Goal-Based Planning for High School


HLA considers a student’s goals to be a very important factor when planning for high school and the future. Our Goal-Based Planning (see below) is designed for maximum flexibility when planning for high school and preparing for post-secondary goals. We feel the transcript tells the story of the student’s academic history.  The Portfolio tells the remaining story of the other activities outside of academics.

For students desiring to attend a four-year university or military academy, emphasize to your student the importance of taking “college prep” courses.  Place a strong emphasis on math and science.  A strong reading and writing base during the four years of high school English is also crucial.  Focus on developing his/her writing skills.  Plan to have a strong academic foundation. These students should also have their academics balanced with extracurricular activities. Here is a short video about finding that balance.

Student’s, whose goals involve the military, vocational school, entrepreneurship, workforce, ministry, etc., have the flexibility to build a transcript that will meet the student’s post-secondary needs and goals.  The transcript tells the details of the education.  With goal-based planning, you choose which science and math courses your student will need in order to be prepared for long-term goals.  For example, college-bound students will need the math and science courses required for college admissions.  Students who do not plan to attend college can choose other math and science courses that will best fit their interests and goals.

Please select the Path in Applecore that best describes your students long term goals and post secondary plans so we can better understand the needs of your student. Paths are listed below under Goal Based Planning. HLA graduation requirements are the same regardless of the specific Path the student is following. The Paths differ in their recommendations for specific courses to meet the graduation requirements. These paths are in no way meant to limit students. They were created to allow maximum flexibility and help the Counselors better understand your student’s goals and know what type of recommendations to give families regarding specific course titles. Paths can be changed at any time and we recommend beginning with the College4 Path in 9th and potentially 10th grades. It is easier to back off the College4 Path during the later years of High School than it is to catch up if the students changes their mind.

If your student is unsure what he/she wants to do upon graduation, a career assessment might be helpful. For those students needing additional time, HLA offers a 5th-year option.

For those students interested in pursuing non -traditional timelines or for the Goal-Based Planning Sheets and charts, please click on the + sign next to the relevant topics below for details.

Our desire is to leave the decision of a 3 year high school plan up to you the parent. We have seen success with students completing a 3 year high school plan, but we have also seen parents regret moving forward so quickly. In states with College Dual Enrollment options, we suggest exploring those options before deciding on the 3 year plan. Please remember that Senior Year Fall deadlines still apply to those students opting for a 3 year plan.

  • Students must be at least 16 years old at time of graduation.
  • The student must have at least three (3) years of high school. HLA does not offer a 2-year high school option.
  • Student must meet HLA’s minimum credit requirements for graduation.
  • We recommend no more than 8 credits in any academic year and no more than 3 credits during a summer session.
  • The final year of high school should be listed as 12th grade and senior fees must be paid.
  • The Three year plan is not available to students following the Modified Path.

Students who have not met graduation requirements are able to take an additional year (5th year) of high school. Students are taking 5 years to graduate instead of the traditional 4 years, for a variety of reasons:

  • Some students are just not ready to graduate after 4 years – they may have started Kindergarten early, skipped grades, or just want another year at home to grow and mature.
  • Others find that they need another year to finish their high school coursework and adequately prepare for college.
  • These students can spend another senior year taking dual enrollment courses along with their high school courses.
  • A student may repeat any high school grade level, but most complete two senior years.
  • To our knowledge, this has not affected any student’s ability to receive scholarships or college entrance – we have not received any negative comments whatsoever from parents, colleges, etc.
  • You only pay the Senior Fee once for that student.
  • Students can also graduate in December if an additional full year is not needed.

A student is considered an early graduate if under the age of 16 at the time of graduation. Please see below for early graduation qualifications.

  • The student must have at least three (3) years of high school.  HLA does not offer a 2-year high school option.
  • Student must meet HLA’s minimum credit requirements for graduation.
  • The final year of high school should be listed as 12th grade on the student’s transcripts and senior fees must be paid.
  • Request early graduation by contacting Diane Benson as soon as possible (9th grade) but no later than your student’s senior year.
  • Complete and submit the Request for early graduation form.
  • NOTE: Students who reside in FL or AL are not eligible for graduation before age 16 (state regulations).
  • Early graduation is not available for the Modified Path.

HLA offers 4 paths for your student to choose between when selecting a plan of study for high school. We also have a Certificate of Completion for  students who may need this.



Designed for those students wanting to play college sports and meet eligibility for NCAA Athletic Scholarships.





Designed for those students wanting to attend a 4-year university.





Designed for those students wanting to attend a 2-year college, trade school or enlist military.





Designed for those students seeking to graduate with career/technical career plan or whose plans do not involve post-secondary education.



Designed for students seeking a standard diploma that includes modified high school coursework.



Designed for students seeking a Certificate of Completion.





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