Midterm exams are coming up next week, and with that the first semester of the 2019-2020 school year will come to a close. Course selections are also upon us, as teachers will go over class options for the next school year and make recommendations for students in grades 9-11.
It might not seem like it, but picking senior year classes is one of the most important parts of junior year. It is crucial to both challenge yourself academically and anticipate the inevitable onset of senioritis. No matter how good of a student you are, or what you might think right now, you will get a feeling of complacency and laziness as your post-secondary plans are solidified. NO ONE IS IMMUNE. Those 4 AP classes might seem like a good idea at the middle of junior year, but by March of senior year, you will surely have a different opinion of them.
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to take courses in subjects that interest you and are relevant to your intended college major. Skip the classes you feel will have no help to you in college or your career. For example, if you plan on majoring in biology in college, AP Literature & Composition will likely be a waste of time.
I can speak to this point from personal experience. I have wanted to major in journalism and/or political science ever since the beginning of high school, and therefore knew this when I made my course selections for senior year. In my infinite wisdom, I made the decision to take calculus instead of an easier math class for the sole reason of “looking good” to colleges. Fast forward to mid-January of senior year, and I currently have a D for the second quarter in that class. Had I taken Math for Liberal Arts I/II instead, I would not be in this position and would likely still be accepted to college.
The truth is, your coursework in grades 9-11 is the most important for college admission. While all colleges require some sort of mid-year and final grade report from your senior year, these grades have less impact; as long as you perform around the same as previous years, your standing will not change. It is also extraordinarily difficult to change your GPA during your senior year. Ultimately, it comes down to this: senior year is still important, but don’t push yourself beyond your limits and focus on the bigger picture of college.