Plan your senior year wisely. We know you’re tired, but you have one more year to show your academic talents and passions to colleges. Remember, colleges want students who like to go to class and have academic passions.
Do not take a light senior year. Colleges worry about students who take easy senior years with only a few core classes and fewer activities. In college, you usually only take four classes at a time. Look forward to that.
Do not abandon more than one subject area. We know that many state colleges only require two years of a foreign language of three years of math. But they want you to go as high as you can. So if you decide not to take one content area, say Spanish, you must not give up history or science. If you dislike science, then take a foreign language and social science. Remember, you have to take math and language placement tests. If you don’t take those content areas senior year, those tests will be harder for you.
Take at least four core classes, not including electives. Five cores plus one elective are ideal. Colleges want to see academic interest, not abandonment.
Take as hard a year as you can. If you took some AP and honors classes, then take more senior year. If you didn’t take any, try one honors or AP class. Even though the UCs and Cal States don’t see your senior year grades during the admissions process, they do count the number of AP and honors classes you take during senior year.
Follow your interests. Senior year is often the only time in high school that you can take more than one elective. If you are interested in medicine or sports, take anatomy and physiology. If you’re interested in teaching or helping people, take psychology. If you’re an artist, take another field of art. Try new content areas.
Pick classes in which you can do well. Privates colleges see your fall grades. Waitlisted or deferred colleges may ask for spring grades. All colleges you decide to accept ask for spring grades. If your grades drop, they often drop you.
Use your summers to take more classes. Classes you take during the summer can enhance your GPA. They can help you clear away Ds and Fs. College classes often count as AP level classes. Classes you take during the summer can enable you to take more electives senior year.
Plan to take one community college or college class during the summer or fall. If you have an academic interest, take a community college or college class during the summer and/or fall. They add to your GPA. They show how much you want to go to college. Colleges are looking for students with academic passions and interests. UCLA, for example, has a regular summer session.
If you do take an easier schedule, then you must fill your time with a job, volunteer work, or internship. Dedicate the amount of time you would have been in that class to an activity. Colleges also want students who use their time productively.