Years ago

NCAA 'core-course' online (after High School)

Just wondering if anyone has any experience with a student studying for a NCAA 'core-course' after completing High School?

I know a student who is looking for NCAA D1 eligibility but who will be a semester short of the required 16 core-courses. D1 rules allow for students to complete an additional core-course after they graduate High School. One option is for her to do an online course from a US High School and I am wondering if anyone has any experiences (good or bad) from doing a course on-line from the US?


Topic #43525 | Report this topic

Years ago

Hi, no experience taking extra subject or additional semester, but the NCAA eligibility Centre will be able to help. I believe Jonah Bolden had a similar issue and actually did either part or a whole additional semester & as a result had to red shirt his first year at UCLA.

There are 16 semesters, 2 in each year from Y9 to Y12.

I can't recall exactly, but I think the problem you will have is you only have a certain number of semesters to complete the required core subjects & hence the required GPA. Essentially you can't repeat semesters. If you don't get the required GPA then you either have to repeat the subject in the remaining time or take an additional subject in the same stream. I.e you don't have high enough marks for biology, so take another science subject, chemistry. But these will be additional subjects, so the workload/study only increases. This is easier said than done.

I wish you luck, but if you are only just finding out about this, I think you may have left your run too late.

There is a lot of information out there about Academic Eligibilty for Div 1 & Div 2. But you'll spend 10's of hours wading through it all. I had to do it about 4 years ago. It is not impossible, but it is time consuming. I also calculated my Son's GPA as there was an Academic rule book that translated Australian education results into a GPA for each state in Australia. Can't remember what it was called, but I still have a couple of copies on my laptop.

Don't discount Div 2 or even junior college. From junior college you can transfer to a Div 1 or Div 2 college after 2 years. Also, the 'prestige' of Div 1 is not the be all & end all. Speaking from experience, pick a place where your kid is sure to play otherwise it is a disappointing experience. Try & pick a well respected academic college. Only 1 in 1000 or more will play in our NBL let alone the NBA. So focus on getting somewhere where they will play & get a well respected degree.

Your kid really needs to have a long honest look in the mirror about their abilities.

Download a copy of the NCAA Academic eligibilty rules.

The extract below is from

Division I academic eligibility
To be eligible to compete in NCAA sports during your first year at a Division I school, you must graduate high school and meet ALL the following requirements:

Complete 16 core courses:
Four years of English
Three years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)
Two years of natural/physical science (including one year of lab science if your high school offers it)
One additional year of English, math or natural/physical science
Two years of social science
Four additional years of English, math, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy
Complete 10 core courses, including seven in English, math or natural/physical science, before your seventh semester. Once you begin your seventh semester, you may not repeat or replace any of those 10 courses to improve your core-course GPA.
Earn at least a 2.3 GPA in your core courses.
Earn an SAT combined score or ACT sum score matching your core-course GPA on the Division I sliding scale, which balances your test score and core-course GPA. If you have a low test score, you need a higher core-course GPA to be eligible. If you have a low core-course GPA, you need a higher test score to be eligible.

Reply #693474 | Report this post

Years ago

I will emphasise what happened to Jonah Bolden at UCLA. So beware of what 'people' tell you, even college recruiters.

In any given year there are maybe 300 to 400 male college basketball athletes.

How many of those that have attended (completed their study or not) are on NBL rosters? Not many.

So have realistic expectations. It might be best even to stay in Aus, go to Uni here & get on an NBL roster as a Development player, but even these are hard to get and most of these spots go to kids who have done well in Australian Junior Champioships or represented Australia at Junior level. There are some exceptions like Kyle Adnam

Reply #693476 | Report this post

Years ago

Essentially the Academic eligibility is set out to ensure you have shown reasonable academic 'progress' over the last four years of high school. The reasoning is this indicates you will 'more than likely' pass at college and not drop out.

The NCAA view these students as academics first, athlete second.

