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5 Tips To Make Sure Your Senior Year Matters

If you’re a high school junior, you’re just starting the second half of your school year. You just wrapped up midterm exams and hopefully they went really well. Strong grades in competitive courses are one of the most important factors when admission counselors are reviewing your application. In fact, for the umpteenth year in a row, admission counselors around the country have identified them as THE most important factor according to NACAC’s State of College Admissions report.

Which leads me to my post for today.

Knowing that your courses and your grades really matter in the college admissions process, it is so important that you make the most of the courses your high school offers. As you prepare to work with your counselor on your senior year schedule, keep the following five tips in mind:

1. Continue taking courses in the five core subjects: English, mathematics, science, social studies and foreign languages. If you’ve already taken three years of a foreign language and would rather not go into a fourth, make sure you double up somewhere else

2. If you’re taking a couple honors courses this year, work on getting into an AP course. If you’re already in an AP course or two, keep that trend going. Now is not the time to take it easy.

3. Consider your eventual major and enroll in courses that compliment your brand. Graphic design major? Sign up for graphic arts. Nursing major? Sign up for AP biology or anatomy and physiology. Engineering major? You need to be in calculus. Pick courses that will get you started on the path towards your major.

4. Get the full credit for your courses. In other words, if you’re taking an AP class, sign up for the AP test and do your best to do well on it. A score of four or better can earn you transfer credit at most colleges. If you’re enrolled in an Early College Experience (ECE) course, make sure you sign up for the college credits. Strategies like this not only ensure you make the most of the academic opportunities available to you, but transfer credit can also help reduce the cost of college in the long run.

5. If you live close enough to a community college, check out the courses they offer which may be related to your major or even just your interests. Currently, one course at a Connecticut community college will cost you $482, or just over 1/3 of the cost of one course at a state university like UConn or 1/8 of the cost at a private school like Fairfield University.

However, none of this really matters if you don’t put in the time and effort to do well. Take good notes, ask questions in class, study the material and actually learn it.  Your grades will reflect the effort and you will be so much more prepared for college and your professional life that follows.

Have something to say? Use the comment box below or email me at If you think this makes a lot of sense, consider sharing it with someone you know.

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1 Comment

  1. Elise

    Dear Mr. Dobler,
    I I would love to speak with you regarding my son who is a junior at North Haven High School and looking at colleges in Florida. I think we will need help with the common application and seeing what his chances are of getting into the schools he likes. Please contact me at your earliest convenience.


    Elise P. Kamp

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