December 21, 2010 New Admissions Trend: Why are Senior Year Grades So Important?
College admissions offices are grappling with an increase in the number of applications, while at the same time, freezes and decreases in staffing due to recessionary cut backs. In order to adjust to the workload, they’ve made some shifts in how they are assessing applicants. One of those shifts is to add weight to senior year grades.
That’s a real bummer for the seniors who have just (or are about to) receive their admissions letters. Traditionally, seniors have enjoyed the ability to take it easy during their senior year, certainly the second semester, because the timing of applications make the senior year grades superfluous to the admissions decision. Many application deadlines fall before any senior grades are reported. So colleges tended to give much more weight to the sophomore and junior year marks.
But according to U.S. News and World Report, those good ole days are over! Some schools are starting to look at the senior year performance. They expect students to take more challenging courses…and to do well in them. The U.S. News and World Report article, 8 Big Changes to College Admissions in 2010 and 2011, quotes the University of Washington’s Ballinger as stating, “We think senior year is the most important, and we don’t want to see any slacking off. We want to see acceleration of educational difficulty.” To prove the point, University of Washington’s admission folks “withdrew 27 offers of admission of students who goofed off too much during senior year.” Withdrew admissions—Ouch!
This means that if you have been taking honors and A.P. classes up to your senior year, college admissions officers expect you to continue to challenge yourself right up to graduation. And they are looking hard and thoroughly at the difficulty of your course load. College admissions evaluators are making no room for students to manipulate their classes in order to increase their G.P.A. The days of the easy A may be over. According the U.S. News and World Report article, the percentage of colleges giving considerable importance to a student’s “strength of curriculum” has jumped from 62 percent to 71 percent since 2006.
Click HERE to see what else is changing in college admission trends for 2010 and 2011.