Thinking about taking the leap into college? These days, college admission is more competitive than ever. Prepare yourself for the college application process now by completing the groundwork while you are still in high school. We recommend the following steps for the best chance of getting accepted to the CUNY college of your choice.
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Freshman/Sophomore Year (9th & 10th Grade)
If you are considering attending CUNY, you should pursue a college preparatory curriculum that at a minimum includes:
- four years of English (composition and literature)
- three years of math (algebra, geometry, and trigonometry). A fourth year of math is preferred.
- three years of social studies (history, anthropology, economics, geography, government, political science, psychology, or sociology). A fourth year of social studies is preferred.
- two years of a lab science (biology, chemistry, physics, or earth science). A third year of lab science is preferred.
- two years of a single foreign language
- one year of visual or performing arts
If you are lacking in one of these areas, it does not mean your application will not be considered. However, the more rigorous your curriculum, the more options will be available to you.
CUNY encourages students to take honors and Advanced Placement courses when possible, including those offered through CUNY’s College Now program if you attend a New York City public high school. It is preferable for students to fill course schedules with a majority of core academic courses each marking period, including four each semester during their senior year.
If you are enrolled in a New York State high school that offers the Regents Diploma, take as many Regents courses and examinations as possible. Aspire to a Regents Diploma. Better yet, get an Advanced Regents Diploma or a Regents Diploma with Honors.
We also recommend that you take the PSAT or PLAN in your sophomore year and prepare for either the SAT or ACT before completion of high school. Remember, SAT or ACT scores are required for admission to a CUNY four-year college.
Junior Year (11th Grade)
Take the most challenging courses you can and work hard to get the highest grades. The grades earned in your junior year will be evaluated when you apply for admission to CUNY. To get a better sense of where you stand academically, you should review our Freshman Admission Profile. This chart illustrates the mean GPA and SAT scores for last year’s entering freshman class at CUNY four-year and community colleges.
Register to take the PSAT in October and the SAT/ACT in the winter or spring. Most students take the SAT/ACT toward the end of their junior year and/or at the beginning of their senior year. Taking the test early gives you time to re-take it if you feel you could do better. Your SAT/ACT scores are critical to applying to a CUNY four-year college. Prepare for the SAT/ACT by taking a preparation course – see your guidance counselor for recommendations
Your junior year is also a good time to visit the colleges you are considering. At CUNY, you may apply to up to six CUNY colleges with one application and fee. To help you narrow down your choices, sign up to receive updates on college tours and events for prospective freshmen. Receive invitations to our financial aid workshops and college-planning sessions.
If you are considering applying to a highly selective program such as the Macaulay Honors College, BA-MD at Brooklyn College, the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, the Architecture program, or the Engineering program at The City College, prepare to apply early by reading through the necessary supplemental applications and sketching out drafts of the required essays.
Remember, your goal is to be ready to apply to CUNY in the fall of your senior year.