Graduation Planning

Grade Levels

Grade Level Classifications

Melissa High School students are organized into grade levels based on the number of course credits (i.e. grade points) they have earned according to the GRADE LEVEL CLASSIFICATIONS CHART.

State Requirements for Graduation

Earning Your High School Diploma

Students in Texas earn their high school diploma by 1) accumulating credit for courses taken in specific subject areas, and 2) passing the related state-mandated assessments.

Course Credit

  • Students receive credit for the courses they take by earning a final grade of 70 percent (70%) or higher.

  • For full-year courses, students receive credit if their final grade average for the full year (i.e. two semesters) is 70 percent (70%) or higher.

  • A course shall not be repeated once credit has been earned.

  • In accordance with state law, students must attend 90 percent (90%) of the days the course is offered in order to receive course credit.

  • For more detailed information, refer to the section below titled "Course & Credit Requirements for Graduation".

State-Mandated Assessments

  • Students will be required to take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) End-of-Course Assessments (EOCs) in the following core courses: Algebra I, Biology, English I, English II, and U.S. History.

  • For more information about the STAAR from the Texas Education Agency (TEA), visit this link: STAAR INFORMATION & RESOURCES.

Please be advised that the following courses are considered "local credits" which means that they that do not count toward state graduation requirements or overall grade point average (GPA): Office Aide, Library Aide, and any Student Leadership courses taken for a second year and beyond.
In accordance with TEC §74.38, students in Texas are required to receive instruction in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Per TEC §74.39, students who entered 9th grade for the 2018-2019 school year or later will also receive instruction in proper interaction with peace officers.

Course & Credit Requirements for Graduation

Students and parents/guardians should take time to review the OVERVIEW OF COURSE & CREDIT REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADUATION to understand the program requirements for the two Melissa High School graduation track options: "Foundation Plus Endorsement" and "Distinguished Level of Achievement". For each graduation track, there are standard requirements and expectations, organized by subject area.

Per the ACADEMIC ADVISING EXPECTATIONS, Melissa ISD encourages students to pursue the "Distinguished Level of Achievement" graduation track. We believe this coursework will provide the most secure foundation for postsecondary success.

Top 10% Eligibility

Eligibility for recognition in the top 10 percent (top 10%) of the graduating class requires that the student graduate with the "Distinguished Level of Achievement" credential. For more information regarding grade point average (GPA) and class rank for Melissa High School students, visit this link: GPA & CLASS RANK.

Performance Acknowledgements

In addition to the Endorsement requirement, students may be eligible to receive a performance acknowledgement for strong achievement in the following areas: Advanced Coursework, Bilingualism, Advanced Examinations, College Readiness Examinations, and/or Workforce Readiness Examinations. Contact your counselor for more information.

Early Graduation

Students who are interested in early graduation must apply no later than the spring of their junior year of high school. Parent/guardian and principal approval are required.

  • In order to qualify for early graduation, students must meet college, career, or military readiness. Your counselor will assist you with this during the application process.

  • Applicants should obtain credit verification with a counselor to formalize the student’s plan for early graduation.

  • Students meeting graduation requirements before the scheduled graduation ceremonies may participate in the ceremonies.

Automatic Admission Eligibility

Students who graduate on the "Foundation Plus Endorsement" track without taking Algebra II are not eligible for automatic admission into a Texas public college or university and may not be eligible for certain forms of financial aid. For more information from the state, visit this link: TEA GRADUATION INFORMATION.

Summer Programs

The district may offer additional programs in the summer 2023 based on student needs.

  • Students who need additional instruction to prepare for the STAAR EOCs will have access to instructional support in June.

  • The next summer testing session will be June 18-21, 2023.

  • Other possible summer programs may include camps for Athletics and Fine Arts.

Endorsements & Career Pathways

What is an Endorsement?

In order to address college-readiness, career-readiness, and postsecondary planning, students are required to take courses that are connected by an Endorsement area and follow a "career pathway" for a "program of study" within the Endorsement area. The Endorsement requirement applies to both the "Foundation Plus Endorsement" and "Distinguished Level of Achievement" graduation tracks.

  • There are five (5) Endorsement areas to choose from.

  • Courses that satisfy the Endorsement requirement are typically elective (non-core) courses.

  • An initial Endorsement area is chosen in 8th grade and confirmed in 9th grade. Students may change their Endorsement area periodically throughout high school.

Endorsement Areas

Career & Technical Education (CTE):

  • Business & Industry

  • Public Service

  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM)

General (Non-CTE):

  • Arts & Humanities

  • Multidisciplinary Studies

  • Non-CTE Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM)

Career Pathways

The resources below have been created to assist students and parents/guardians in choosing an Endorsement area and planning postsecondary goals.


For all CTE Endorsement areas, Melissa ISD has developed sample graduation plans, known as career pathways within each , designed by career and college options.

Please take some time to review the course offerings within each Endorsement area during course registration. CTE course offerings can be found in the "Course Offerings" section of this website. Career pathways are linked within each program of study.

Arts & Humanities

Students may earn an Arts & Humanities Endorsement by earning credits one of the following ways:

  • Five (5) Social Studies courses.

