Although academic requirements differ across colleges, the admissions requirements listed below are typical of 4 year colleges. The specific classes listed here are examples of the types of courses students can take.

English- 4 years
Types of classes: composition, American literature, English literature, world literature

Mathematics- 3 to 4 years
Types of classes: algebra I, algebra II, geometry, trigonometry, precalculus, calculus

History and Geography- 2 to 3 years
Types of classes: geography, U.S. history, U.S. government, world history, world cultures, civics

Laboratory Science- 2 to 3 years
Types of classes: Earth and space science, life sciences, physical sciences

Foreign Language- 2 to 3 years
Types of classes: French, German, Spanish, Latin, Russian, Japanese

Visual and Performing Arts- 1 to 3 years
Types of classes: art, dance, drama, music

Appropriate Electives- 1 to 3 years
Types of classes: economics, psychology, statistics, computer science, communications

Colleges look for breadth as well as mastery of basic science and mathematics. Among your electives, you should consider taking additional foreign language, world history, drafting, computer programming, international studies, economics, and art. In addition, participate in extracurricular activities that enhance your learning and provide unique experiences.


Take all of the important exams that colleges require:

PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test)
Taken your sophomore year, it will give you practice for taking the SAT and ACT.

SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or
ACT (American College Test)
Taken your Junior and/or senior year, colleges use these tests along with your grades to judge your application.

High scores on these exams plus high grades may allow you to win a National Merit Scholarship (for outstanding high school students) or a National Achievement Scholarship (especially for outstanding African-American students).


At the very least , to do well in the career of your choice, you must prepare yourself in the following areas:

Mastery of skills. You will need to master the skills required by the courses you will be taking to get a college degree. The type of degree you are seeking will determine the subject areas you must concentrate on, as well as recommendations for elective course work.

Computer skills. You should have the ability to work with spreadsheet, graphs, and word-processing software, as well as a familiarity with using the Internet and electronic mail.

Good writing skills. This ability cannot be emphasized enough. You need to write well to get good jobs, to communicate with the people with whom you work, to write papers for publication, or to perform any number of other important activities that your job will require.

Effective oral communication. As with good writing skills, your ability to communicate effectively cannot be emphasized enough. You must be able to communicate your thoughts and ideas clearly, and in a variety of settings, such as meetings, formal presentations , or lectures.


There are two basic types of colleges that offer academic programs:

Two-Year Colleges- These schools offer 2-year programs leading to a certificate, an associate of arts (A.A.) degree, an associate of science (A.S.) degree, or an associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree.
Four-Year Colleges and Universities- These schools usually offer a bachelor of arts (B.A.) or bachelor of science (B.S.) degree. Some also offer graduate and professional degrees.

Colleges look for breadth as well as mastery of basic mathematics, science, English, computer studies, and communications skills. Among your electives, you should consider taking more than 2 years of a foreign language, world history, international studies, economics, art, public speaking, writing, and other humanities courses.


4 Years of College

Choose a technical major: physics, chemistry, mathematics, pre-medicine, engineering, computer science, but take full advantage of the other disciplines. Most colleges require knowledge of pre-calculus before they permit you to take the scientific subjects. They also require that you have progressed through algebra, geometry and trigonometry. Understanding these subjects is essential for mastery of college science courses. As a college graduate there are many things you can do in education, government, and industry:

Teacher- Help students learn science and mathematics.

Electrical/Mechanical/Aerospace Engineer- Design experiments and hardware such as space propulsion systems.

Systems Programmer- Design, write, and maintain computer programs for scientific analysis or for controlling a telescope in space.

Systems Analyst- Improve the performance of complex systems such as making it easier for astronauts to conduct experiments on board a space station.

Laboratory Technician- Prepare and run experiments like drop tower tests to simulate micro gravity.

Research Technician- Assist scientists in analyzing detailed experimental data such as studying changes in an astronaut's heart rate in space.

Planetarium Assistant- Help prepare educational shows about astronomy for students and the public.

Technical Writer- Write articles about space science for newspapers, magazines, and educational journals.


2 to 3 Years Beyond College

Research Associate- Participate in rocket experiments or build new spacecraft. Assist in analyzing data for research projects such as mapping the planets and their moons.

Microbiologists- Engage in the search for microscopic evidence of the possible existence of life elsewhere in the solar system.

Statistician- Gather and analyze for large research projects, such as the study of Earth's climate.

Electronics Engineer- Design instruments and spacecraft systems for the harsh space environment.


4 to 7 Years Beyond College

University Professor/ Research Scientist- Teaching and research. Conduct space experiments to study the origin, nature, and future of the universe.

Science/ Engineering Manager- Manage large technical projects such as deep space probes and lead teams of scientists from universities and government laboratories.

Research Engineer- Develop new space and aeronautics technologies like those needed for an aerospace plane.

Applied Mathematician/ Computer Modeler- Develop mathematical models such as those used to simulate the behavior of an aircraft in flight or of a planetary atmosphere.


At your school or local library, explore career books or look at the following web sites to help you discover the many careers open to you. Can you list 10 different careers in the area that interests you?

Some Internet sites that contain useful information as you proceed with your career plans in the areas listed above are:


General career information can be accessed by using web search engines, such as: