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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
- 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 (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
Frequently asked questions about what classes to take senior year of high school
Does senior year of high school even matter for colleges?
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?
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?
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