College Requirements

College Admission Requirements

Preparing to apply for college? Every college and university maintains their own requirements and standards for admissions. It is best to check with a specific institution about their expectations and requirements. Many colleges and universities are looking for quality candidates.

Quality candidates go above and beyond the minimum qualifications required for admissions. Many colleges base roughly 70% of an admissions decision on your primary factors​.

Primary Factors for College Admission:
1. Class Rank/GPA
2. ACT/SAT Test Scores
3. Rigor of academic coursework

Rigor of Academic Courses Applicants are recommended to select courses beyond the minimum requirements. Students completing academically rigorous courses throughout their high school career, including senior year, will be stronger candidates for admission.

Academic Performance Applicants are expected to achieve a high-level of performance in the course work they pursue. This includes: Rigor of course work​. A minimum of the academic courses listed below. Grade Trends​. An increasingly strong and consistent academic record improves the likelihood of admission; a downward trend diminishes it.

College Preparatory Coursework
English -4
Social Studies/History- 3
Natural Science- 3

In addition to the "core college preparatory" credits identified, students need to complete a minimum of four elective credits as follows: An additional 4 credits may be chosen from English, mathematics, natural science, social science/history, foreign language, fine arts, computer science, and other academic areas. (Two years of a single foreign language are required for admission to UW-Madison, and strongly recommended at other UW System campuses.)

Some UW System campuses may also accept technical and career courses for a portion of these 4 elective credits. All students are encouraged to exceed the minimum number of college preparatory credits required for admission. Students who choose a rigorous high school curriculum (including senior year coursework) are more successful in college. Strong academic preparation for college helps to ensure success.
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Class Rank/GPA Universities will request class rank and GPA when considering an applicant for admission in addition to all other factors. Once a student has been admitted to a university, universities may also request a final transcript, including final GPA, and class rank following the student’s high school graduation, to ensure academic performance was maintained throughout the student’s entire senior year.

Non-academic Qualifications Numbers alone do not determine admissibility. Colleges and Universities are looking to build a diverse class—and diversity is considered and defined in a number of ways. Socio-economic status, racial identity, cultural/ethnic background, religious affiliation, (dis)ability, geographical origin, etc. can be factors that play a role in any individual student’s application status. Universities look for students with special or unique talents, who give of themselves, and who learn outside the classroom as well as inside. Please remember, however, that while non-academic indicators will make a good applicant strong, they will never make an academically weak applicant admissible.

Non-academic areas include: Leadership Experience, Personal Characteristics, Overcome Factors, Community Service, Special Talents/Abilities, & Extracurricular Activities.

Vocational-Technical College Entrance Requirements Some programs at vocational-technical colleges have specific entrance requirements. ​It is important to consult the vocational-technical college catalog to determine what admission requirements exist.