High School Frequently Asked Questions

What is Rusk High School’s code for ACT & SAT testing?


What is Rusk ISD’s State ID #?


What is a graduation plan?

Texas Legislature decides what classes and tests students in Texas have to take to earn a high school diploma. A graduation plan is a set of classes a student must take and pass in order to earn a diploma.

What is a credit?

A credit is the amount a course if worth as it is applied to a graduation plan. At RHS a student may earn a half a credit per class per semester. So, a student can earn up to 3.5 credits per semester for a total of 7.0 per year.

How do I earn a credit?

You earn a 70 or above in the class in which you are enrolled.

How many credits do I earn in a semester and a year?

Rusk High School is on a traditional 7 credit per year system. Therefore, you may earn 3.5 credits per semester, 7 per year.

How many credits do I have to have to graduation?

The Foundation + Distinguished plan requires 26, the Foundation + an endorsement requires 26. The answer is 26! Unless, you are serviced by the special education coop, then you choose to default to the Foundation Plan and graduate with 22 credits.

What if I don’t earn a 70 and I fail?

Example #1: If you have a 65 in a class for the first semester you must earn a 75 the second semester for a total of 70 for the year.

Example #2: If you pass the first semester with a 78 and make a 62 the second semester you will earn credit for both semesters.

Example #3: If you fail the first semester with a 59 and pass the second with a 72, you will only earn credit in the second semester.

Do I HAVE to attend my class (es)?

Well, only if you want credit, and only if you don’t want to be taken to court by the school district. The state of Texas has mandatory attendance laws. Rusk High School and its students have to abide by them. You must be in attendance 90% of a semester to earn credit. If you do not, credit will be denied even if you earn a 70 or better in a course. If you miss more than 10% of the class days in a semester, you will have to make up the class days you miss by attending Saturday school or summer school to regain credit.

What is an endorsement?

An endorsement is a group of electives taken together in the same career cluster or area. It may require specific English, Math, Science, or Social Studies courses.

How do I earn an endorsement?

You create a 4 year graduation plan with your family and counselor, and follow that plan throughout high school. You will choose electives in specific area. Then, you will earn credit in the specific sequence of electives. Some students may have enough room in their schedule to pursue two endorsement areas.

What does an endorsement get me or do for me?

An endorsement gets you knowledge and experience in a specific career area BEFORE you exit high school. In many endorsement areas you will earn a certificate documenting your training. This certificate can be used and applied to your technical and/or college degree plan or used to go directly in to the workforce.

Can a course satisfy a credit in both my graduation plan and endorsement area?

Yes, in many cases your core classes can and will satisfy Distinguished/Foundation plan requirements a the same time it satisfies your endorsement requirement(s).

What is a GPA?

It is your raw grade translated into a formula so it can be communicated to an outside group or school. Rusk High School uses a traditional 4.0 system.

How do I calculate my GPA?

Take each grade earned per semester. Assign it a 4=90 to 100,3=80 to 89,2=70 to 79,1=60 to 69 ,0= 50 to below, depending on the grade earned, add all semester grades, divide by the total number of classes.

Can I take a test to not have to sit through a class?

Yes, it’s called a CBE, Credit by exam. You have to earn a score of 70. RHS gives these tests in December and June. You must tell your counselor you want to take a test by October in the fall and by April in the spring. These tests are extremely difficult. You must have permission from a teacher at RHS, your counselor, and the principal before you can take one of these exams.

How do I know how to get into college?

You and your family need to start visiting college campuses NOW. During your junior year, your counselor will help you and your family make decisions about what school(s) to apply.

How do I figure out how much money I will need to attend college? Where am I going to get that much money?

Start visiting college websites now for tuition and fee information. If you have not already, start planning and saving NOW. There is a list of helpful financial aid websites at the end of this catalog. Go to fafsa.gov. There is a college finance projector you can fill out. It will calculate how much money you need to attend college.

Do I HAVE to take a foreign language?

Yes, all Texas graduation plans require 2 years of the same foreign language. This includes the Foundation Plan, the Foundation plus an endorsement, and the Distinguished Plan.

