Do Senior-Year Classes and Grades Count?

Forget About Senioritis

Choosing classes for senior year often presents a delicate balance. On one side are the student’s college and career hopes and aspirations; on the other side are the student’s social life and personal factors. With this balance in mind, rising seniors often ask, “Will my classes and grades from senior year even matter when it comes to college admission?”

The straight answer to this question is a resounding YES.

Why It Matters

For students who are admitted to college Early Decision or Early Action in December, before first semester grades are finalized, senior year grades must still show the same level of academic rigor and achievement previously reflected on the transcript. If senior-year grades show a significant decline in either rigor or grades, then college admission offices can withdraw their offer of admission. In 2006, the University of Washington reportedly withdrew 23 admission offers because of a dip in senior performance and sent letters warning 180 other students that their senior-year academic performance was disappointing and they would need to do better to succeed in college.

For early applicants deferred and those who apply Regular Decision, 1st semester senior-year grades can have a significant impact on whether the student is even offered admission. Many college admission offices require a Mid-Year Report from the student’s school counselor that includes transcript updated with 1st semester senior-year grades. The actual classes taken and the grades can be a decision-maker in the college’s final admission decision.

Think Big-Picture

So, when you’re a senior in high school and feeling the symptoms of senioritis, consider how you would feel reading this in a letter from the college you planned to attend, just weeks before the start of class: "I regret that we had to take this action and hope you will find an educational alternative that meets your needs." Yes, your senior-year grades count.

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