College Readiness Courses

What is it?

South Dakota’s public universities determine a student’s eligibility for college level courses based on ACT English and mathematics sub-scores. Students with an 18 or higher in English and a 20 or higher in mathematics can register for college level coursework. Students whose ACT scores are below these levels must take what the Board of Regents call “remedial” coursework, for which they receive no credit and must pay full cost.

South Dakota students have a unique opportunity to avoid having to do this remedial coursework by getting it done prior to entering college. The South Dakota Department of Education refers to this as “college readiness coursework” and provides the coursework at low cost to those who are eligible.

The college readiness coursework is offered via the South Dakota Virtual School. This coursework is tailored specifically to the student's skill level, and if successfully completed, will allow students to receive high school credit, bypass postsecondary remedial courses, and enter directly into a college level course.

The cost of college readiness coursework is approximately $175. Students may be able to get that cost down to $0 if they complete the coursework in the allotted time frame.

Another option for students is an in-person college readiness math course. This course is being offered in several school districts in the state at no cost to students. Please contact your school counselor to see if the face-to-face option is available in your district.

Why do it?

Despite the cost of this college readiness coursework, there are a number of reasons why students might consider this option while still in high school. First, students can receive high school credit for completing the college readiness coursework. Second, remedial courses at the postsecondary level cost significantly more, approximately $900 for each three-credit course. Also, a postsecondary remedial course is classified as zero-credit, meaning it does not count towards postsecondary graduation. Finally, students who enter postsecondary education prepared to complete college-level courses have proven to be more successful toward earning a degree.

Now what?

Talk to your school counselor or high school principal about college readiness coursework available online through South Dakota Virtual School.