The overwhelming majority of Australian (Male) athletes look at it as Athlete first, Academics second. Most of them are thinking they will play in the NBL & NBA, which is not a realistic expectation.

Reply #693477 | Report this post

Years ago

You can download the NCAA manuals from :

Reply #693485 | Report this post

Years ago

Reply #693486 | Report this post

Years ago

Here's the international student academic standard.

Australia is listed on pages 20 to 25

Reply #693488 | Report this post

Years ago

Here's the international student academic standard.

Australia is listed on pages 20 to 25

Reply #693489 | Report this post

Years ago

Taken from page of 12 of the "2017-18 Guide for the College Bound Student Athlete" found here:

Courses Taken After High School
For Division I, only courses completed in your first eight se-
mesters will qualify as core courses. If you graduate from high
school on time (in eight semesters) with your incoming ninth-
grade class, you may use one core course completed in the
year after graduation (summer or academic year) before full-
time collegiate enrollment. You may complete the core course
at a location other than the high school from which you gradu-
ated and may initially enroll full time at a collegiate institution at
any time after completion of the core course. A college course
taken after high school graduation can be used toward your
initial eligibility and will be awarded 0.5 units unless awarded
one full unit by your home high school, and it must appear on
your home high school transcript with grade and credit.
An additional core-course unit taken after on-time high
school graduation cannot replace a course used to meet
the core-course progression (10/7) requirement, but an
additional core course after on-time graduation may re-
place one of the remaining six core-course units necessary
to meet core-course requirements

Reply #693490 | Report this post

Years ago

OP stated that the student is female.

Also, any academic course with any rigour will be harder to complete and achieve good grades in is harder to undertake online. It's even possible to do post grad courses and get Distinctions and HDs.

A US course would almost certainly not include residential or intensive sessions.

You have to be very motivated and independent in your thinking and study habits to do better as an external student than as an internal/ on campus student.

Very few secondary age students are better off doing external studies.

If this path is pursued, the student would need a mentor who can understand the course requirements, most probably a qualified and experienced teacher.

I know people who succeeded at senior secondary level in distance ed/ on line courses, but they all had good support, and were well motivated and independent. This included a couple of students who were involved heavily in sports up to state level.

So yes it can be done, but check it out and get supports in place first.

Best wishes to the young lady.

Reply #693500 | Report this post

Years ago

Thanks for your replies Anon and Use TaHoop. I appreciate your best wishes and taking the time. The girl is currently in year 12 but will be a semester short of core-courses when she graduates in December. Her SAT is fine, her GPA will be based on her Yr 12 results but the 16 core-courses is a problem. There are High Schools in the US offering online courses and I am looking for some feedback from anyone who has been down that path and who could recommend (or not recommend) a school. I am thinking that the best option for her to get the last core-course might be to do a US online course over summer/early next year.

Re: Jonah Bolden - from what I remember, I think his issues related to the time limitations (4 years from the start of year 9) for core-courses/GPA caused by him going to the US to complete his High School - a lot more complex than this girls situation.

Reply #693503 | Report this post

Years ago

How are 16 core courses a problem if they are counted from Year 9 onwards? That's 4x4 courses x years?

Reply #693523 | Report this post

Years ago

Getting 16 core-courses can be a problem for many students. The subjects have to be "core" that is, English, maths, sciences, geography, history, economics, languages etc and it excludes art, music, phys ed, IT, accounting, visual design, drama etc. Many students do too many of the latter in years 9 & 10 and then get to year 12, decide they want to go to college and then find they haven't done the right subjects. For NCAA, both D1 & D2, 16 core-courses are required for eligibility.

Reply #693526 | Report this post

Years ago

ColCon - what do you mean by 'semester short'? The main question is whether the girl will have all 16 core units completed in 8 semesters (or less). 10 of these must be done in the first 6 semesters (or less). As far as I understand a student can meet these requirements in shorter but not longer time (Bolden issue). That is why some students can reclassify.

