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Preparation for College Entrance

The philosophies of education, specific course requirements, other qualifications for acceptance vary among the nation's colleges and universities. All, however, recognize the desirability of a broad education with a strong foundation in the traditional solid academic subjects.

You are evaluated for admission not only in terms of grades achieved, but also with respect to the strength of the academic program undertaken. You ought to take the strongest possible academic program available within your personal limitations during all four years of high school.

A rigorous secondary school preparation remains the best means by which you can be assured of maximizing the benefits to be derived from a challenging college education.

Admission to College

Admission to college is usually quite competitive. In order to insure consideration by a college admissions committee, students should begin planning for college in the eighth grade by giving serious deliberation to course selections for high school.

Each college has its own admission requirements and sets its own priorities. When you apply to college, the admissions office collects a folder of information to consider as it makes a decision about you. There are six main areas normally considered.

  1. Academic record and school recommendation
  2. Class Standing
  3. GPA
  4. Test Scores
  5. Activities
  6. Unique characteristics of the applicant

College Entrance Examinations

The vast majority of colleges require that you take one or more standardized tests for admission. The number depends on the college's policy. It is important to remember that test scores are a part of the total applicant profile, and at most institutions test scores alone do not exclude you from admission, nor do scores alone guarantee admission. Recently, some colleges have changed or eliminated the standardized test requirements as part of the admissions process so be sure to check the policy of the colleges you are applying to before you take the test.

The two most common test programs are the SAT Reasoning Test and the American College Testing Program (ACT). Also available is the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT). Here is the site to register for the SAT: Collegeboard.org. Here is the site to register for the ACT: ACT.org.

Colleges may also require SAT Subject tests. SAT Subject tests are one hour for each subject area. You may take one to three tests on any given test date.

It is your responsibility to register for all tests and arrange for the results to be sent to the institution of your choice. It is recommended that you register for at least the following tests:

Fall of 10th and 11th grade             


Spring of 11th grade SAT or ACT
Fall of 12th grade

SAT or ACT             

If you elect or are required to participate in the ACT program for admissions you should arrange to take the test in the spring of your junior year or fall of your senior year.

SAT Subject tests should be taken as required by the college or university.

College Entrance Unit

A college entrance unit is the equivalent of five credits in a single academic subject. A semester course of 2.5 credits equals one-half college entrance unit. Acceptable units are determined by the college in question. The minimum for college admissions is usually 16 units. Normally a student earns a minimum of four college entrance units each year.

Most colleges consider the following program appropriate for admissions:


4 units

Mathematics    3 units minimum - 4 will give students the best possible preparation
Social Studies      3 or more units
World  Language        2-3 units of the same language - a world language is required by some colleges and
recommended by almost all
Science 3 or more units - 3 years of Lab Sciences are recommended, even if you don't plan to
pursue a Science related field

Additional units to total 16 or more. Just meeting the minimum is not necessarily the best way to prepare for college. Strong preparation means going beyond the minimum – taking Honors or Advance Placement where appropriate. Remember: be the best that you can be!

Mount Olive High School
18 Corey Road Flanders, NJ 07836
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