Who decides how Rusk High school’s rank process works?

The local school district decides how high school rank is calculated. It is approved by the local district’s school board. Texas Education Agency does not decide this, nor does it govern it. This is a local school district decision. Therefore, every school district can and will be different.

How does Rusk High School’s ranking system work?

It is a tier system, based first on the graduation plan you choose, then on the number of Pre AP/ AP courses you take and then your raw grade average of courses.

What is the difference in what the Texas Education Agency requires for graduation, and what Rusk High School requires?

Rusk ISD will not make additional requirements to what the state of Texas requires for graduation.

General Resources

Career Cruising Login

Contact counselor or candis.mabry@ruskisd.net for student login.

Graduation Toolkit

TEA resource regarding the Foundation High School Program.


Free Application for Federal Student Aid for College


ACT test registration and information

College Board

SAT test registration and information site as well as a source for scholarships, internships, contents, and financial aid.

Apply Texas

Texas’ common college application for 2 and 4 year schools.

College Admission Frequently Asked Questions

How difficult is it to be accepted into a college or university?

Graduates from high school can meet the admission requirements to the military, technical, two and four year colleges and universities. Some schools have open door admission policies, most have admission criteria and requirements that must be met in order to be accepted.

What questions should I ask about a school I am considering?

Make a list of questions before you go on your college visit.


Does the school offer the program and courses I’m interested in?

Do I meet the admission requirements?

Does the school offer a quality education at a reasonable cost?

Does the school have the environment and setting in which I am most comfortable?

When I am being considered for admission to a school or college, does the Admissions office look only at my ACT or SAT score(s)?

In considering admission applications, most admission directors are interested in reviewing high school courses taken, level course (i.e. , standard advanced, honors, or AP), grade point average (GPA), ACT, or SAT scores, school involvement, extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, and counselor, teacher, and community leader recommendations. Schools are looking for a complete student, not one who only focuses on school work.

What should I do if I need financial help in order to attend the college of my choice?

Contact the Director of Financial Aid at the institution of your choice. This person can tell you what scholarships and other forms of assistance are available. Consult your high school counselor. They have information on local, state, and national financial aid programs.

What about these scholarship search services that contact me?

During the last several years many private scholarship services have emerged to provide lists of “sources” of financial assistance for which you may apply. Some of these services send students letters implying that the school or district recommends their services; however, you should be aware that Rusk High School nor Rusk ISD endorses any private scholarship services. The scholarship search service from whom you receive a letter has obtained your name and address information as part of a public information request. Widespread availability of information about financial aid provided through your counseling office is obtainable from colleges in which you are interested, or available on the Internet. Thus, you should NEVER pay anyone for gathering information about resources for financial aid or scholarships. Again, all financial aid information if FREE! The acronym FAFSA is Free Application For Student AID!!!

Can I be admitted to college immediately after graduation?

Yes, and no. Technical and 2-year schools have open enrollment. Meaning: if you graduated from high school and take their required admission requirements(s). They will accept you. 4-year colleges and universities have admission requirements that must be met before you will be accepted. Most have minimum Graduation Plan requirements, minimum GPA requirements, SAT/ACT minimum score requirements, and admissions application deadlines as well as application fees.

May I apply to more than one school?

Yes! Apply to all the schools you are interested in attending, have investigated, and visited. Although you apply to a school and are accepted, you are not obligated to attend that school. You will send a letter declining admission once you have made your decision on which school you will attend.

Do all colleges require an application fee?

Most colleges require a fee to process you application. The fee usually costs from $50 to $100 . If you

Used a fee waiver for your ACT/SAT registration, you may use a fee waiver for you college application fee. See your counselor!

Is it appropriate to apply to more than one college?

Yes, many students can qualify for admission to college immediately upon graduation through the community college transfer program, which consists of attending a community college for freshman and sophomore years and then transferring to a state university for the junior and senior years.

If I have been accepted by a college or university by December of my senior year, can’t I “ease up” during the last semester? Rank stops at the end of the fall semester anyway. What is it going to hurt?

