Senior Year Myths

A lot of students enter the senior year content with the knowledge that they “satisfied graduation requirements” in one or more of the major discipline areas.  You’ve no doubt heard the talk among your friends:

  • “The junior year is the most difficult and important academically”
  • “I’ve already had four years of language starting in eighth grade.”
  • “I’ve satisfied my math requirement for graduation.”
  • “Science in the senior year is a waste of time unless you want to be a doctor.”
  • “Colleges don’t really look at senior grades.”

Each is a preface to, “So I don’t have to take any more in my senior year…”  Each of these statements reflects a choice the speaker is making.  The choices you make say a lot about your passion for learning.  As a result, they will also have a direct bearing on your range of options when the decision letters are delivered. At the end of your junior year, though, you are finally able to determine for yourself the courses you will take.  It is in the planning for the senior year when students often ask, “Is it better to take an easier course where I know I can get an “A” or to take the harder course where I can probably do the work, but will more likely to get a “B” or a “C?”  The answer:  Take the harder course – AND get the “A!” Think about it.  Colleges want you to show your best work.  Which impression do you want to make – that you are content to stay at the level of your junior year and just take what you need to graduate, or that you are continuing to seek new challenges?  Your best bet is to move to the next logical level of rigor academically.  Show that you have the desire to make yourself better in the classroom.  In doing so, you remain competative  for admission. A good rule of thumb is:  the more selective the college, the more important the senior year performance is as the deciding credential.  Many colleges will wait to make final decisions until mid-year grades are evaluated. One final note:  Give yourself a competative  edge with a strong senior year performance.  Choose courses in traditional academic areas that challenge you.  Don’t over-schedule.  Take courses that make sense given your prior experience.  Then, do well in them. By: The Admission Game – Student-Centered Solutions for College Planning 2007