Rigorous schedules spring seniors towards success

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Photo by Erin Cowan

By Tyler Harrison, Round Table executive producer

Senior year: a time most students can’t wait for. They look forward to being on top of the school, going to senior prom and, most importantly, having an easy class schedule. But is an easy schedule really a good idea to pursue senior year, or any year for that matter? Middletown guidance counselor Bradley George said, “A significant portion of what colleges evaluate your application on is the rigor in your senior schedule”.

Colleges country-wide are harder and harder to get accepted into every year. A senior’s schedule is one of the many factors colleges take into account when deciding whether or not to accept someone. The way the applicants act and what they achieve senior year affects the outcome of their college applications.

According to the Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC) colleges look for “…academically hungry, accomplished, and curious students.” In order to look good in the eyes of admissions centers country wide, a student must show that he or she is willing to go above and beyond the minimum standards for senior year. To accomplish this, students should partake in rigorous educational activities such as internships, AP classes, dual enrollment classes at their local community college and any other activity that can set them apart from other students applying to the same college.

MHS senior Mikey Maguire said “That’s what colleges look for; colleges are looking for students who challenge themselves.”

The more active a student is in the school and community, along with applying to many colleges that will judge him or her, makes the likelihood of acceptance greater. More is never bad when it comes to college applications and personal resumes.

MHS senior Kelsey Delaughter added that “You should do open campus to get ahead for college.”

Many students jam pack their junior year with challenging AP classes and SAT/ACT testing, so they want a break during senior year. Students often plan a year with easy “fluff” classes and early dismissal days with no afternoon classes. But what they don’t realize is that a challenging year doesn’t necessarily mean a full schedule of core AP classes and excessive testing.

A student can show college-level interest through continued learning with advanced courses in classes he feels passionate about or what he want to major in. For example, if a student wants to go into the criminology field he may take forensic science or psychology courses during his or her senior year. This would show a college that a student is interested in a certain field, and it may increase his or her chances of getting into that college. The rigor of a senior schedule doesn’t exclusively entail only hard classes and time-consuming internships; it may also be filled with advanced classes that show interest in a particular field.

Schools give particular attention to the grades obtained in the classes taken in a student’s senior year. Just because classes are passed senior year doesn’t mean that colleges will be more likely to accept that student.

George said “The only grades that get reported to colleges are through the end of junior year; however, they do see what you’re taking senior year, and if they see a bunch of fluff then they may think you’re not taking your academics seriously.”

A “D” average in a class is technically passing, but colleges may view that “D” as the student not applying themselves and not being “college ready.” Having a lower GPA isn’t necessarily the sole factor a college application being denied; however, the higher your GPA the more likely you are to be accepted.

MHS senior Anthony Orsini believes that rigor in your senior schedule is important, “So colleges don’t think you’re slacking off.”

According to WACAC, colleges also view an increasing trend in a student’s GPA with a positive light. A student should continue to earn as high marks as possible to appear as prepared as possible for colleges by November and December when most early applications are due, as well as their final grades.

George said, “If you’re really serious about maintaining yourself as a competitive college applicant you have to make sure that you keep challenging yourself when you apply to college.”

Senior year is certainly a time when students should take advantage of the perks of being top dog and senior activities, like prom, but it is also crucial they remember to continue their rigorous schedules and activities as much as possible in order to show colleges that they are ready to walk the halls in only a few short months.