A study was completed by the U.S. Department of Education. The report from the study shows that serious consequences result from this practice. As a result of the “wasted” last semester or senior year, students develop habits that prove disastrous when they get to college. The report shows that one-third to one-half the students are not prepared for college work. Plus, it just doesn’t look good on your transcript. Remember, the college and department you get into will see your final transcript. You do not want to have to explain why your grades dropped suddenly and drastically!

Will my ACT or SAT scores and report tell me which college will accept me?

No, these are just one part of your application. You will need to check the college catalogs and web sites the college will consider other factors before granting admission to a student.

What courses should I take before taking the SAT, ACT, and TSI?

You should definitely take Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 and on-grade level or above English (grammar and usage, composition and literature). In addition, science and social studies courses are important because most of the reading comprehension questions deal with these subject areas. You should note that research by both ACT and College Board (SAT) in recent years shows that students who take Pre Calculus score higher than any other students. Also, enrollment in Physics and Chemistry as well as multiple years of other spoken languages greatly increase your likelihood of achieving a higher score. You should also take a test prep course before taking any entrance exam.

When should I take the SAT, ACT, and TSI exams?

You should take the SAT or ACT at the end of your junior year or after you have successfully taken Algebra 2. You will take the TSI before you wish to enroll in a dual credit course. It is recommended that all testing be completed by beginning of your senior year. The admission process starts in September of your senior year.

What is the TSI assessment? When do I take it?

Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Assessment was enacted for all Texas public colleges and universities. Any new student who has NOT earned credit through college course work prior to 8/26/13 or met a state approved exemption is subject to the new TSI assessment requirement. Previous TSI approved tests (Compass, Accuplacer, THEA, and Asset) are no longer accepted.

Exemptions from TSI

SAT – Less than 5 years old – 1070 minimum composite score, 500 minimum on Critical Reading & Math

ACT – Less than 5 years old – 23 composite score, 19 minimum on English & Math

EOC – Less than 5 years old - 2200 on English 2 with a writing score of a 3 or higher

and 2200 on Algebra 1

What do I need to be eligible to participate in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 athletics at college?

Proposition 48 requires that a freshman student entering a NCAA Division 1 institution must complete a core curriculum of at least sixteen academic courses and receive an established minimum combined score on the SAT verbal and math sections or an established minimum sum of scores on the ACT in order to be eligible to participate in intercollegiate athletics during the first year of attendance. See the section below for more information. Register at www.ncaaclearinghouse.net.

Helpful Websites



www.collegeforalltexans.com – Complete site for students attending college in Texas! Includes high school planning, college planning, career planning, and Texas and Federal Financial Aid information.



www.fastweb.com – Scholarship clearing house. Student fills out application and all scholarships that apply to them are sent to their email for completion.

www.finaid.org – National Association of Student Financial Assistance Information, a resource for all types of financial aid.

www.lmci.state.tx.us – Texas Workforce commissions Labor & Career information

www.ratemyprofessors.com - Students investigate professors before they enroll in a college class

http://www.ruskisd.net – Rusk High School’s web site for high school planning, college planning, local scholarship information, state and federal financial aid information

www.salliemae.com – Great website for planning and paying for college, partners with wired scholar. Also has an individualized planning folder.

www.scholarships.com – Scholarship clearinghouse. Student fills out an online application. Then, all scholarships that apply to them are sent to their email for completion.

www.tccns.org – All Texas Public 2 and 4 year colleges are required to use a common number system. The purpose of the website is to ease the transition from junior college to university. This website allows the student to compare college course numbers to ensure direst transfer of course work.

www.tea.texas.gov – Texas Education Agency website


www.texasrealitycheck.com – Allows students to estimate monthly expenses, estimate their future salary, and career earning estimator

www.texastomorrowfunds.org – provides information about the Texas Guaranteed Tuition Plan and Tomorrow’s College Investment Plan

http://www.thecb.state.tx.us – Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board – provides information about Texas financial aid

http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/apps/txcrews - Texas Consumer resource for Education & Workforce statistics. Texas Crews is an interactive dashboard tool providing comparative information about Texas 2 & 4 year post-secondary schools.

