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What Classes Should I Take Senior Year of High School?

By Cece Gilmore

Cece Gilmore is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cece earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was the education editor as well as a published staff reporter at Downtown Devil. Cece was also the co-host of her own radio show on Blaze Radio ASU.

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and Cait Williams

Cait Williams is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cait recently graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Journalism and Strategic Communications. During her time at OU, was active in the outdoor recreation community.

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Reviewed by Cari Shultz

Cari Schultz is an Educational Review Board Advisor at Scholarships360, where she reviews content featured on the site. For over 20 years, Cari has worked in college admissions (Baldwin Wallace University, The Ohio State University, University of Kentucky) and as a college counselor (Columbus School for Girls).

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Edited by Maria Geiger

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Updated: February 5th, 2024
What Classes Should I Take Senior Year of High School?

Maybe you are 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, extracurriculars, and of course, graduation. So, let’s talk together about how you can best choose your courses for senior year!

What to expect from this guide

This is a general guide of what typical classes you will likely be expected to take your senior year of high school. Keep in mind, however, that every school district may have slightly different requirements. So, speak with your guidance counselor or check your school’s website to verify what you need to do. 

This guide will be helpful in providing you with an outline of what classes you should consider taking senior year. Your unique plans for post-high school are an important part of senior year course planning as well. 

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

Social studies

  • 3 years of social studies, including US history

Foreign language

  • 1-2 years of the same foreign language 


  • Most high schools require a certain number of elective credits

Physical education

  • 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 (i.e. have you completed all the classes you need 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 above 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, 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 colleges should I apply to?

What classes do colleges want to see a senior take? 

It’s not so much that there are specific subjects every college wants to see you take. However, there are themes to your courses that colleges will want to see. Some of those themes are listed below:

  • Consistency – you may have already been admitted to a college by the start of your senior year, but that does not mean you should let your grades drop; instead you should aim to stay consistent or improve when possible
  • Academic rigor – even if you have already completed all your high school courses, you should still strive to push yourself academically instead of simply opting for easy electives 
  • Your class choices should reflect your application – by this we mean that if you mentioned a specific major on your application, such as pre-med, your courses should reflect a student who is interested in those subjects and did well in them

How much should you challenge yourself? 

Okay, let’s take a minute to talk about challenging yourself! It’s important to keep in mind that while colleges will like to see that you are pushing yourself, you should never push yourself hard enough that it would cause your grades, and therefore your GPA, to drop. 

This means that deciding to go all in and do all AP courses senior year might not be a great idea. Instead, take some time to gauge what you think you can handle. Perhaps taking one or two honors or AP courses is a better choice for you. Consider the questions below:

  • How much time do you have for homework and studying?
  • What sports or extracurriculars will you have going on?
  • The college admissions process can be very time consuming, how far into it are you?

Speak with your parents or a guidance counselor about what their thoughts are on the matter as well. It is important to continue working hard and doing your best throughout your entire senior year, but also remember to make the most of it and have fun too!

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

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

  • If you have not finished up all of your required classes, then they should certainly be at the top of your list for senior year
  • Keep your classes consistent and don’t opt to simply take a bunch of electives because you’ve completed all your required courses
  • Try to challenge yourself by taking honors, AP courses or by becoming involved in other ways at your high school
  • Your senior year is an important year that colleges look at when you come to their school, which means, even if you are already admitted to a school, you should strive to keep your grades and GPA high
Key Takeaways

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 the admissions 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. 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. However, they can be a great way to save money and time after graduation. 

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?

Should you take hard classes senior year?

 It’s not about just taking hard classes. As we said above, colleges are not interested in just seeing that you took the highest level classes. They’re concerned with how well you did in those classes, if your grades remained consistent, and what the classes are that you are taking. You should take classes that are relevant to you so that you’ll be able to do well in. Ultimately, that will reflect well on who you are as a student.

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