test design with independent and dependent variables, test implementation, data collection and analysis) whether through hands-on or virtual experiences.
  • Courses can include natural, physical, and life science classes such as biology, chemistry, physics, physical science, environmental science, and astronomy.

Social Studies

  • One unit must be US history or World Civilizations.
  • Examples of courses in this category include any state/regional history classes, civics, government, geography, economics, psychology, and sociology.

Foreign/World Language

  • High school level language courses taken prior to 9th grade are acceptable toward meeting admission requirements, provided a second year is taken in grade 9 or after. While we prefer that the course credit and grade be reflected on the transcript, we recognize that some high school transcripts cannot reflect academic work taken prior to 9th grade. If we see that 9th grade includes French 2, for example, we assume that French 1 was taken in 8th grade.
  • Any world/foreign language used for the purposes of human communication and cultural representation is acceptable, including American Sign Language (ASL), which can be an effective option for students with certain learning styles. Computer programming languages do not constitute foreign/world languages.
  • “Heritage Language” courses for students who speak English as a Second/Foreign Language can satisfy this subject requirement provided they otherwise satisfy the English core subject requirement with additional course work. In other words, we will not “double count” courses to meet both foreign language and English categories simultaneously. In some cases, English proficiency documentation may be required as part of the application for admission.
  • Students who have not taken the recommended foreign language requirement due to the presence of a disability or limitations in small schools/rural areas where foreign language major not be offered can use the Academic Explanation section of the application to address this; students in these types of circumstances face no disadvantage in the admission process.

Academic Electives

  • Academic electives can be additional units in any of the core subjects above beyond the minimum number required. They also may include art, music and drama/theatre; computer science; and career-technical education programs such as agriculture and engineering.
  • Courses that typically do not qualify as academic electives or core subjects include health/wellness, physical education, aide, advisement, and so on.