www.txccrsc.org – Texas College and Career readiness detailed explanation of HB5 and STAAR EOC

http://wiredscholar.com – Scholarship clearing house. Student fills out application and all scholarships that apply to them are sent to their email for completion.

www.lmci.state.tx.us - Texas Workforce Commission Career Investigation

www.texascaresonline.com - World of Work, Career Clusters, Self Assessment, Interest Profiler, Occupation and Cares Video

Glossary of Acronyms and Terms

Academic Achievement Record (AAR): AKA Transcript, is a permanent record holding all course work taken for high school credit. It also contains all testing documentation taken while in high school.

Accommodations: A special condition, allowance, or environment to the learning environment or testing situation.

Admissions testing: Tests used by post-secondary schools for admission purposes. Students need to consult individual school catalogs or websites to determine which test the school requires.

Advanced Course: Third and fourth year courses

Articulated Course: Courses taken at the high school that are accepted as credited courses by a junior college.

Associates Degree: A degree/training program requiring 60 semester hours, typically taking 2 years to complete. An Associate’s degree is earned at a community or junior college.

Award letter: A letter from an institution’s financial aid office, stating the kinds and amounts of financial aid the student is eligible for.

Bachelor’s Degree: A degree/training program requiring 120 semester hours, typically taking 4 years to complete. The Bachelor’s degree is earned at a university

CBE: Credit By Exam. An exam a student may take to earn credit for a course. To regain credit for a failed course the student must earn a grade of 70% or higher. To earn initial credit a student must earn a grade of 90% or higher.

Certificate: A training program for a specific job skill. Certifications require a certain amount of documented training time, specific course work, demonstrated mastery of skills, and a certification test.

College Admission Application: Post-secondary schools require the student to complete an admission application. This helps the school determine if the applicant meet the criteria to enter their school. Types of information asked: name, address, social security number, phone numbers, country of origin, US citizenship status, legal address, family information, school course work, school and community volunteer work, extra-curricular activities. Some schools require answers to short answer and essay questions.

College Catalog: This document describes the college’s physical environment, campus, admission policies, costs, programs of studies, degree plans, and individual course descriptions. Most schools no longer offer printed versions catalogs as this information is one the school’s website.

College Hours/Credits: Post-secondary school award credits in terms of hours. Classes meet in increments of 1 hour, 3 hours, 4 hours per week. 1 hour courses meet 1 time per week for an hour. 3 hour courses can meet 1 time per week for 3 hours, 2 times per week for 1.5 hours, or 3 times per week for 1 hour per day. 4 hours courses typically consist of a class that meets 3 hours per week in any of the arrangements listed in the previous sentence, and then meet an additional hour in a lab setting. Labs usually meet on different days other than the regular class time and can, and usually are taught by a different teacher or teacher’s assistant. At the end of the semester, if the student earns a passing grade, they are awarded the number of hours completed on their transcript (1, 3, or 4).

College Visitation: Post-secondary schools encourage applicants and their families to visit their campus and several others before make their college choices. Most visitation days are scheduled on weekends and during high school breaks so that students may attend without having to miss school. To schedule a college visit, applicants may visit the school’s web site to view dates and times of preview days and schedule their visit. RHS allows one college visitation day during a student’s senior year; this is one for the entire year, NOT one per semester.

College Work-Study Program: This is a government-supported financial aid program coordinated through financial-aid offices where an eligible student (based on need) may work part time while attending college classes at least half-time, usually on campus.

Common Application: Texas public and some private schools use a common application online process. The applicant completes the application on time, saves it then chooses the school to send it to. Most 4-year schools and universities charge application fees that must be paid at the time of submission of the application. 2 year schools typically do not charge application fees. To complete an application students go to www.applytexas.org.

Cooperative Work-Study Education: This program provides the student with college class experience and full time paid employment related to the area of study. This type of program typically takes 5 years to complete instead of the traditional 4 years to complete a bachelor’s degree program. Applications must be made in the school’s financial aid office and student’s chosen department of study.

