Post-Secondary Planning Considerations

  • The best way to prepare for a four year college is for students to challenge themselves while in high school by taking rigorous courses in core subjects. Even if students have completed the high school’s graduation requirements, it will increase chances for success in college by taking more advanced mathematics, science, English and social studies courses.

    Most four-year colleges and universities require the following, at a minimum, for admission:

    • Four years of English (including composition and literature)
    • Three and one-half years of Social Studies (including one year each of U.S. history and geography) 
    • Three years of Mathematics* (including two years of algebra and one year of geometry)  
      • Some colleges are now requiring four years of math, including University of Minnesota's Twin Cities, Duluth, Morris and Rochester campuses
    • Three years of Science (including one year each of a biological and physical science) 
    • Two years of a single World Language 
    • One year of either World Culture or Fine Arts

    Public two-year colleges accept all high school graduates and GED holders.  However, some programs offered at these schools are more selective and have higher admissions standards and waiting lists to get in. Some students find they must spend a semester or even two just getting ready to enter a two-year career program by taking basic required courses they could have taken in high school. That is why high school preparation is so important. Students who master core subjects while in high school save money and time in college.

    Associate Degrees

    Associate degree programs require the equivalent of two years of full-time study. They are designed to either prepare individuals for an occupation, or to provide a foundation for the completion of a bachelor’s degree. Some general education courses are included in associate degree programs such as English and mathematics.

    Bachelor's Degrees

    All baccalaureate, or bachelor’s degrees, require the equivalent of at least four years of full-time study. The degree includes both general courses and advanced course work in a defined area of study, typically called a major. There are hundreds of programs of study that lead to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), or discipline-specific bachelor’s degrees such as the Bachelor of Music or the Bachelor of Fine Arts.

    College Entrance Exams

    Four-year colleges and universities in Minnesota require that students perform satisfactorily on an entrance test such as the American College Test (ACT) or Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).

    Lakeville South’s testing code is 241-326


    The ACT tests four areas including English, math, science, and reading. There is also an optional 30-minute writing test that students may request when registering for the ACT.  It is not possible to register for a separate ACT Writing Test; it must be taken in addition to and at the same time as the four subject area tests. Students should check if the writing portion is required for admission to their potential college. 

    More information about the ACT Assessment and the Writing Test is available at the


    The SAT contains three sections: critical reading, math, and writing. An optional essay section is based on reading a passage, analyzing it and composing an essay in a 50-minute time period. Students should check if the essay portion is required for admission to their potential college.

    More information about the SAT is available at

    Learn More at the Career Center

    Visit the Career Center for more information or assistance. Use MCIS for more help in researching or narrowing down college choices or education majors. The Educational Sort tool in MCIS is a great way to see what colleges offer, the size, major or activities you want, among other things!

    See Amy Juaire in the Career Center or email if you need assistance logging on or help navigating the system.