Complete or Correct Your 2024-25 FAFSA/ CASFA Today!


Higher Education Admission Recommendations

Students planning to attend a four-year college or university in Colorado 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.

The successful completion (grade "C" or better) of a college-level course while in high school will satisfy HEAR for the relevant subject area. For example, if a high school student earns a "C" or higher in ENG 121: English Composition, the English area in HEAR will be considered as satisfied. Note: satisfying HEAR does NOT mean satsifying your high school's graduation requirements - your school district may have additional requirements.

Academic Area

2008/2009 Graduates

2010 and After Graduates


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



*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 standards, it is their discretion to determine what coursework meets HEAR.

Other Resources

History of HEAR

In 2003, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education adopted the Higher Education Admission Requirements (changed to “Recommendations” in 2018 to more accurately reflect that it is not required for admission to fulfill HEAR), 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 HEAR, however, it will certainly benefit their success if they do.

Page updated June 3, 2021