How to create the perfect senior year schedule

By Lwilliams
06/02/2015
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OK, high school juniors! Listen up. It’s the final countdown (yes, we sang that) to your senior year. And, while a schedule filled with cake-walk classes sounds ideal, it’s not the best approach if you want to impress colleges. However, overloading yourself with too many advanced classes doesn't exactly sound like the way you want to be spending your last year in high school, either.  Want to know the secret to creating the perfect senior schedule? Pay close attention …

We’ll go ahead and admit it now — there’s no “perfect” schedule. Sorry. But, don’t give up on us just yet because there are several things you can do to get noticed by colleges during your senior year in high school. We've put together this list to help you plan a senior-year schedule that’s perfect just for you.

  1. Challenge yourself

    If you know you’re a strong student who has done well in advanced classes so far in high school, don’t use your senior year to slack off. Now is the time to take it up a notch. Look into AP or Dual Enrollment (hello, free college credits!) to add to your schedule. Just be sure that you are honest with yourself and will be able to keep up with such a rigorous schedule. A strong schedule that shows you were able to keep an A until the end is better than a fully-loaded schedule where you dropped off to a C+ by midyear.
  2. Remember your core

    No, this isn't a reference to Pilates or the latest ab workout. This core refers to the main academic areas you should have every year of your high school career: math, English, social studies, and science (don't forget to throw in foreign language, too!). As you get to your senior year, you may be thinking about your goals in college, a potential major, and core classes that are going to better prepare you for the future. So, if you plan to become an engineer, you may want to consider doubling your math and dropping a class that isn't as necessary, such as an elective (bye-bye home economics). Just be sure to keep things balanced. A good rule of thumb is to have at least four core classes, along with one or two electives.
  3. Don’t forget to make room for life

    While an impressive schedule is certainly a good way to get a college’s attention, it’s not the only thing admissions offices look at. Remember that being an active student — and we don’t mean just athletics — is also a great way to get noticed. Don’t overload your schedule to the point that you can’t make time for volunteering, scholarship applications, possible internships, extracurricular activities, and so on. Being a smart student is great, but being a well-rounded student is even better.
  4. Relax

    After all, it’s going to be your senior year! If you work hard to challenge yourself and do well, you’re bound to impress at least a few colleges. Remember that there is a school for everyone, and your unique strengths are going to be a great asset to some college out there. Want to know what school is right for you? Try our free college match!

Do you have tips on creating a senior schedule? Share them with us in the comment section below.

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