A-G Requirements

Can someone explain what A-G requirements mean in college? I understand what classes I have to take and everything but how does meeting this requirement impact me in college? What if I was not on A-G would that make college harder if I want to go community college then transfer?

A-G courses are the HS classes that need to be completed to apply to the California UC’s and Cal States. Basically they are core classes such as Math, English, Foreign Language, History and Visual/Performing Arts which makes you a well rounded HS student and help prepare for college coursework.

Below is the list for the UC’s and Cal states:
Complete a minimum of 15 college-preparatory courses (a-g courses) with a letter grade of C or better, with at least 11 courses finished prior to the beginning of your last year of high school.

The 15 courses are:

a. History-2 years
b. English-4 years
c. Mathematics-3 years
d. Laboratory science-2 years
e. Language other than English or equivalent to the 2nd level of high school instruction-2 years
f. Visual and performing arts-1 year
g. College-preparatory elective (chosen from the subjects listed above or another course approved by the university)

Differences between UC and CSU course requirements:

Each HS would have their own requirements for graduation/HS diploma. If you do not plan to attend a UC or Cal State but instead want to attend a community college, then you would need to take the HS graduation course requirements which may not necessarily be all a-g courses. However, If you are a California HS student, most likely the majority of your HS graduation requirements are also a-g courses.

Thank you for answering, so if I don’t take all a-g courses would that impact me if I then wanted to transfer to a four year after community college?

If you plan to transfer to a 4 year University from a California Community college, the courses you take at the community college and your transfer GPA achieved there will be what is important to help facilitate your transfer if you are targeting UC’s or CSU’s. They do not consider HS grades, SAT/ACT scores etc. since they only accept Junior level transfers with 60 semester/90 quarter units from a community college.

If you want to transfer to some out of state or private universities as a Sophomore level transfer, then your HS GPA, test scores and HS classes will be considered.

as a practical matter, it is probably best to take the full list in high school so you have the option to apply/attend if you change your mind and want to go straight to a CSU or UC.

Does is make any difference if – rather than transferring at sophomore level – you go to a private school after completing your senior year of highschool?

Some a-g courses are essential for college preparation; if you do not take them (or take only the minimum), you may have to take remedial courses in college, which costs extra money and time before you can transfer to a four year school.

  • English: Colleges will often require two semesters of English composition courses. Students with weaker high school English backgrounds may have to take additional remedial courses first. Students who have earned high enough AP scores after taking advanced English courses may be able to skip one or two semesters.
  • Math: The minimum a-g requirement is geometry and algebra 2 (intermediate algebra). Graduation from college typically requires more advanced math and/or statistics. In high school, it is best to continue math through precalculus or calculus.
  • Foreign language: Colleges may have foreign language requirements to transfer (into a four year school) or graduate. The more you complete in high school, the higher you can start in college and complete the requirements with fewer courses.
  • Science: The college courses in sciences like chemistry and physics often assume a high school level knowledge of the subject.

Even with private colleges and universities, the stronger your high school preparation, the better you are likely to do in college and the less likely you are to need remedial course work.

Your wording is very generalized and my question is specific. This does not help, could someone try to tailor their answer to the question?

The a-g HS courses cover the admission requirements for the CA publics and most likely all of the private universities you apply. If you have specific private universities in mind, you can look up the Freshman admission requirements on their website. The Courses listed by @ucbalumnus are requirements most commonly recommended for Freshman admission at any college. If you are CA HS student, your HS graduation requirements will usually follow the a-g course list.

If you are not a CA HS student, then like I stated above, check each target schools website for Freshman admission course requirements.
Figure on at least 4 years English, 3 years Math, 2-3 years Social Science/History, 2-3 years Foreign Language, 2-3 years Science, possibly 1 year of Art/Music/Theater etc…
This curriculum is common to most HS’s but you will need to meet your own HS’s graduation requirements which may different to apply to college.

Any recommendations if they should take for science for the A-G? My DD is taking Chemistry but thinking APES and then AP Physics. She will be taking PreCal Honors and wasn’t sure if that is the right math to go with AP Physics or to wait. She is thinking a heavier AP-loaded Junior year and want to make sure she has enough math to take AP physics… appreciate your insight…

I would recommend taking Calculus with AP Physics senior year if that is track she is on currently. My sons found AP Calculus and AP Physics complimented each other very well. If she has Chemistry now, has she taken a Biology class?

I also recommend she takes classes that interest her and not just for the college admissions.

It can also depend upon the other classes she is taking in conjunction with the science courses.

Having good HS course rigor is important but the UC’s and Cal states would like to see the continuation of rigor in Senior year also so although Junior year is important, so is Senior year. Getting a good balanced schedule can be important.

Thank you Gumbymom!

I was thinking AP Calculus with AP Physics might be better also. She already took Biology in Freshman year, Chemistry Sophomore year right now. I would like her to take AP Biology but she is interested in APES (even though it is considered an easy AP…) She is not sure of her field of interest but loves the history and reading aspect of any class… she is currently taking AP Art History and doing quite well -