Somehow a large number of you (and by you I mean, “high school students,” also known as, “Facebook users that find anyone over 25 on Facebook pretty creepy”) are either hitting the homestretch of your senior year, or you are in midst of selecting your senior year classes (or just picked them, or about to pick them – whatever, don’t quibble). A smaller portion of you (and by smaller portion I mean, “a lot” and you I mean, “people who believe that Coke and Coke Zero staff really have a serious rivalry going”) are under the bizarre and entirely mistaken impression that senior year is unimportant. In my ongoing quest to reduce cluelessness, I will hereby eradicate this myth once and for all.
But before I get around to the eradication, I’ll admit there are cases where it’s at least close to true. For some colleges and universities where your scores and grades are WAY above their average, the senior year may play very little role in the admission process, at least initially. Your performance through junior year may be sufficient for a decision.
For most of you, however, the admissions counselors/committee/computer will want additional data, and that data is most likely to be found in your senior year. That may mean, for you early action/decision types, looking at what courses you decided to take. For most, it will mean actually seeing your grades in senior year.
There are even those of you where the senior year is your chance to change things to a large degree. My hardest admission decisions usually follow that pattern. I had two this year that found their way to my desk after review by the admissions committee. Both had truly heart-wrenching stories behind them. Let me share that after 20 years in admissions it takes quite a bit to even nudge my heart, let along wrench it, and to have it happen twice in a season is fairly exceptional. In one case grades were terrible up until late in junior year. Then, suddenly, the student had spectacular grades, all the while in a very rigorous schedule. I waited to see most of senior year, and the grades held strong – clearly the student had moved past the awful experiences and found a way to succeed. The other student had a weaker schedule. Like student A, grades started to improve, but senior year was much less rigorous (no math or science courses), and the grades weren’t as strong. So student A was admitted, while I’m working directly with student B to find some other options – each decision based almost entirely on senior year performance.
Finally, and I hope most of you knew this was coming, even if we admit you, we still want to see your final grades. In most cases we only act on a pretty severe drop in grades, but there are exceptions. Enrollment has gotten harder and harder to predict as students apply to more and more schools, and that’s especially true with all the uncertainty about the economy. Many schools are saying they will admit more students, thinking fewer will accept their offer. If those schools are WRONG, they may end up with more students than they want. Not be a buzz kill, but if you are admitted to a school that ends up with way more students than they want, and your senior year grades go down at the end, that may be an excuse for that school to, and I yes I realize this is unfortunate choice of language, thin the herd.
So, senior year important. Take a lot of challenging courses, and do well in them – all the way to the end of the year. And you should also floss – it won’t help with admissions, but dental health is just plain important. Be seeing you.
Filed under: Admissions, Applications, College, College Admissions, Education, Family, GPA, Grades, High School, Life, University | Tagged: Admissions, admit, College, deny, Education, Life, University, wait list |