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Scope and Sequence for College Bound

Question from Julie:

I just purchased College Algebra with Trig for my soon to be Sophomore. I always thought that colleges were looking for 5 years of math in high school, Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre Cal and Calculus. Is this an incorrect assmption on my part. What is the best way to list this on his transcript: Alg II or Pre Cal?

Answer from Dr. Callahan:

For the most part colleges do not really care as long as they have money and good enough scores on ACT and SAT. Sometimes the front line admin people will say they want things – but really they want money. 😉

So as far as math goes, you can break it up all kind of ways. The key is how much time did you spend and what does your school (cover) require. We see some who call it

Algebra
Geometry
Algebra II With Trig
Calculus

and others

Algebra
Geometry
Algebra II (do this course over longer period)
Trig
Calculus

or

Algebra
Geometry
Algebra II (do first few chapters of Alg II – say chapter 1-4)
Precalc (Do 5-8)
Calculus

So really just depends.

What I would suggest is to first find out where he plans to go to college (or the options including what specific fields of study) then contact them and ask what they would like to see. Once you get to the department level advisors, you will get some good counsel. And, I would do this no matter what. They might have other helpful hints you can use now. Do not worry about it being too soon. You are making a plan, and rather than listen to all the common advice about what they want to hear, just hear it from them.

But trust me, even in engineering we would never run off a student for lack of high school courses or high school grades. They are going to focus on those test scores and their own entrance/placement tests. (Which are written by the same people who write the ACT;)

Hope this helps.

dwc