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Articles / Applying to College / University Admission for Tech High School Student?

Nov. 1, 2008

University Admission for Tech High School Student?

Question: Can a student be accepted into a university with a high school tech prep curriculum?

A student can definitely be accepted into a university coming from a high school with a tech prep curriculum, as long as the student has met the minimum requirements for admission to that institution. Moreover, some colleges have only "Recommended" courses of study for applicants, not Required ones. So, in such cases, even if your high school transcript falls short in one or more areas, you may be able to convince admission officials to take a chance on you, based on your grades and perhaps on your standardized test scores (SAT or ACT).


The easiest way to compare your high school transcript with entrance requirements or recommendations at the universities that interest you is to go to the College Board Web site at http://www.collegeboard.com/ and enter the name of a college on the left side of the page where it says, "Search by college name." Click on "Search" and this will take you to that school's profile. (If more than one college has a name that is similar to the one you entered, you may have to first choose among several options.)

Once you reach the profile page, click on "Admission" (next to "At a glance"). Then scroll down the Admission page until you see the "High School Preparation" heading. As I mentioned above, some colleges have "Required" high school classes and others have "Recommended" classes. You may find, too, that some of your target colleges have both. In such cases, the "Required" list represents those classes that you must have taken to be considered for admission, and the "Recommended" list is what will make you a stronger candidate.

If you don't already have colleges in mind that you think you'd like to attend, you can use the College Board's "Matchmaker" questionnaire to help you generate a list of places to research. Once you find some contenders, check their admission requirements as explained above to see if you will qualify.

However, even if you are lacking a couple mandatory classes that you think would make you a candidate at some of the schools that interest you, it's sometimes possible to convince admission officials to consider you anyway, if your record is strong in other areas. You may get more of such "wiggle room" at private colleges than at public ones, since the latter may have less flexibility when it comes to bending rules.

Hope that helps. Good luck with your college search and application process.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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