College Admissions in Colorado- Admissions Eligibility

  • Colorado’s public four-year colleges and universities consider a number of factors in determining if an applicant is a good fit.  

    Note:  Students should be aware that the process outlined here only applies to Colorado’s public colleges and universities and can be changed by the university at any time.

    Students seeking admission to institutions out of state or private institutions should contact the admissions office at that institution.

    Colleges and universities look at a student's academic record to determine if they are likely to succeed at their institution. The guidelines below explain specifically what Colorado's public institutions consider when making admission decisions.

    To be clear, meeting or not meeting these standards does not guarantee admission. Students should check with the institution that they are interested in attending for specific details regarding their admission process.

    First-time freshmen admission standards

    For students who are applying to go to college right after high school graduation and have earned fewer than 13 college-level credit hours since high school graduation:

    Colorado public colleges and universities consider the following in making freshman admission decisions:

    • High School GPA

    • Test Scores (SAT and/or ACT)

    • Academic course mix and rigor (see below for more information)

    • Extracurricular activities and other considerations (includes internships, work, sports, leadership, etc.)

    Average Score Ranges

    The admission index previously used has been retired. Instead, institutions will provide GPA and ACT/SAT standards by providing the average score ranges for admitted students. For example, “50 percent of admitted students had between a 3.0 and 3.5 GPA, and 1040 to 1300 SAT.” The online College Admissions Tool for Colorado available to students already provides the 50 percent mid-range. 

    Academic course mix, rigor and grades

    Four-year colleges in Colorado know that academic preparation, especially in English and math, will make students more likely to be successful in college. The Higher Education Admission Recommendations (HEAR) detail the number of high school courses in each subject area it is recommended be completed to be a competitive candidate for admission (see the chart below.)

     If students have successfully completed a capstone or some other alternative form of learning in high school, colleges will consider it under their academic preparation review, provided it is included on the student’s high school transcript.

    Academic Area

    Recommended Number of Units


    4 units


    4 units*


    3 units

    Social Science

    3 units

    World Language

    2 units

    Academic Electives 

    2 units


    17 units

    A unit = one year of a high school course. For students taking 100+ college level courses while in high school, one semester = one unit.

    *Currently, the HEAR math recommendation is that students should complete up through Algebra 2. However, some college programs require freshmen students to be ready for calculus. If students know which program or area of study they wish to pursue in college, they should be advised to contact the admission or academic advising office at the institution they are considering for specific information.