Your academic schedule senior year can play a big part in your college acceptance chances.
Grades and test scores are an important part of your college admissions resume. But before your good grades can shine, it’s important to choose the high school coursework that best showcases your academic talents.
No longer is senior year a couple of “blow off” classes mixed in with some study halls. Now it’s a chance for you to set yourself apart from the rest and optimize your schedule to improve your college preparation. Strong course selection senior year (especially in the first semester) can make a difference in some admissions decisions.
Not only do AP courses look good on your high school transcript, but they also give you a leg up when you begin your college education.
Let’s examine the differences between a suggested high school senior college prep schedule and what can be called a “standard” schedule. Remember, there will be a lot of variation depending on graduation requirements and individual school offerings.
Senior Year Schedules
- Hour 1: English IV
- Hour 2: Pre-calculus or Trigonometry
- Hour 3: History of American Popular Music (Elective)
- Hour 4: Biology
- Hour 5: Civics or Western Civilization
- Hour 6: Study Hall (Elective)
- Hour 7: Psychology or Sociology (Elective)
College Prep Schedule
- Hour 1: Creative Writing, AP Literature or AP English
- Hour 2: AP Statistics or Calculus
- Hour 3: Spanish 4 or AP French (Elective)
- Hour 4: AP Physics or AP Chemistry
- Hour 5: AP Government
- Hour 6: Theater or Jazz Band (Elective)
- Hour 7: AP Computer Science (Elective)
So, how exactly will these differences affect college admissions?
Not only do AP courses look good on your high school transcript, but they also give you a leg up when you begin your college education. Instead of starting your freshman year in English 101, many schools accept transfer credits from college-level or AP courses taken in high school, catapulting you straight into second semester coursework.
Your choice of electives can make the difference between a “slacker” year and a year designed with college preparation in mind. College admissions boards love well-rounded students. You can demonstrate your worldliness with a mixture of strenuous coursework and an appreciation for the arts. Courses in the fine arts, social sciences, media, and technology are all great choices for electives.
Strength of Schedule
If you’re familiar with college basketball or football, the strength of a team’s schedule often determines how that team is seeded in the post-season tournament. In academics, a strong schedule not only shows that you have a commitment to your education, but that you’re ready to handle the academic challenges of college.
Don’t let senioritis hinder you from putting your best foot forward in college admissions.