The College Prep Pathway
At Oak Park High School, there is a presumption that most students are working toward the goal of entering a two or four-year college upon graduation. With that assumption, we have posted here the activities and resources that will assist students each year of high school towards achieving that goal. There are 2,400+ four-year colleges and universities in the United States and they have varying levels of selectivity. Approximately 100 of them are considered “highly” selective. Another tier of colleges are considered “very” selective, then a huge number are ranked as simply “selective” and a final group is considered “non-selective.” The elements in a student’s profile that a college will evaluate in the selection procedure boil down to these things are listed in the order of their importance below:
- The strength of the academic curriculum (how rigorous or hard is the curriculum a student is taking)?
- How well did the student do in those courses (i.e. grades/GPA)? Click here to learn about how GPA & Class Rank are used in the college admission process.
- What are the results on national tests (i.e. the SAT test or the ACT, the SAT Subject Tests, and the APs)? For the 2020/21 application cycle, many colleges have gone TEST-OPTIONAL. Check on the college website.
- Is the student involved in any kind of extracurricular activities (sports, school government, clubs, church groups, community groups, work)?
- Letters of recommendation from a counselor and teachers.
- Well-managed application (strong essay, where required, demonstrated interest in college, where applicable).
The year-by-year timeline we have posted under the Site Shortcuts will help you pay attention to these steps so that the fall semester of a student's senior year proves to be the culmination of all of these steps.
While academic admission requirements are not the same for all colleges and universities, the year-by-year course recommendations (on the table below), are based on the admission requirements of the (UC) University of California, and the (CSU) California State University. These requirements are known as the "A-G" requirements. If students follow this pattern they will also be eligible for most major colleges and universities in the country.The University of California is the institution responsible for reviewing high school courses in the state of California to certify that they meet the college preparatory standard. To satisfy the UC subject requirements, students must complete 15 units of UC-approved high school coursework.A unit is equal to an academic year, or two semesters, of study - which would be a total of 30 semesters or 150 credits in the Oak Park system. At least 7 of the 15 units must be taken in the last two years of high school. Click hereto learn more about these requirements, as well as to view the list of courses at Oak Park High School that fulfill them:Oak Park High School subscribes to a state-of-the-art college & career service called Naviance to help parents and students navigate the difficult college admission process. Every OPHS student has a Naviance account. You can learn more by clicking here or on the Naviance logo above.
OPHS Recommended College Preparatory PathwayThe table below contains a suggested course of study at Oak Park High School that will not only earn a high school diploma but will meet the "a-g" subject requirements as well. Students who successfully complete the "a-g" requirement will not only be eligible for the UC & CSU systems but for most major universities in the country.
English II CP/H
English III, CP/H/AP
English IV CP Seminars/H/AP
US History CP/H/AP
Government CP, Economics CP/AP
Algebra 1A, Algebra 1, 1B or Geometry
Algebra 1B, Geometry, or Algebra II CP/H
Algebra II CP/H, or Finite Math, or Math Analysis CP/H or Calculus (AB) AP
Algebra II, or Finite Math, or Math Analysis, or Statistics CP/AP or Calculus (AB or B/C) AP
Foundations of Science CP
Foundations of Science CP or Biology CP/H/AP
Biology CP/H/AP or Chemistry CP/H/AP or
Chemistry CP/H/AP, Physics CP/AP 1 or AP 2, or Environmental Sci. CP/AP, or Anatomy & Physiology
World language I or elective
World Language I or II
World Language II/III/IV CP/H or CP/AP elective, or VPA
Wold Language IV/V AP and/or CP/AP elective, or VPA
"Fit over Rankings" a white paper from Stanford's Challenge Success program on about why College Engagement Matters More Than Selectivity