Also GPA is calculated from these 16 core units, it is all explained in the NCAA document.

Reply #693529 | Report this post

Years ago

Sorry for the confusion but I meant that she will be one semester (0.5 of a full year course) short of the 16 courses she needs for eligibility. When she finishes year 12 in December she will only have 15.5 core-courses and so she needs to do a further 0.5 of a course after high school graduation (which is allowed by NCAA D1). So an option for her might be to enrol in a semester length, core-course subject on-line from a US High School.

FYI - the 10 courses in the first six semesters rule does not apply to students outside the US. And for Aussie students, the GPA is calculated on their year 12 core-courses (again different to US students).

Reply #693534 | Report this post

Years ago

Thanks ColCon, good to know about GPA. Hope you find something and it all works out.

Reply #693550 | Report this post

Years ago

Agree, GPA is calculated on AVERAGE all results (Grade Points) from Y9 thru Y12. Hence the name Grade Point Average (GPA).

As an example - if you have poor results in Y9 to Y11, then, depending on your GPA equivalent scores for those years, you may not even qualify even if you get all A's in Y12. i.e. If you got all C's in Y9 to Y11 let's say you have completed 12 core courses, that would give you 12 x 2.0 = 24 Grade Points, divide by GP the No. of courses (12) 24/12 = 2.0 GPA.

Then say you get all A's in Y12. 4 courses at 4.0 = 16 Grade Points

Total = 24 +16 = 40 Grade Points

40 divide by 16 = 2.5GPA, which just scrapes you in the required 2.3 GPA. But if you got some D's in Years 9 to Y11, then you will probably not make it.

So you need 16 x 2.3 = 36.8 Grade Points total across Y9 to Y12. Lets say you need 37 minimum, as there is non way the conversions will give you a 0.8.

Your GPA is an average GPA (Australian equivalent converted) of all the subjects across the four years.

An important note: the GPA conversions for Australia do not make any distinction between say a B, B+ or B-. In the conversion they are all taken as a B, same for A, C, D scores. It is a very rough, I would say unfair conversion, but it is what it is.

Generally an A converts to a 4.0 GP, B = 3.0 GP, C = 2.0 GP.

Note: There are some differences between the States. i.e. In Victoria I I think a C is also considered as a 3.0 GPA, & a D is a 2.0, not sure why that is?

Reply #693567 | Report this post

Years ago

Also, Very important you have studied the right subjects.

If you have studied Religion that helps a lot as it is a valued subject in the USA academic system & can count in your GPA.

Also, no point studying the harder Maths subjects as it doesn't help. A B in a harder level of maths is worth the same as a B in an easier level maths. So, my recommendation is to do the dummy maths, especially if you will not be studying Engineering, Science, Accountancy, Economics or anything where you need the higher level of maths at College.

Reply #693568 | Report this post

Years ago

Hi ColCon, Just checked the IS1516 document and it would appear the GPA is only on the Y12 subjects. Been a few years since I was all over it.

However, can she not take one (or two) extra subjects in the last semester this year?

Or did she finish Y12 last year?

If she has already finished Y12, then I'd suggest she talks to the academic entrance staff at the Colleges where she has offers and seek their advice.

The coaches who are recruiting her will put you in contact with the academic entrance staff and they will be able to provide the best advice based on her situation as it is not really in their interest to recruit someone who has to Red Shirt (Academically) unless they are full of players next year as this would be a 5 year scholarship.

Good luck with it.

Reply #693572 | Report this post

Years ago

Check with coaches who are recruiting her, they will put you in contact with the academic entrance staff and they will be able to provide the best advice based on her situation as it is not really in their interest to recruit someone who has to Red Shirt (Academically) unless they are full of players next year as this would be a 5 year scholarship.

They will tell you exactly what she needs to do and they will more than likely recommend an institution to do the course.

