In order to graduate high school anywhere, you will need to earn credits in order to meet your state, local, and school requirements. These requirements are set by the state and local governments and dictate what requirements your school administration can add to the more general state list.
If you live in Colorado, you have come to the right place! This article will be focused on the high school graduation requirements in Colorado, so although the requirements might be similar if you live in other states, there will be some slight differences. We’ll be talking about what you will need in order to meet the minimum state requirements in Colorado.
What Do High School Credits Mean?
High school credits are what you earn for taking classes during your time in high school. They are what help determine if you pass high school or fail it. They are also used to determine what grade level you are in at any point during high school, but we’ll discuss that a little more later on in this article.
The easiest way to count credits is by counting the number of courses you have passed during high school. Typically, one course is equal to one credit in high school, although this can vary slightly between different schools and states. Make sure you include any high school courses you took before starting your freshman year of high school, as those credits will also count.
In order to pass a class and receive a credit, you will need to achieve at least a 60%. This means that if your grade falls below a D and into the F range, you will not receive credit for that course and will likely have to retake the course sometime in the future.
Each state has graduation requirements that dictate what credits a student must have completed in order to graduate. Since each state has its own requirements, you can find out what your state’s requirements are by searching “high school graduation requirements by state” and just putting in your state’s name.
7 Requirements to Graduate High School in Colorado
The requirements to graduate high school in Colorado are very similar to other states in that they are divided into different subject areas. These are the main subject areas and the requirements you must meet in each of them in order to graduate in Colorado:
You need to have at least three math credits in order to graduate, although most high schools require you to have four math credits. Those credits must go through at least algebra 2, but anything past that is up to you at most schools.
In the state of Colorado, you need to take four credits of English. The state requires no further information about what English courses you take, only that you need to have four credits to graduate.
You need four science credits to graduate in Colorado. Of those four credits, at least two need to be lab courses, but the other two are up to you. Most high schools will require that you take chemistry, physics, and biology, but that is up to the school you attend.
Social science is a broad category covering courses like world history, economics, and government. In this category, you need at least three credits in order to graduate, but most schools have specific requirements for this category.
Some states require you to have a full credit in PE, but Colorado only requires that you have half a credit of PE in order to graduate. This is typically combined with the health category and, in some schools, can be fulfilled by enrolment in school athletics.
Colorado requires that you take at least half of a credit of health during your time in high school. How each school chooses to fit this half credit in can vary greatly, but they do need to offer students a health course.
You need another five and a half credits in order to graduate high school in Colorado. Even though we have all these specific categories that we’ve discussed, those credits don’t come close to the number you need for graduation, so, to fill in the gap, you must take electives.
High school electives could be art or music. They could be languages. These could also be more credits in any of the previous categories. For example, if you love math, you could take extra math courses in order to reach your final goal of 26 credits.
How Many High School Credits to Graduate in Colorado?
Knowing how many credits to graduate high school in total can feel a little overwhelming since the state and your school will likely have very different requirements. Your school is required to have their graduation requirements meet those that the state sets for them, but most schools choose to require more. As long as you meet the requirements set forth by your school, you should be meeting the state requirements.
To graduate high school in the state of Colorado, you will need a minimum of 26 credits. Most high schools in Colorado require that you have more credits than the state minimum in order to graduate, so make sure that you follow what your school says. Even if you are in an online school or using a homeschool curriculum, it will almost certainly require more credits than the state.
Can You Graduate Early in Colorado?
Graduating early, or before the year you originally intended to, is hard, but it is possible in Colorado, just like in any other state. Your intended graduation year is determined as four school years after you enter high school. The group of students also intending to graduate after four years of high school with you is considered your cohort.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to cohorts and graduation years is that they don’t matter in high school. Before high school, you are in the grade the state says you should be in based on age. Once you enter high school, which grade you are in or which year of high school you are in depends entirely on the number of credits you have.
Here is a high school credits chart that shows how many credits you need to be considered for each of the four traditional levels or grades of high school:
|Freshman (9th grade)||9|
|Sophomore (10th grade)||15|
|Junior (11th grade)||22|
|Senior (12th grade)||26|
If you want to pursue graduating either a semester or a year early, you will still need to make sure that you complete all the requirements. You can do this by finding a way to fit them into your schedule during the normal academic year, or you can take some extra courses over the summer to meet all your requirements.
Taking summer classes is a common way that students can graduate early. While it might not be exactly how you envision spending your summer, it is a great option for students looking to graduate high school early. Fitting all your required courses into only three years of school can be next to impossible in some schools, so summer courses are your best bet.
Wrapping Things Up: How Many Credits to Graduate High School in Colorado?
Figuring out the number of Colorado high school credits to graduate high school might seem overwhelming, but your school will do most of the work for you. As long as you plan out your courses and have time to take all your math, science, English, social studies, and other requirements, you should be well on your way to graduating high school on time with your original cohort of students!
Want to see how many credits it takes to graduate from high school in other states?