Preparing for College

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 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.