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How Important Are Senior Year Grades?

BY BRANDIE ERIC, MOONPREP*

Cover photo credit: Wikimedia

As the end of the school year is in sight, seniors might start to feel the itch of senioritis. After working hard on their college applications for months, they might feel they deserve a small break. After all, they have already sent their mid-year report and transcripts from the first three years of high school to the schools. Some students might be feeling secure because some universities might have already sent out an acceptance letter to them! So, how important are senior year grades?

For some students, the importance of senior year grades will vary on a couple of factors, including the competitiveness of the college or program you are applying to, the specific university’s policies, and any conditional offers of admission or scholarships you have received. 

  1. College Acceptances. Many early action and early decision schools have sent out their acceptance letters already, which might make you think that they won’t be considering your senior year grades. However, many universities use the phrasing “all offers of admission are conditional” or “provisional admission,” meaning that the universities can rescind their offer of acceptance because of poor grades or discipline reasons. High school counselors will send final transcripts, and if they are littered with low grades, it might mean the colleges no longer see you as a candidate who shares their core values and standards. 
  2. Scholarships. Many scholarships granted are based on merit, and you are expected to maintain a strong academic record to retain the scholarship. Therefore, if your grades slip below the minimum requirements, you might be jeopardizing the scholarship. 
  3. Competitive programs like BS/MD or BS/DMD programs. BS/MD, also known as direct medical programs, and BS/DMD, or direct dental programs, are highly competitive and often accept 10-20 students in their application class. For example, Case Western Reserve University’s Pre-Professional Scholars Program accepts less than 1% of its applicants. Due to the competitive nature of these programs, the admission committees will likely have higher standards and will rescind admissions offers if they believe your grades don’t reflect your readiness for the rigorous program.   

As you consider your college admission offers, it is always a good idea to check each school’s policies and criteria. If there is a dip in grades due to personal challenges, it is always a good idea to contact the admissions office to communicate the situation. And while you aren’t necessarily expected to get straight “A’s” in your senior year, you should maintain the standards you have held yourself to over your entire high school career. 

*Brandie is a College Counselor & Outreach Coordinator at MoonPrep.

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