Obviously, you might have to declare your intention to accept their offer (NLI). Will she get an early round NLI or a late round NLI?

I still think doing an additional subject (or two) in the 2nd semester this year might be the way to go, but that might be overloading the trailer!

Good luck with it.

Reply #693574 | Report this post

Years ago


Some small schools in NSW do a "compressed HSC" or “focused HSC”. This means studying all HSC content in 1 year. Terms 4 and 1 are prelim (Y11), terms 2 & e are final year (Y12). Yes, it means starting courses 1 term early. Term 4 for Y12 is basically shot vac and final exams.

If this is available in her area, she might be able to pick up a core subject and finish it in 2 terms. Core subjects should be clearly identified. I knew some kids who wanted to take the college student athlete path. Some took SLR (Sport, Leisure & Rec), Marine Studies and other non-ATAR courses that probably wouldn't be counted as core.

Would the College or NCAA consider a TAFE course? They do have academic courses equivalent to Y10 and HSC (Y11 & Y12). This is how mature age students do their HSC.

Or could she do a tertiary prep course here and have it recognised? All Unis seem to have these to recruit more students?

Could she sit the SAT to qualify for college of her choice on some form of partial scholarship as an academic student rather than a “student athlete”?

It sounds like the NCAA rules are more of an issue than college acceptance.

In theory the GPA idea for US students sounds good as it encourages long term effort in studies. It would make it harder for talented athletes to be “assisted” into college/ NCAA entry. But Y9 kids don’t think long term, and people can make big changes in their lives.

It sounds like Aussie kids wanting to take the college/ NCAA path need good advice when choosing electives in Y9 & Y10. In Y11 & Y12 they probably need to choose courses that would get them an ATAR and hence Uni entry in Aus. Advanced and Extension type courses not needed, and inNSW can be harder to get good bands and ATAR points in. I’d doubt that any Aus in school career advisor or equivalent would know anything about the nuances of the NCAA system. Perhaps this could be a role for sports administrators here?

Reply #693591 | Report this post

Years ago

Above 1st para

Term 3 not e

swot vac not shot vac. But ballers gotta take a shot.

Stupid auto co-wreck.

Reply #693594 | Report this post

Years ago

^ In Vic, basketball Victoria used to hold information sessions on NCAA academic requirements for basket ballers who were in their talent I'd programs.

This was for kids entering Y9.

Education is king. As the saying goes :

"You give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime."

Reply #693599 | Report this post

Years ago

Usetahoop. I think you need to read some of the literature about NCAA Academic eligibility.

Reply #693600 | Report this post

Years ago

Thanks for all the comments. I was hoping to hear from someone who has some experience with the US on-line High School system. I am thinking this is the best alternative because the student is half way through Year 12 (in Victoria) and adding an extra subject for 2nd semester is not an option for her. I need to find the details but I believe she will be able to do a unit online from the US over a couple of months early next year to attain her eligibility. Her recruitment will be more straightforward if coaches know that her eligibility is likely.

Quite a bit of discussion above on GPA's which is not really on topic. For Victorian students the NCAA calculates GPA based on the average of the grades obtained in the core-course Unit 3&4 subjects (typically Yr 12). Victorian students also enjoy an uplift in grades C/D/E grades becoming B/C/D in the calculation - I think Vic is the only state where this applies.

As mentioned above, students wanting to keep their college sport options open, really need to understand the NCAA core-course requirements in Year 9 to avoid situations like this girl finds herself in. If she had have done a semester of History in year 10 then she would not have this problem now. However, I think the US online course will be the best solution for her.

Thanks everyone who responded.

Reply #693618 | Report this post

Years ago

Sounds like the problem arises because students are choosing too many elective/cruisey style subjects. You reap what you sow. History isn't exactly Physics or Chemistry that you would want to avoid understandbly as it is more intensive.

Reply #693648 | Report this post

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