It is a somewhat common misconception that senior year grades have no impact upon whether or not you are accepted into the college of your choice. However, this is simply not true in many cases. When it comes to applying for college, the quality of your senior year grades can be important.
How much your senior marks factor in really depends upon what schools you are trying to get accepted into. More selective schools will require nearly perfect grades throughout your entire high school career, not just as a senior. Some other schools may pay more attention to other factors, such as SAT scores, class rank, references, essays or community and school involvement. In rare cases, depending on when your grades are posted and when you send in your applications, your senior year marks may not be taken into consideration at all. Still other schools will accept nearly any student that is willing to give them their money.
However, because there is so much inconsistency, it is in your best interest to aim for superior marks. Even if you suspect that the colleges you are applying to will not put much emphasis on senior year grades, you should still work hard. It is not uncommon for the grades of typically strong students to fall during their senior year of high school. An increase in responsibilities, the distraction of college applications and visits, as well as a feeling of restlessness often referred to as “senioritis” can all factor in when it comes to poor grade performance.
Junior year grades are important as well and even freshman and sophomore marks can be a deciding factor at a more competitive institution. However, in the end, senior year grades can also impact your likelihood of getting into the college that you want. So, it’s better to stay on your toes. Besides, working hard and being responsible and self-motivated is good practice for college, where I guarantee things will be much more difficult and grades will matter!
If your graduation is quickly approaching and it’s too late to try to raise poor senior grades, you should try to compensate by performing well in other areas. Spend a lot of time and effort writing your essays and retake the SATs if you feel that you could receive a more impressive score. Focus on getting great recommendation letters and apply to a few “back-up” colleges just in case you don’t get into the school of your choice.