WHAT YOU NEED TO GRADUATE:
High school students in Minnesota need to fulfill a variety of course requirements to graduate. All school districts set their own graduation requirements, which usually go beyond what the state requires.
Here are Minnesota's high school graduation standards for current freshmen -- those who will graduate in 2010:
English -- Four credits.
Math -- Three credits, encompassing algebra, geometry, and statistics and probability.
Science -- Three credits, including one in biology.
Social studies -- Three and a half credits, encompassing U.S. history, world history, geography, economics, and government/citizenship.
Arts -- One credit.
Health/Physical Education -- No state requirement. Local district decision.
World languages -- No state requirement. Local district decision.
Career and technical education -- No state requirement. Local district decision.
WHAT YOU NEED TO GET INTO COLLEGE:
In addition to the courses required by the state, most colleges and universities expect incoming freshmen to have taken at least two years of a foreign language.
This is true of the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, or MnSCU.
The state universities generally will accept you if you meet any of these criteria:
Class rank -- In the top half of your high school graduating class.
ACT score of 21 or higher (highest possible score is 36).
SAT score of 1,000 or higher (highest possible score is 1,600).
Minnesota's students typically are at or near the top when it comes to ACT scores. In 2006, Minnesota's average composite score on the ACT was 22.3, highest in the country, compared to the national average of 21.1.
Wisconsin was a close second, with an average score of 22.2, and Iowa was third with 22.1.
A greater number of high school students are doing college-level course work, and getting college credit for it.
About 20 percent of Minnesota high school students earn college credit while in high school, usually through advanced placement courses. Students must pass a test in the particular subject area to earn the credit.
In 2004, 64 percent of Minnesota high school graduates entered college the fall after they graduated. However, 36 percent of public high school graduates took remedial courses within two years of entering college.
Higher education officials are keeping their eye on the changing demographics of college students. In Minnesota, the makeup of high school graduates will change significantly by 2014.
Compared to 2004 numbers, they expect a decline in the number of white students of 17 percent, while the number of students of color will increase by 40 percent.