Correspondence Course: A course offered by a college or institution for high school credit. Students obtain the course via the mail, complete course work and mails to the receiving institution. Institution assigns the grade and high school accepts the course and places it on the student’s high school transcript. For Rusk High School, all correspondence courses must have prior approval from principal and counselor and must be from a RISD approved vendor.

Course Credit: A unit of measure awarded for successful completion of a course. Completion of a one semester course typically earns one-half credit for a student.

CTE: Career and Technical Education: Courses offered at the high school level that give student’s knowledge and skills in their career field of choice. CTE courses taken in specific sequences and clusters can be applied to certifications and licensures.

Distinguished Level of Achievement: A high level of academic achievement earned by going beyond the Foundation High School Program. It requires a total of 26 course credits, including Algebra 2 a fourth science credit and an endorsement. A student must earn this designation to be eligible for Top 10 percent automatic admission to a Texas public university.

Doctoral Degree: A college level degree above an Associates, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees, usually an 8 year degree plan.

Dual Credit: A student is enrolled in a high school course and a college course at the same time. These courses share the same curriculum requirements. Both the high school and college award the student credit. Because the school will have different grading policies and standards, a student may earn a different grade for each institution.

Dual Credit Hybrid Course – Same description as listed above but the class may start and stop at a different time then a regular class. Example: The class starts the week after spring break and end at the same time all other classes end in May. Or, the class may begin at the same time as other classes but end around spring break. Another example of a hybrid class might be that half of the coursework is completed in a traditional classroom setting while the other half is completed online.

Dual Credit Online Course – Course work for the entire class is completed on line via an educational software system and is taught and graded by a college teacher or professor. The high school proctors the class, meaning it provides high school staff to oversee the course work directed by the college teacher and provides the physical space and technology for the student to complete the course.

Early Admission Decision: A college or university offering a student admission typically before the admission application deadline is over. This process occurs during a high school student’s senior year.

EOC: STAAR EOC – End of Course Exam – Texas’ student testing system. At the high school level student must take and earn a passing score on 5 end-of-course exams to earn their high school diploma. English 1, English 2, Algebra 1, Biology 1, and US History

ELL: English Language Learner: A student whose primary language is not English

Endorsements: Areas of specialized study. The areas are:

-Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

-Arts and Humanities

-Public Service

-Business and Industry

-Multidisciplinary Studies

Expected Family Contribution: The EFC is the numerical calculation a student receives after completing the FAFSA to determine possible financial aid from a school. It is the amount of money the student’s family is estimated to reasonably expect to pay toward the student’s post-secondary education. The federal government determines this number based on the student’s FAFSA application. The college does not determine this number; they use it to determine how much money a student is eligible for from their school. Therefore, different schools may award a student different amount of money.

FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid): Financial application that requires the student and the student’s parent(s) to provide financial information based on the previous year’s federal tax information. Federal government provides this information to the colleges of the student’s choice. The college determines the amount of financial aid, not the government. The government basically acts as a clearinghouse of financial information for the student and school. Schools make award decisions in early spring on a first-come, first serve basis so it is to the student’s advantage to complete the financial aid process as quickly as possible. To complete an application, the student and student’s family go to www.fafsa.gov.

FAFSA PIN: Student and parent(s) must apply for a PIN (personal identification number) before beginning the FAFSA application. To create a PIN students and parents need to go to www.fafsa.gov and choose the PIN icon and complete the PIN application process.

Financial Aid Office: Each post-secondary school provides staff and technology to counsel students on financial aid and paying for post-secondary training.

504 Services: A United States Federal program that allows students with disabilities and/or handicapping conditions to receive special personal and educational services.

Foundation High School Program: The basic 22-credit graduation program for Texas public school students.

Grade Point Average (GPA): A student’s GPA is the average of all grades taken for high school credit. GPA is communicated on a 4.0 scale. It is calculated by totaling the number of grade points earned in each course based on the following scale: federal, state government agencies, as well as educational institutions and private businesses and foundations.