  • Four (4) levels of courses in the same language other than English.

  • Two (2) levels of courses in two (2) different languages other than English.

  • A coherent sequence of four (4) courses from 1-2 disciplines within the Fine Arts program.

Multidisciplinary Studies

Students may earn a Multidisciplinary Studies Endorsement by earning credits one of the following ways:

  • Four (4) courses in each of the core subject areas, including English IV, Chemistry and/or Physics.

  • Four (4) or more Dual Credit high school courses.

  • Four (4) Advanced courses that prepare the student to successfully enter the workforce or postsecondary education, without remediation, from within one (1) or more endorsement areas.


Students may earn a Non-CTE STEM Endorsement in either Math or Science by earning credits one of the following ways:

  • Math: Five (5) Mathematics courses, including Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and two (2) additional Advanced Mathematics courses.

  • Science: Five (5) Science courses, including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and two (2) additional Advanced Science courses.

TEA Graduation Toolkit

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) offers a graduation toolkit designed to guide students and families through the benefits of each Endorsement area, in order to increase the likelihood of preparation and success in college and in the workforce. This graduation toolkit also includes information on various workforce resources provided through the Texas Workforce Commission.

Transfer Students

Transcript Evaluation Guidelines

When a transcript is received by Melissa High School from an accredited school within the United States, transfer credit will be awarded for any course recognized by the state of Texas.

  • When a transcript lists only letter grades, and numeric grades are not available from the former district, Melissa High School will use the GPA Scale for Transfer Students [Coming Soon] to convert from letter to numeric grade.

  • When weighted GPA is calculated, the numeric grades will be subject to the Melissa High School weighted GPA scale.

  • For more information about GPA calculations for Melissa High School students, visit this link: GPA & CLASS RANK.

Transcripts from Non-Public Schools

Students who enroll in Melissa ISD with credits earned in non-public schools may only transfer credit if the non-public school was accredited. Information about the accreditation of non-public schools in Texas as well as a list of approved accreditation bodies is maintained by the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC). TEPSAC reviews and certifies organizations as meeting the requirements made by the Commissioner of Education and as having standards comparable to 19 TAC Chapter 97.

  • TEPSAC maintains an annually updated list of accredited non-public Texas schools. For more information, visit TEPSAC.ORG.

  • If the non-public school is outside of Texas, only coursework completed at a school accredited by the appropriate regional or national accrediting association will be accepted.

  • Please additionally refer to the information in Melissa ISD Board Policy FD (Local) and FD (Legal) for additional information about credit from non-accredited, non-public schools, including homeschool.

International Transcripts

Transcripts that require a translation to English will not receive a letter grade or numerical equivalency. A “P” for passing will be assigned to designate that credit was earned. The maximum number of transcribed courses per year is eight.

Accredited international schools that deliver the majority of the instruction in English or utilize an American-based curriculum, in addition to Department of Defense schools, will be reviewed in the same manner as transcripts received from accredited non-public schools from within the United States.

Scholarships & Financial Aid


Melissa Education Foundation

The Melissa Education Foundation (MEF) is a non-profit education foundation created to centralize, simplify, and enhance the process of raising money for and awarding scholarships to deserving graduates in Melissa ISD. To learn more, VISIT THE MEF WEBSITE.

Scholarships Website

Melissa High School maintains a list of scholarship opportunities that is updated throughout the school year. For more information, visit WWW.MELISSAISD.ORG/SCHOLARSHIPS.

Financial Aid

It is important for students to apply for financial aid early in their senior year. Priority deadlines may be as early as mid-December.


Per state law, students are now required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal and state financial aid, or fill out a waiver exempting them from completing the FAFSA prior to graduation. For ore information and to complete the FAFSA online, visit FAFSA.GOV.

State Aid

  • Students who are not eligible to fill out the FAFSA may still apply for state financial aid through the TASFA application. For more information, visit COLLEGEFORALLTEXANS.COM.

  • Texas also offers aid through the Hazlewood Act which provides tuition benefits for qualified veterans and dependent children. For more information, visit TVC.TEXAS.GOV.

Online Resources

This list of online resources is provided as a service to Melissa ISD students and families. There is no intent on the part of Melissa ISD to endorse the organizations and web resources listed below, nor is this list inclusive of all possible resources. The student and family are free to obtain information from any other source. For more information and resources, visit the COUNSELING WEBSITE.

Your Experience

Considerations for Each Year of High School

Freshman Year (9th Grade)

Explore your interests and graduation requirements and confirm your Personal Graduation Plan:

  • Select courses that meet graduation requirements but also ensure or increase college readiness skills and/or prepare you for your career focus. Plan to take courses that are relevant to your goals and aspirations each year. Create a four-year Personal Graduation Plan for graduation in 8th grade to plan courses for freshman year. As you prepare to register for your sophomore year, reassess and adjust your plan as needed. Plan to schedule prerequisite courses for electives you want to take in grades 10-12.

  • Keep searching for college and career information.

Master organization and study skills:

  • Get comfortable attending tutoring, participating in study groups, and taking notes during class. It is helpful to learn a note-taking system to help you tackle challenging concepts.

