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Frequently Asked Questions - HEAR

Page updated December 2, 2021

Why were the Higher Education Admission Recommendations adopted?

Numerous studies have shown that students completing a rigorous set of high school courses are better prepared to undertake college-level classes and subsequently are more successful academically. Research comparing students who complete challenging coursework with those who do not has found that students who complete Higher Education Admission Recommendations:

  • Achieve higher average scores on standardized exams;
  • Have a lower likelihood of needing remediation in college; and
  • Are retained and persist to degree completion at higher rates.

Additionally, college students who complete Higher Education Admission Recommendation coursework are more likely to earn a higher grade point average and complete a baccalaureate degree in a shorter period of time.

When did the Higher Education Admission Recommendations go into effect?

Formerly named Higher Education Admission "Requirements", phase I began with students graduating in spring 2008. Phase II applies to graduates in spring 2010 to present.

What public institutions in Colorado encourages me to complete the Higher Education Admission Recommendations courses in order to be competitive for admission?

  • Adams State University
  • Colorado Mesa University
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Colorado State University
  • Colorado State University—Pueblo
  • Fort Lewis College
  • Colorado Mesa University
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver (if applicant is under 20 years of age)
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Colorado Colorado Springs
  • University of Colorado Denver
  • University of Northern Colorado
  • Western Colorado University

Students who apply to one of Colorado’s 15 community colleges do not have to meet admissions standards associated with the four-year colleges/universities.

Will completion of the Higher Education Admission Recommendations guarantee my admission to a four-year college or university in Colorado?

No. The course recommendation is an addition to the CCHE Admissions Standards Policy for public higher education institutions. All four-year public institutions in Colorado utilize a holistic approach in making admission decisions. This means that insitutions consider a number of factors in making an admission decision, inclusing high school GPA, test scores, work experience, and more. Because of this holistic approach, if you do not fulfill the Higher Education Admission Recommendations you could still be competitive for admission if you have other academic areas of strength. Visit the College Admissions page for more information. 

Further, colleges and universities may have institutional admissions requirements that go beyond the pre-collegiate courses and the selective admissions standards established for each institution. Students are advised to work closely with the admissions staff at the college/university of choice for complete information about admission standards.

All two-year colleges in Colorado have open admissions policies. The Higher Education Admissions Recommendations do not apply to students entering a community college or to students entering Metropolitan State University of Denver if they are 20 years old or older.

I have a disability. Is it still recommended that I complete the Higher Education Admission Recommendations?

Yes. The course recommendations and the selective admissions standards will be factors in the admission decision for all students, even if an identified disability has resulted in a modified high school curriculum. Colorado's institutions of higher education have support services for admitted students with disabilities - if you have a disability, you are strongly encouraged to reach out to the institution's disability services office to receive the accomodations that will help you be successful in college. More information can be found on the Students with Disabilities page.

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II), Colorado’s collegiate institutions do not discriminate on the basis of the presence of a disability. However, students with disabilities still need to meet the institution’s “essential admissions requirements.” The pre-collegiate curriculum constitutes an essential admission requirement. For more information about the federal guidelines regarding students with disabilities in the college/university setting, go to

Who do I contact if I’m unsure if a course will fulfill a recommendation?

Contact the counseling office at your high school for specific course advice.

What are some other things I should do while I’m in high school to prepare me for college?

Visiting this page is a great step - so great job! Also it is important that you consult with your high school counselor for direction - work on that ICAP! Additionally, review the information on the Colorado Admission Page and vist My Colorado Journey for interactive guidance.