High School Endorsements: The Basics

By: Texas OnCourse
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What are endorsements?

For parents and guardians, hearing that their eighth grader will have to select an endorsement can be confusing. After all, when today’s adults were in school, such a thing didn’t exist!

Explaining that it’s “like a college major, but for high school,” helps a little, but what does that mean in this context?

An endorsement is defined as “a coherent sequence or series of courses” in one of five areas: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), Business and Industry, Public Service, Arts and Humanities, and Multidisciplinary Studies. Each high school must offer courses leading to at least one endorsement, but not every school offers every endorsement.

For details on each of the endorsements, check out this handy flyer from Texas OnCourse. To find out what endorsements are available at your school, start by checking your district’s webpage.

An even more in-depth look at endorsements (including provisions for gifted and special needs students) is available here.


How can I help my student pick an endorsement?

The best time to start thinking seriously about endorsements is seventh grade, or early in a student’s eighth-grade year, before they register for high school classes.

Once you know what endorsements are available at your high school, there are several helpful tools to aid students in selecting the right plan for them. Conversations with counselors, advisers, friends, and family are a natural first step! But what next?

Texas OnCourse’s favorite tool is our career exploration game, MiddleGalaxy. Available on desktop or phone, this simple game helps students learn more about how their passions and skills can translate into fields of study and, ultimately, career fields!

MapMyGrad (coming soon!*) is another great tool. It links a student’s answers to a quiz to endorsements they can explore. It even shows specific endorsements available at each high school and discusses how to complete an endorsement if a specific high school doesn’t offer it. Students can use it to be sure of graduating with the endorsement (or two!) that fits their interests and aptitudes.

Additionally, we have many resources listed by grade level on our Students and Families page to help you navigate this decision. Explore them over winter break with your seventh or eighth grader to start them thinking about this important step in their education.

 

Why does my student have to select an endorsement?

Starting with 2018’s graduating class, the state legislature declared high school endorsements necessary for graduates of Texas’s Foundation Graduation Plan. By requiring students to focus their course of study, students attain the knowledge and skills necessary to become college and career ready. This benefits not only students, but Texas’ workforce and our economic future.

 

*If you are interested in early access to MapMyGrad, become a Texas OnCourse partner! Contact laura.chrisco@austin.utexas.edu to learn more.