by Leah Peloff ‘18
Many students look forward to their senior year as a time to cut down on a demanding junior year schedule. They picture an abundance of time to relax and have fun while maintaining a high GPA thanks to easier classes. On the other hand, some may argue that a senior’s job is not over yet. Many colleges look for students to have a fairly rigorous senior year to show they are getting the most out of their high school education and continuing on an upward trajectory towards college-readiness.
These two contradictory ideas leave many questions about what prospective seniors should do to ensure they are not making any last-minute mistakes that could put admission to their top choice of school at stake.
Every year, the Sherwood counseling department attends a seminar at the University of Maryland in which the admissions board highlights exactly what they are seeking from the next year’s freshman class applicants. The counselors then pass this information onto incoming seniors.
One main concern is that “senioritis” will hit full-force and one’s top college will request to see first quarter or semester grades, leaving a student at risk for being deferred. “We always warn seniors that there is a chance that colleges will look at your senior grades. I would say historically, for my seniors, maybe 20 percent [are requested to send theirs],” said counselor Erin Mckenna. “Those are your seniors who are right on the line of academic acceptance.”
She explained that schools often request a senior’s mid-year grades to help students, giving them one last chance to prove they are continuing to learn and improve and will do the same once attending that university.
On top of AP and honors classes, “electives or an internship program that focuses on a student’s interest in the future or their major in college are also important. Seniors should take classes that expand their knowledge in areas of interest,” said Mckenna.
On a broader scale, many schools list their guides to constructing the perfect senior year schedule on their website. According to the Yale Undergraduate Admissions, “If you push yourself to excel all the way through your senior year and beyond, we take that to be a good sign that you will do the same at Yale. And that is the type of student we welcome.”
Despite the strong urge to slack off senior year, many experienced advisors warn that this may not be in the best interest of students seeking college acceptance.