Graduation Requirements

Planning ahead for your college education and a specific career path has placed more emphasis on selecting the right courses in high school than ever before. With the help of your school guidance counselor, you should be right on track for college admission, and a scholarship or two. All of these have specific course requirements, and, by now, you should have selected the type of diploma you will receive, and be well on your way to graduation.

There are no established national graduation standards, and each state determines their own. Requirements of most states are quite similar. At the same time, the graduation requirements and entrance requirements for colleges and universities in each state are quite similar, making it easier for students to attend school in their home states.

There are several types of diplomas a student may receive.

Standard Diploma: all graduating students must have a minimum number of credit hours in required subjects to qualify. The number of hours range nationally from18-24, completed over four years, according to the guidelines of the specific state, and required courses include various levels of English, math, science, social studies, foreign language, and other electives.

Three Year Diploma: Some students may be allowed to graduate early, taking only three years to complete their high school education. Generally, permission of parents and guidance counselor are required to do this.

Diploma for Students with Disabilities: Requirements for these students vary from state to state to a great degree. For regulations in your state, go to the state board of education website for more information.

GED: This is a diploma earned by adults, 18 years of age or older, who never graduated from high school. Upon receipt of the GED, which is determined by testing,recipients may apply for college, community college or vocational/technical school.

When looking at college and scholarship applications, you will notice that each has its own individual requirements. In order to be a successful applicant, you will need to meet the requirements specified by each. To this end, there are various graduation plans that will help you reach your goal. The most common examples of these plans are college preparatory, honors college prep, and technical/vocational/career preparatory plans.

College Prep: This plan is aimed at the college bound student, and includes the number of credit hours and specific courses required for college admission. Consideration is given to overall grade point average and the student’s ranking in his or her class upon graduation. For many scholarship applications, minimum SAT and/or ACT scores are required. This type of plan is recommended whether you intend to immediately enter a 4-year institution, or will attend a 2-year community college, later transferring to the 4-year school to receive your Bachelor’s Degree.

Honors College Prep: If you wish to be considered for admission to a more selective college or university, this plan is for you. In addition to the requirements stated above, the student must have an outstanding record of academic achievement and have maintained a specified high GPA.

Technical, Vocational, or Career Prep: This plan is designed for the student preparing for technical career. Again, a minimum number of credit hours in specified courses such as English, science, and math are required to receive this diploma. However, there are also credit hours and courses required within each specific vocational or technical area.

Related Links and Resources

Requirements for Graduation

These requirements are specific to each state, and there is no national standard. However, the list is generally quite similar in each state To find yours, Google graduation requirements in your state for the complete list. The list can also be obtained from your high school guidance counselor. State university and college eligibility for admission based on high school credits generally coincide with the state’s requirements for graduation.

National High School Graduation Requirements

To find this very informative article, not only about credits required, but about assessment testing, grade point averaging and ACT/SAT scores, go to and search by the name of the article.

College Board

This website is jam packed with information about colleges, how to apply, what you need to apply, and how to get started. They have sections to tell you all about advanced placement classes, both the SAT and ACT exams, how to search for scholarship opportunities, and how to get federal financial assistance. Go to and let your fingers do the walking.

SAT and ACT Details

There is an excellent website that will give you a brief overview of all college entrance exams, from the SAT to the LSAT. It describes each of the categories of testing, what’s included on them, and gives basic scores. It goes on to name a number of resources to help you prepare for the exam. Finally, it has a comprehensive section on what to bring with you, what to expect, and what to do on the day of the test. Go to

In Like Me

One of the best online resources we have discovered is the In Like Me website for students headed to college. They state they are a “self-help resource hub – designed to bring together the disparate aspects of college-planning, application and student aid processes” all in one place. It has details about graduation credits required to enter college, college entrance exams, and a lot of other useful information. Go to and see what they have that can help you.

Home Schooling Graduation Requirements

Graduation requirements for students who have been home schooled are the same as those for students who have attended school in a classroom. There are honors and advanced placement classes available, and they have the advantage of taking both high school and university courses to get a jump start on their college careers. To find out about the actual graduation requirements, go to your state’s department of education website for details. For more information about home schooling, Google home schooling, graduation requirements.