Originally Posted: Aug 7, 2017
Last Updated: Jun 2, 2020
Director of College Counseling
Collegewise of Millburn
First, a word to the wise: when a college says something is “recommended,” you should read that as “required.” If an admission criterion is recommended and you don't do it, it becomes one more thing you need to overcome to be accepted. When a college recommends something, it means that serious applicants have done that thing, so you want to take recommendations about college preparation (and anything else) very seriously.
Why do colleges do this? Essentially, they aim to admit students who are prepared to be academically successful in their institution. They have determined that those recommended courses serve as an adequate foundation to the education they provide. Accordingly, they ask that prospective students take those particular courses in high school. If you want to know how many years of each subject your colleges of choice recommend, you can look on their respective websites, or you can look at their profile on the College Board.
For more quick college admission advice, check out our College Admission Ask the Experts section.