High School Course Work

What if I receive a poor grade in an “a-g” course?

Academic Advising by UC Davis Undergraduate Admissions Officer

EAOP Student Receiving Academic Advising by UC Davis Undergraduate Admissions Officer

Talk to your high school counselor immediately. You may have several different options:

  • Retaking the course (this is the option that should be taken whenever possible)
  • Taking a comparable course at a community college
  • Taking an approved online course

Your counselor will help you make the best decision. The key is to address this quickly!

What do college admissions reviewers look for when examining a student’s extra-curricular activities?

Colleges prefer to see sustained participation over time in a few activities, rather than minimal participation in numerous clubs. A strong applicant will demonstrate service in leadership roles.

How many AP classes should I take?

A student should only take as many classes as they feel comfortable in taking. A student should take into consideration the amount of workload because although AP classes look good, doing well in these classes looks even better. For example, a student who obtains an A in two AP classes looks better than a student who gets C’s in 4 AP classes.

My child is unable to participate in after-school academic enrichment activities. Do any such activities take place at other times?

Some activities take place on the weekends or in the summer. Also look for opportunities that may be short-term (a couple of weeks) since adjusting your family's schedule for shorter periods may be easier.

Understanding the a-g's

College Banners On Brick Wall

College banners created by High School Students.

Take the Right Classes

Students are considered for admission to the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) based on three main things: completion of college prep classes (known as a-g classes) , the grades earned in these classes, and test scores on college entrance  tests.  These classes are known as the “A-G” classes. Here is more information about A-G and a guide to help you plan your classes; the Knowhow2go site also has great tools to help you plan for college. 

What do you mean by “A-G”?

There are 7 subjects, organized from ‘A-G’ that you have to pass in high school (you must earn a 'C' or better) if you want to be considered for a UC or CSU campus. There are 15 classes you have to complete within the 7 subjects. Algebra 1 or a language other than English class taken in 7th and 8th grade count.

Is this the same as high school graduation requirements?

No, high school graduation requirements and a-g requirements are different, but there is some overlap. For example, most high schools require you to complete 2 years of PE to graduate, but PE is not a part of the a-g requirements; you need 4 years of English to graduate from high school AND 4 years of English are a part of the a-g requirements.

Why should I complete the A-G subject requirements?

Besides being required to meet eligibility for a UC/CSU, completing these requirements will prepare you for college-level work, regardless of which college you decide to attend. Take as many a-g classes as you can; the more classes you take, the more prepared you will be, and the more competitive you will be.

How will I know which high school classes count as a-g?

Great question! Not all classes at the high school are considered “A-G approved”. To find out which classes at your high school are a-g approved, look at the course list. Your school submits classes for college prep credit approval. Once the classes are approved they are added to the list. If a class is not on the list the year you take the class, it does not help you meet the a-g requirements.

What is a course list?

Participating high schools in California provide information about the college prep classes offered at the school to the UC Office of the President (UCOP). UCOP approves the classes as “A-G” and keeps this list updated with help from the school. You should print the course list for your high school every year. Go to https://hs-articulation.ucop.edu/agcourselist#/list/search/all. Type in the name of your high school, select the school year, then click Search. The school counselor will also have the list of “a-g” courses