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College Readiness in Math

Tips for current high school students and current middle school students who are planning for high school mathematics...

In today's technological society, it is important that all citizens have sufficient mathematical skills. The CLC Mathematics Department recommends that a high school student take 4 years of mathematics regardless of whether or not the student considers him or her self "college bound."

High school students: View a YouTube video about taking math in high school.

  • For high school students who are college bound, we recommend that by the time the student graduates from high school, the student has taken two full years of algebra (Algebra I and Algebra II), a proof based geometry course, and courses above the Algebra II level to complete 4 years of mathematics. For example, if a student takes Algebra I in middle school, we would recommend that the student take proof based geometry, Algebra II and two years of math beyond the Algebra II level in high school.

    Mathematics is by nature a subject that builds upon previous knowledge. Building upon a solid foundation is the key to success in mathematics. With that in mind, students should strive for an "A" level of understanding in all of their mathematics classes. Students may not be able to achieve a grade of A, but they should all have the goal of achieving a grade of A. Grades of D or below in high school mathematics courses will not be considered for prerequisites at CLC. Learn how high school coursework can be used to meet prerequisites at CLC.
  • High school graduates can still be CLC bound, even if they have not taken the college bound courses recommended during high school. CLC offers several programs whose mathematics requirements are not as stringent as those for a student who is planning on getting an A.A or A.S. degree or transferring to a 4 year college. Learn about the different career degrees and certificates that the college offers. Also, CLC offers developmental mathematics courses for adult students who are not yet ready to take a college level mathematics course.

Some words of caution for parents of young students who desire to have their student take mathematics classes at CLC before they have graduated from high school...

It is the goal of the Mathematics Department at CLC to ensure that students are successful in mathematics. It is for this reason that we do not recommend that students who are under 18 years of age and have not yet graduated from high school enroll in a CLC mathematics course. The exception would be for an academically gifted student who is beyond AP Calculus BC at the high school level.

Young and growing minds will best learn mathematics at a slower pace with a significant amount of practice provided and monitored. The pace at which students are required to learn in college is significantly different than the pace at which students are required to learn in high school. Mathematics classes in college meet for fewer days per week, cover the same or more material in less than half the time, and require significant time outside of class to master the material. Taking a mathematics course at CLC in the summer is more than four times as fast as that of a high school mathematics course! The amount of practice that is provided and monitored in college is minimal. Discover how learning mathematics in high school is different from learning mathematics in college.

The college format and pace are not the only reasons to demonstrate caution when considering sending a young student to CLC. A young student at CLC will be exposed to a peer group with an average age of 30 and a median age of 19. This may not be the optimal learning environment for a young student.

Developmental courses at CLC are not designed for young students. Although developmental courses at CLC mirror the content of a regular level Prealgebra, Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II in high school, these courses are designed to be a quick refresher for adult students who have already taken these classes in high school but have not yet demonstrated readiness to be successful in a college level mathematics course. Developmental courses are taught in a college format and at a college pace. Young students who require coursework in Prealgebra, Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II are best served by their local high school.

  • A high school student who has been unsuccessful in a high school mathematics course should not seek to retake the high school course at CLC! If a student was unsuccessful at the high school level and pace, taking the same course two to four times as fast will not be the best way to achieve success. The CLC Mathematics Department does not have a dual credit agreement with any high school.
  • For an academically gifted middle school student, developmental courses at CLC are not a substitute for honors courses in high school. Honors courses in high school are rich in content and higher order thinking skills and are designed to cover material in a greater depth than in a regular course in high school. Academically gifted middle school students should seek the help of their local high school in providing enrichment in mathematics. Middle school students should not be accelerated in mathematics at the cost of missing out on the enrichment provided by honors courses in high school. Parents: If you are looking for enrichment opportunities for your middle school student, in addition to seeking assistance from your local high school, consider the following:

CLC's Project Explore! (enrichment in a variety of areas for grades 6-8)