College Admissions in Colorado

Colorado’s public four-year colleges and universities use admission standards approved by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE).


Looking at academic achievement, community involvement and college preferences, the College Admissions Tool matches students to schools where they'll thrive. Check it out!

Colleges and universities look at a student's academic record to determine if they are likely to succeed at their institution. The guidelines below explain specifically what Colorado's public institutions consider when making admission decisions.

There are two sets of standards: for Top


To be clear, meeting or not meeting these standards does not guarantee admission. Students should check with the institution they are interested in attending for specific details regarding their admission process.

More on admissions policy

Freshmen

First-time freshmen admission standards

Will I be considered under freshmen admission standards?

Yes, if you...

  • are applying to go to college right after high school graduation; and/or
  • have earned fewer than 13 college-level credit hours since high school graduation



Your formula for success


As the above icons explain, Colorado public colleges and universities consider the following in making freshman admission decisions:

  • High School GPA
  • Test Scores—either SAT and/or ACT (if taking the SAT, visit the Khan Academy to prep for the exam)
  • Academic course mix and rigor (see below for more information)
  • Extracurricular activities and other considerations (includes internships, work, sports, leadership, etc.)


Currently: Public four-year institutions in Colorado use an admission index as a part of the admission process. The index is calculated by using a combination of a student’s GPA or high school rank and the SAT/ACT score. Click here for the index score matrix.

For students applying fall 2019 and after: The admission index will be retired. Instead, institutions will provide GPA and ACT/SAT standards by providing the average score ranges for admitted students. For example,“50 percent of admitted students had between a 3.0 – 3.5 GPA, and 1040 – 1300 SAT.” The online admission standards tool already provides the 50 percent mid-range.


Academic course mix, rigor and grades

Four-year colleges in Colorado know that academic preparation, especially in English and math, will make you more likely to be successful in college. The Higher Education Admission Requirements (HEAR) detail the number of high school courses in each subject area it is recommended you complete to be a competitive candidate for admission—see the chart below.

If you have challenged yourself by successfully completing AP/IB or college-level courses in high school, this will strengthen your application even more!

And if you successfully completed a capstone project or some other alternative form of learning at your high school, colleges will consider it under your academic preparation review, provided it is included on your high school transcript.

Academic Area Recommended Number of Units
English 4 Units
*Mathematics 4 Units
Natural Science 3 Units
Social Science 3 Units
World Language 1 Unit
Academic Electives 2 Unit
TOTAL 17 units

A unit = one year of a high school course. If you are taking a college level course while in high school, one semester = one unit.


*Currently, the HEAR math recommendation is that students should complete up through Algebra 2. However, some college programs require freshman students to be ready for calculus. If you know which program or area of study you with to pursue in college, contact the admission or academic advising office at the institution you are considering for specific information.

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Freshmen

Transfer admission standards

Will I be considered under transfer admission standards?

Yes, if you...

  • graduated from high school (or earned a GED, HiSet or TASC); and
  • earned more than 12* credit hours of college-level courses AFTER high school graduation.



Your formula for success

 

As the above icons explain, Colorado public colleges and universities consider the following in making transfer admission decisions:

  • Combined GPA from all colleges attended (only college work taken after high school graduation)
  • Academic course mix and rigor
  • Extracurricular activities and other considerations (includes internships, work, sports, leadership, etc.)
  • **High school transcripts if you have completed fewer than 30 college credit level credit hours since high school graduation


Each public four-year institution in Colorado recommends a minimum transfer GPA. See below:


Receiving Institution Recommended Minimum GPA
Colorado School of Mines 2.70
University of Colorado Boulder 2.70
Colorado State University 2.50
Fort Lewis College 2.40
University of Colorado Colorado Springs 2.40
University of Colorado Denver 2.40
University of Northern Colorado 2.40
Adams State University 2.30
Colorado State Global Campus 2.30
Colorado State University - Pueblo 2.30
Colorado Mesa University 2.30
Western State Colorado University 2.30
Metropolitan State University of Denver 2.30

Check with the institution you are interested in applying to for more specifics regarding their standards and process. Also, be sure to visit the transfer course page for details on course transfer agreements on getting course credit for prior learning!

*For students applying fall 2019 and after: The number of college credit hours successfully earned will change from “over 12” to “24 and over” to be considered under transfer admission standards.

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Admissions Info

More information on admission standards


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