Higher Education Admission Recommendations

In 2003, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education adopted the Higher Education Admission Requirements (changed to “Recommendations” in 2018), which provide a high school course mix and rigor guideline for students planning to attend any of Colorado’s public four-year colleges or universities. The recommendations were implemented in in two phases: Phase 1 for students graduating in 2008 and 2009, and Phase 2 for students graduating in 2010 and beyond. Private colleges and universities set their own admission standards, so students should contact those institutions directly for information regarding their enrollment policies. Additionally, public two-year colleges have open enrollment policies, meaning that students applying to these schools do not need to meet the following admissions recommendations.

Students planning to attend a four-year college or university in Colorado will should complete the following classes in order to fulfill the Higher Education Admission Recommendations (HEAR). HEAR is one factor of many that public four-year institutions consider in the admission decision process. Visit the CDHE Admission webpage to learn about all admission review factors.

Meeting HEAR does not guarantee admission to a four-year public institution. Additionally, colleges, universities and certain academic programs may have additional admission factors.

Academic Area

2008/2009 Graduates

2010+ Graduates

English*

4 years

4 years

Mathematics  (Must include Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II or equivalents)**

3 years

4 years

Natural/Physical Sciences (two units must be lab-based)**

3 years

3 years

Social Sciences (at least one unit of U.S. or world history)

3 years

3 years

World/Foreign Language***

not required

1 year

Academic Electives****

2 years

2years

*Two units of ESL English may count for HEAR recommendations when combined with two units of successfully completed college preparatory English.
**College-preparatory ESL mathematics/science courses that include content and academic rigor/level comparable to other acceptable courses may satisfy HEAR recommendations.
***American Sign Language (ASL) courses can count toward the Word/Foreign Language recommendation.

****Acceptable Academic Electives include additional courses in English, mathematics, natural/physical sciences and social sciences, foreign languages, art, music, journalism, drama, computer science, honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate courses, and appropriate CTE courses.

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education does not review individual high school courses to determine whether or not they meet Colorado’s Higher Education Admissions Recommendations. Because local school districts in Colorado oversee their high school curricula and colleges and universities establish their own entrance standardss, it is their discretion to determine what coursework meets HEAR.

Other Resources

Page updated Oct. 23, 2018