Student-centric advice and objective recommendations
Higher education has never been more confusing or expensive. Our goal is to help you navigate the very big decisions related to higher ed with objective information and expert advice. Each piece of content on the site is original, based on extensive research, and reviewed by multiple editors, including a subject matter expert. This ensures that all of our content is up-to-date, useful, accurate, and thorough.
Our reviews and recommendations are based on extensive research, testing, and feedback. We may receive commission from links on our website, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted. You can find a complete list of our partners here.
What Classes Should I Take Senior Year of High School?
Asking yourself “what classes should I take senior year?” There’s a lot to balance in your final year of high school, from college testing/applications, keeping up grades, preparing for a post-high school career, extra curriculars, and of course, graduation. Select your senior year classes wisely by reading the following guide before start!
What to expect from this guide
As a preface, this is a general guide of what typical classes you will most likely be expected to take your senior year of high school. The type of classes and the number of classes is dependent on the curriculum your school follows, as well as your state’s educational requirements.
Therefore, the information in this guide may not directly match your particular high school’s requirements. However, this guide will be extremely helpful in providing you with a good idea of what classes you should consider taking, given the opportunity, senior year.
To find out more about your particular high school’s curriculum, you should visit your school’s website or schedule an appointment with your guidance counselor. Your unique plans for post-high school are an important part of senior year course planning.
Typical high school requirements to graduate
- 4 years of English
- 3 years of math, including algebra and geometry
- 2-3 years of science, including biology and chemistry
- 3 years of social studies, including US history
- 1-2 years of the same foreign language
- Most high schools require a certain number of elective credits
- Most high schools require students to take 1-4 years of physical education
What classes should you take?
Now that you have seen some of the requirements you must meet in order to graduate high school, let’s make sure you are taking the right classes senior year!
After reading the basic requirements for graduation, you should ask yourself these questions:
- Are you on track to graduate?
- Are you taking the classes that will help you get into the college you want?
- Are you taking higher level classes that relate to your intended major?
If any of those requirements stood out to you because you have yet to complete them – focus on those! For example, if you have only taken one year of foreign language, maybe you should speak to your guidance counselor about taking another year of foreign language during your senior year.
The most important thing is that you are meeting with your guidance counselor to discuss your senior year schedule. They will be able to offer you tailored advice for which classes would be the most appropriate for you to take.
Related: How many college should I apply to?
What classes do colleges want to see a senior take?
When you submit your college applications, your junior year grades will likely be the most recent grades colleges see, but your senior year still matters! Colleges are also going to evaluate the courses and level of rigor of your senior year schedule even if you haven’t earned grades yet. Eventually, colleges will see your senior year fall and spring grades. It is important to continue working hard and doing your best throughout your entire senior year, as admissions decisions can be revoked based on these grades. In addition, if you have been waitlisted anywhere, having rigorous courses with good grades could get you off the waitlist.
If you are up for a challenge and want to impress a college during your senior year, you can take the opportunity to raise your course load a little. Even if you have completed all of the bare minimum requirements for your school or state, you can continue to enrich your mind through harder courses.
In addition, if you have an idea of what you want to major in at college, you can take some higher level courses that relate to your major. This will allow you to hopefully gain credit to skip some entry level classes in college.
Other factors to consider when deciding on your classes
- Remember – senior year is a busy one, and you’ll have to devote a lot of time to college applications and ACT/SAT prep. So, if possible, it’s a good idea to craft a manageable schedule so you can still maintain your other responsibilities
- Depending on where you hope to attend college, AP courses can give you a great head-start. They can offer the advantage of going into college with credits or course placement.
- Make sure to be proactive and talk to your counselor. This will ensure that you are taking all the courses necessary to graduate.
Frequently asked questions about what classes to take senior year of high school
Does senior year of high school even matter for colleges?
Yes! Senior year is still very important! Colleges will view your senior year grades during this process. Therefore, it is important to make sure you are still doing well because colleges can always revoke an acceptance.
In addition, if you were put on a waitlist for a particular school, they likely will look at your senior year grades and classes. Colleges/universities usually examine your senior year grades and classes as a part of their waitlist review process. Therefore, it is always important to still continue to try your best your senior year.
Can I take college classes in senior year of high school?
If you qualify, you can certainly take college classes while in high school. Before signing up, keep in mind that the most challenging high school curriculum and AP courses carry more weight in the college admissions process.
If you want to save money by earning college credits before “officially” starting on a traditional college journey, taking college classes in high school is a smart move.
Other perks (as long as you earn good grades!) include getting acquainted with college-level academics and challenging yourself. Oh, and did we mention that it looks downright impressive on college applications?
Start your scholarship search