It’s okay to begin thinking through the courses in eighth grade or even later than ninth grade. My older daughter decided she wanted to go to college in January of her 11th grade year. So we began the process then. Though we had to play catch up, it was not a big deal and she ended up getting into an extremely competitive college on scholarship. Pulling together a college transcript can be done at the 11th hour—or in 11th grade. So if you are behind the eight ball, fear not. It’s not too late.
How do you know what a college prep transcript should look like?
Most colleges require:
While few universities actually require specific courses, most have preferences.
Regent University prefers:
The University of Georgia requires:
One credit typically takes an entire year to achieve. It is at least 180 hours (called a Carnegie Unit). Most fine arts courses, though they span an entire year, are only ½ credit because they do not require much outside work.
Ninth grade is also a good time to go ahead and research some colleges you may be interested in. I recommend researching:
A great place to research the difficulty of admissions and other specs on colleges is Peterson’s Real Guide to Colleges. You can also go directly to the college’s website or call their admissions office.
Even if your child proclaims to the mountains at fifteen that he is not going to college, choose the most academically challenging transcript your child is capable of producing. When a child turns seventeen, he will think differently and will often change direction without warning. If he’s had a rigorous course schedule in high school, he’ll be ready for whatever college he decides to pursue.
Give your child a high school education that opens up the most doors—and ask God to lead him through the right one!
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