Preparing for College

What Qualifies as a "Science?"

Question: About the science requirement at colleges, when they say 3 or 4 years of sciences, do they imply including a life science and a physical science or is it open to any science? At my daughter's high school, all advanced sciences are college level courses for engineers and scientists. Each science course is two years long. What would be the best way to satisfy science requirement? Unfortunately, their biology is the weakest of the three sciences. Thank you.

"Science," especially at the most selective colleges, refers to a year of any laboratory science. Typically this means biology, chemistry, and/or physics, and might rule out other options such as Earth Science or ecology ... but this depends on the high school. Classes like geology and astronomy could go either way, but they aren't offered at most high schools to begin with. (And the less selective the college, the less picky they tend to be about whether the "science" on the transcript is a lab science or not.)


If your daughter's science classes last two years, then they would be counted as exactly that ... two years of science. If your daughter is aiming for highly competitive colleges but doesn't have any biology on her transcript because it's not a strong offering at her school and she wants to skip it, that's okay, as long as it's replaced by other rigorous lab sciences (and it sounds like it is). If, however, your daughter indicates on her application that she is interested in pursuing a career in medicine or a related field, then missing out on biology entirely might work against her. In that case, if she really can't bear the thought of taking it at school, she might want to look into summer or online options.