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Advising 101: Locked Catalog

Welcome to Advising 101. In this series, we highlight a key concept each week that will help YOU become your teen’s best high school guidance counselor. For Homeschooling for College Credit parents, this series will help you navigate resourceful high school planning with skill and confidence.

Topic #4: Locked Catalog

What is it?

When people say that they want to “lock their catalog” or that your teen’s “catalog is locked” they are using slang. This phrase refers to the student’s catalog of record that is in effect when their matriculation begins.

Why is it important?

Locking a catalog “stops” the student’s graduation requirements from changing from that moment through graduation as long as certain conditions continue to be met. This means that if CLEP Analyzing and Interpreting Literature was worth college credit when your teen’s catalog is locked, it will always count for them, even if the college changes their policy in the future. As you can imagine, locking a catalog affords a student a good deal of certainty in many ways.

Criteria will differ by college, but you can expect criteria to include continuous full-time enrollment in the degree program. Students taking an approved leave of absence should not lose their catalog of record. Common ways to lose your catalog include dropping out, dropping below full-time, changing majors, or not meeting GPA minimum requirements for the college or your major.

Bad advice

I always try to be kind, warm, and careful to help give good advice when bad advice is given. The best advice you can give, or follow, for resourceful high school planning is to bring college credit into your homeschool first. Urging others to “check in advance” if certain classes, credits, or exams are “going to transfer” when teens are 2-3-4+ years away from matriculation promotes a false sense of security. Frankly, college won’t give you that guarantee, and even when we follow a current catalog to a tee, we have to be ready for possible changes in the years preceding enrollment.

Where do I find it?

A college’s website should include the Academic Catalog for that year. If it doesn’t, email the admissions department for the current version.

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