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Admissions Eligibility


Updated college/university enrollment deadlines due to recent FAFSA changes

Click here for deadline updates due to recent FAFSA changes. 

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Colorado is Test Optional

On May 25, 2021, it became state law that Colorado's public four-year colleges and universities do not need to require SAT or ACT scores for the admission process.

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Legacy Not Considered in Admission

Colorado's public four-year colleges and universities can no longer consider legacy in the admission process. This means that applicants can no longer benefit in the admission process if they had family attend the institution to which they are applying.

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College Admissions in Colorado


Admission standards at Colorado’s public four-year colleges and universities

Four-year colleges and universities consider a number of factors in determining if an applicant is a good fit and will likely succeed at their institution. The guidelines below explain what Colorado's public institutions review when making admission decisions. (Note: As Colorado two-year, community, and area technical colleges are open enrollment, they do not have academic admission requirements.)

While most four-year institutions charge an admission application fee, nearly all offer fee waivers year-round for applicants who might need it. Click on the box below for instructions on requesting a fee waiver at Colorado's colleges and universities:

Application Fee Waiver Instructions


There are two main admission policy categories:

First-time freshmen admission

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 24 college-level credit hours since high school graduation.

Your formula for success

Freshmen Admission Standards

Colorado public four-year colleges and universities consider a mix of factors in making freshman admission decisions:

  • High School GPA
  • Test Scores (optional to submit)—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.)

High School GPA and Test Scores

Chart for GPA and Test Score Ranges of Admitted Freshmen
This chart provides the average GPA and ACT/SAT ranges for students Colorado colleges and universities have admitted. For example, “50 percent of admitted students had between a 3.0 -3.5 GPA and 1040 – 1300 SAT.” 

These ranges are NOT admission requirements but a guide to the admission standards at each institution. Students who have below the listed 50 percent ranges can still be competitive for admission if they are strong in other areas of their academic profile.

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 Recommendations (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 Honors, 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 education at your high school, colleges will consider it under your academic preparation review, provided it is included on your high school transcript.

Academic AreaRecommended Number of Units
English4 Units
*Mathematics4 Units
Natural Science3 Units
Social Science3 Units
World Language1 Unit
Academic Electives2 Unit
TOTAL17 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.

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 student earns a "C" or higher in ENG 121: English Composition, the English area in HEAR will be considered as satisfied. Satisfying HEAR does NOT mean satisfying your high school's graduation requirements. Also, some institutions and majors have additional admission requirements - check for more information with the admission offices for the institutions you are interested in attending.

*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 wish to pursue in college, contact the admission or academic advising office at the institution you are considering for specific information.

GED, HiSET and TASC High School Equivalency Exams
Students without a high school diploma must provide a high school equivalency exam score. In Colorado, state colleges and universities accept scores from the following exams for admission consideration: GED; HiSET and TASC.

Scores for minimum admission consideration are listed below for each exam:

  • GED (taken 2014 and after): 145 or above in each content area;
  • HiSET: 8 on each subtest; 2 on the essay; 45 combined score;
  • TASC: 500 on each subject area; 2 out of 8 on the Writing essay.

Please note that meeting minimum required scores on these exams does not guarantee admission. As with other applicants, institutions may consider academic rigor in high school and college courses completed, grades, and assessment scores from other exams. Check with the admission office at the institution you are interested in for more information.

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
  • complete more than 24* credit hours of college-level courses AFTER high school graduation.

Your formula for success

Colorado public colleges and universities consider the following in making transfer admission decisions:

  • Combined GPA from all colleges attended after high school graduation*
  • Academic course mix and rigor
  • Extracurricular activities and other considerations (includes internships, work, sports, leadership, etc.)

*While college courses taken before high school graduation are not used to calculate the transfer GPA, they will still be considered in the admission decision and reviewed for transferability.

Look below for the recommended transfer GPA for each public four-year institution in Colorado. Meeting the recommended transfer GPA will assist students in being competitive for admission; however, it is not a requirement for admission to meet this GPA. See below:

Receiving InstitutionRecommended GPA
Colorado School of Mines2.70
University of Colorado Boulder2.70
Colorado State University2.50
Fort Lewis College2.40
University of Colorado Colorado Springs2.40
University of Colorado Denver2.40
University of Northern Colorado2.40
Adams State University2.30
Colorado State Global Campus2.30
Colorado State University - Pueblo2.30
Colorado Mesa University2.30
Metropolitan State University of Denver2.30
Western State Colorado University2.30

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!

Guaranteed Transfer Admission:

Transfer student applicants will be guaranteed admission to almost all Colorado public four-year institutions of higher education if they meet the following conditions. (Please note that these conditions are only required to be eligible for the transfer admission guarantee; applicants can still be admissible without meeting the below requirements):

  • Must have earned an Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Sciences (AS) degree from a Colorado public two-year institution;
  • 2.5 combined GPA from all institutions attended;
  • Completed all courses with a grade of C or better; and
  • A Colorado public two-year institution is the last institution they attended prior to transfer.

Guaranteed Transfer Admission Exceptions:

  • Colorado School of Mines does not participate in the transfer admission guarantee. Please visit their website for specific information regarding their admission process
  • University of Colorado Boulder, University of Colorado Denver, and University of Colorado Colorado Springs require completion of the University of Colorado Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS) for guaranteed transfer admission.
  • Each institution reserves the right to refuse a student based on some types past criminal or disciplinary action, according to institutional campus safety/conduct guidelines. (Refer to the institution for details).
  • Admissions to an institution does not guarantee enrollment in a specific degree program. Institutions may have controlled entry due either to space limitations or academic requirements.
  • Students who complete an AA or AS degree concurrently while in high school may qualify for guaranteed admissions to an institution and subsequently may be held to additional criteria for determining students eligibility for specific degree programs. These students will be reported as first-time applicants and may be held to additional institutional expectations of first-time applicants.

These standards are a general guideline to college admission in Colorado. Students should check with the institution they are interested in attending for specific details regarding their admission process.


More information on admission standards