  • Actively develop your vocabulary. Read and write as often as possible.

  • KEEP A PLANNER! Break large assignments into a series of manageable steps. Check in with your teacher regularly as you work through your steps. Be sure to look for and write down lesson objectives and information about upcoming assignments.

  • Remember that courses and grades determine the grade point average used by the school and colleges. Your rank is based on your grade point average.

  • Keep written goals and revise them often. Share your aspirations with your friends and family, your school counselor, your administrator, your teachers, and any other important adults in your life.

Get connected to the life of the school:

  • Participate in school-related activities and community service.

  • Get involved in coursework that spans multiple years of study. Try to stay committed to your chosen programs so you can build on your knowledge each year.

Sophomore Year (10th Grade)

Push yourself to do your best:

  • Plan your schedule thoughtfully to complete required courses for graduation and to satisfy prerequisite courses for electives you want to take in grades 11 and 12.

  • Review your transcript and verify grade point average and rank. Set a goal for your grades this year.

  • Read challenging books on a variety of topics, including non-fiction and biography pieces. Write as often as you are able. Ask questions in your classes and attend tutoring. Form study groups with your peers.

  • Take the PSAT in October for practice. The PSAT will help prepare you for the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in the 11th grade.

  • Take three years of language other than English. It demonstrates your desire to be more competitive and prepared for college. This may be a requirement for some university admissions, or admission to certain programs.

Narrow your interests and revise your planning:

  • Keep searching for college and career information. Make it a point to share your interests with your counselor.

  • Look for opportunities to interact with mentors in your career interest.

  • Research the educational and certification requirements for careers that interest you. Locate colleges and universities that have programs in your desired field of study.

Seek leadership roles in your activities or unique ways to contribute to your community:

  • Keep an updated resume and portfolio of accomplishments.

  • Offer to get involved and follow through with your commitments. Focus on quality work rather than quantity of activity.

Junior Year (11th Grade)

Take on challenges:

  • Take rigorous courses and do your best at earning high grades in all classes. When you initially apply to college next year, they will be considering the grades you have earned through the end of your junior year.

  • Discuss your grade point average and test scores with your counselor to make wise choices about junior and senior classes and college options. Some colleges or programs may have additional course requirements beyond the state graduation plan. For instance, some engineering programs may require Pre-Calculus and/or Calculus. It is important to research the requirements of your prospective colleges when finalizing course selections. Review and update your Personal Graduation Plan.

  • Take three years of language other than English. It demonstrates your desire to be more competitive and prepared for college. This may be a requirement for some university admissions and programs.

Prepare for standardized testing:

  • Plan to take the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in October. The PSAT is administered only in October. Use the PSAT score report to study and improve your SAT score. You must register to take the exam. See your counselor for details.

  • Take the SAT or ACT in the spring of the junior year and use your score report to study and improve your score when the SAT is repeated in the senior year.

  • SAT Website:

  • ACT Website:

Gather and organize your information:

  • Maintain an updated resume and portfolio of accomplishments.

  • Visit colleges. Many colleges will offer special perks to students that visit. Additionally, an increasing number of intuitions are now offering “virtual tours” and maintain a strong presence on social media. Juniors are allowed two excused absences to visit prospective institutions. Be sure to turn in appropriate documentation from the college you visited. See your counselor or attendance office with any questions.

  • Develop a list of 5-7 schools that you are planning to apply to in the fall. Look up their application deadlines and other details about admissions.

  • If you are planning to participate in college athletics, review the eligibility guidelines of your governing association (NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, etc.)

Senior Year (12th Grade)

Start the year with a strong plan for your studies and activities:

  • Plan a schedule with rigorous coursework and activities. Colleges do look at senior courses and grades in making admission decisions. Admissions officers will consider many factors when determining the likelihood that an applicant will be prepared to progress academically on the college campus.

  • Review your grade point average and your test scores to help you prioritize your time and assist you in planning for your journey beyond high school.

Stay active:

  • Participate in school-related activities and community service. Institutions of higher learning consider a student’s involvement in activities other than academics. Consider working a part time job or participating in an internship. It can be very beneficial to connect with a mentor in your chosen area of study.

  • Re-take the SAT/ACT in the fall. Review SAT/ACT scores when available and take again in December if necessary. Don’t miss the registration deadline!

  • If you plan to go to college in Texas, you are subject to the Texas Success Initiative to demonstrate college readiness. Note that if you meet the requirement for exemption such as through your ACT or SAT score, you must alert your prospective institution. You can learn more about TSI by visiting this link:

Pursue your plan:

  • If you have the opportunity, visit your top choice colleges. Seniors are allowed two excused absences to visit prospective institutions. Be sure to turn in appropriate documentation from the college you visited. See your counselor or attendance office with any questions.

  • Apply to colleges early in your senior year. Many schools have early November deadlines. Institutional scholarship deadlines are December 1st in many cases. Use application sites like Apply Texas or Common App to streamline the application process.

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) in the fall of your senior year. Many institutions will require this in order to be considered for scholarships.