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Finish High School

The first step to college? Making sure you graduate high school. All DC public schools and public charter schools have the same minimum academic requirements to qualify for a high school diploma.

Do you have what it takes to graduate? Check this list.

If you entered 9th grade in 2006-07 or earlier, you’ll need at least this many units in the following subject areas:

Subject Area Units Got It!
Art 0.5
Career/Vocational Education 1.0
DC History and Government 0.5
Electives 4.5
English 4.0
Foreign Languages 2.0
Health and Physical Education 1.5
Mathematics 3.0
Music 0.5
Science, including 1 unit of lab science 3.0
U.S. Government 0.5
U.S. History 1.0
World Geography 0.5
World History 1.0
Total 23.5
PLUS 100 hours of community service

If you entered 9th grade in 2007-08 or later, these are the subjects and units you’ll need. At least one of the courses must include a formal culminating project or composition and be completed for credit during your junior or senior year.

Subject Area Units Got It!
Art 0.5
Career/Technical Education or College-Level Course 2.0
Electives 1.5
English 4.0
Health and Physical Education 1.5
Mathematics, including Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II 4.0
Music 0.5
Science, including 3 units of lab science 4.0
Social Studies, including World History I and II, DC History, U.S. Government, and U.S. History 4.0
World Languages 2.0
Total 24.0
PLUS 100 hours of community service

Go Beyond the the Minimum

The high school admission requirements are the minimum you need to graduate. If you can, you should push yourself and take more advanced classes. Here’s why:

  • You may need more to get into college. Grades are important, but colleges also look at whether you have stretched yourself and taken the most challenging classes you can. Many colleges require you to take additional units of core subjects, like English, math, or science, to be considered for admission. For some majors, like pre-med or sciences, they’ll also want you to keep on taking rigorous courses in those subject areas during your junior and senior years high school.
  • You may be able to earn college credit while in high school, which means you can graduate college faster, so it may cost less.
  • You may qualify for more scholarships to help pay for college.

Don’t be disappointed! Check out the admission requirements of colleges that interest you and search the scholarship list to see eligibility requirements. If you’re not on track to earn the required units before graduation, talk to your school counselor to see how you can make up what you’re missing. 

( 4 Votes )



Mardez is a junior at Anacostia and wants to have his own graphic design firm ... view video (0:51)


Electives are an opportunity to explore your interests.