Senior Year Course Selection, Combining Challenge and Success. This spring, juniors have signed up for their senior year courses. This summer class sign ups have been reviewed by me as to the appropriateness of the student requests, and Lopez Island High School graduation requirements. If necessary I will meet with you to make adjustments in your course sign ups.
Colleges look first to see whether applicants have challenged themselves. They then look to see if an applicant has succeeded at the challenges. My advice to students is to take the strongest program in which they are able to earn honors or A or B grades.
Math Course Options for the Senior Year. Most students have completed their math requirements by the end of the junior year. Even so, I strongly recommend that they take a senior math course during at least the fall semester.
Studies of seniors who do not take math show that over 80% drop significantly on the math portion of the SAT while 90% of those who continue with math are able to maintain or improve their SAT math score. Furthermore, in my experience when evaluating a transcript, college admissions officers like to see a senior math course. Students who dodge challenging courses in their senior year give the impression of bailing out after having reached the limits of their ability.
Advanced Placement Courses: Asset or Liability? Occasionally, a student will question whether Advanced Placement courses are worth the extra effort and time commitment. Students who can earn honors grades in AP courses gain several distinct advantages:
AP courses show "challenge," the first criteria colleges use in admissions. Students who succeed in AP courses are showing their ability to do college work.
AP course grades are given extra benefit at many colleges. For example, the University of California system computes an A in an AP course as a 5 rather than a 4. AP grades are not given extra GPA weight at many of the most selective colleges. I have been told that one admissions official has said, "we only admit students who take AP courses.".
Most colleges do give placement and/or credit for advanced placement courses you take in high school you take in high school.
The content and rigor of AP courses are their own rewards.