“I’m a senior now. Do my grades even matter?”
To put it briefly, yes.
So you’re a senior now. Congratulations! But you’re not off the hook quite yet.
Your grades during the first semester of your senior year can make all the difference in terms of getting into your dream school. As college admissions become more competitive, admissions officers are scrupulously looking at all aspects of a student’s application—and they tend to see bad grades during senior year as a red flag.
Here’s why your first semester senior year grades matter.
1) Grade trends
These days, most colleges use a holistic approach in evaluating applicants—that means they look at everything from extracurriculars to grades to teacher recommendations. One thing many schools like to see is an upward trend in grades.
Obviously, if you’re getting A’s across the board, you’re in great shape. But, if you’ve made a few bad grades along the way, then excellent grades during the first semester of your senior year can show colleges that you’ve learned from your mistakes and are ready to go into college focused, prepared, and ready to do your best.
Alternatively, if you’ve made perfect or nearly perfect grades throughout high school, but your grades tank your senior year, it will be received poorly by admissions officers. A downward grade trend may give them the impression that you’ve stopped taking school seriously or have lost your work ethic. The horror stories are true: colleges can and will revoke your admission if your grades dip drastically your senior year.
Ultimately, in today’s competitive college admissions environment, 1st semester senior grades could be the difference between an acceptance or a rejection.
2) Early Decision or Early Action
You might think that applying ED or EA means that what we’ve mentioned previously doesn’t apply to you. The unfortunate reality is that it could!
Many colleges will request first-quarter grades from your high school counselor, especially if your grades were less than stellar during junior year. Not to mention that if you end up getting deferred, it may mean that colleges are waiting for your first semester senior year grades to make their decision.
Either way, excellent first semester senior grades can show colleges that you’re a great applicant and ready to thrive. Don’t let senioritis get in the way of your success. Continue to stay focused and keep up the hard work so that you keep as many options for college on the table!