Grants: Grants are gift awards made on the basis of financial need. They do not have to be paid back. Sources for grants include: federal, state government agencies, as well as educational institutions and private businesses and foundations.

Housing: Living arrangements and food services provided by the school for a fee. Living arrangements may be in the form of a dormitory or apartment. Housing assignments occur on a first-come first-serve basis. Housing departments have very strict deadline. If a student is wishing to live on campus, it is wise to complete the housing application and submit the housing application fee as soon as the student receives notification of admission.

Industry Workforce Credential: A state, nationally, or internationally-recognized credential that aligns with the knowledge and skills standards identified by an association or government entity representing a particular profession or occupation an valued by business or industry. Examples include a credential for certified nurse aid (CAN) or the automotive service excellence (ASE) certification in the automotive industry.

Letter of Recommendation: A letter written by a person having first-hand knowledge of a student/individual attesting to their personal character, work ethic, and skills.

Licensure: A document issued by an institution of learning verifying that a person has a set of skills to perform a job or task.

Master’s Degree: A degree/training program that requires 60 semester hours or more above a bachelor’s degree.

Open Door Admission: An open door admission policy means that the post-secondary school does not have hard admission deadlines or strict admission requirements other than GED, high school diploma, and college entrance testing.

Parent Plus Loans: A financial loan a parent can agree to repay. Its purpose is to borrow money to help pay for their child’s post-secondary education.

Pell Grant: A federal need based grade program for low income graduate students.

Performance Acknowledgements: Students may earn an additional acknowledgement on their diploma because of outstanding performance in areas such as dual credit courses and bilingualism and biliteracy; on Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, PSAT, ACT’s, PLAN, the SAT or ACT exams; or by earning a nationally- or internationally- recognized business or industry certification.

Rank: Students are assigned a number within their graduating class according to a set criteria based on graduation plan and grade average.

Raw Grade Average: 100 point scale grading

SAR: Student Aid Report from the student’s FAFSA application

Semester/Mini-Mester: A school’s academic year is divided into sections that define starting and stopping dates for assigning coursework and grades. Fall & Spring semesters typically last 4.5 to 5 months, summer semesters typically last 6 weeks (meet every day for half a day), Mini-Mesters typically last 2 weeks (meets every workday from 8-5). Professors do not usually shorten course requirements for shorter semesters. All work is required to be done in the shortened time frame.

Spring Semester: January – May

Summer I: June – 1st week in July

Summer II: 2nd week in July – 2nd week in August

Fall: August – December

December MiniMester: 3rd week in December – 2nd week in January

May MiniMester: 2nd week in May – Last of May

Scholarships: Gifts of financial assistance awarded by public and private groups based on academic, performance, special circumstance, and/or need.

Special Education Services: A United States Federal program that allows students with disabilities and/or handicapping conditions to receive special life and educational services.

STAAR: State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) is the state-mandated test given annually to students in grades 3-8 and in five high school courses.

Student Loans: Federal & Direct student loans are federal government backed/supported student loans that are issued through a bank. Post-secondary school’s financial aid departments offer these loans to students who qualify based on their FAFSA application. The funds from student loans are to be used for tuition, fees, books, room, transportation and other educationally related expenses. The student signs a promissory note which requires the student to pay back the money borrowed for education purposes. The government pays the interest on the loan while the student is in school. Students must begin making payments on their student loan(s) when they have stopped attending classes after 2 months whether a certificate or degree has been earned or not. This means if a student drops out of college they still must pay back the loan they created. If a student defaults on a loan they are denied all types of licenses and privileges like driver’s licenses and hunting licenses. Person’s pay checks are involuntarily docked (money taken out without the person’s permission by the government), if a person wins the lottery and have a defaulted student loan, that money is taken out before the reward is given.

Transcript: AKA – AAR (Academic Achievement Record), is a permanent record holding all course work taken for high school credit. It also contains all testing documentation taken while in high school.

Tuition and Fees: Money charged a student for course work and use of equipment and facilities.