Do Colleges Look at Senior Year Grades?

senior grades cover

After working hard for three years to perfect your high school transcript, you may be ready to let those senior year grades slip and sink into senioritis. But before you do, there’s something you should know: to colleges, those senior year grades count. They could even affect your admissions decision. 

Why Senior Year Grades Matter

It’s clear junior year grades matter – they are the last grades colleges see on your transcript when you apply. But why do senior year grades count to colleges? 

Many colleges ask for a final transcript after you finish your senior year of high school. For example, Stanford asks for a mid-year senior transcript and a final high school transcript. Colleges require your final transcript as confirmation that you graduated from high school, which is usually an admissions requirement. So at a very minimum, you can’t flunk out of your classes senior year without also kissing college goodbye!

Colleges also want to see that you’ve maintained (or improved!) your grades during your senior year of high school. Evidence that you’ve continued to work hard in your classes tells colleges that you’re ready to work hard at their university. Poor performance senior year could even lead to a college reversing their decision and revoking your admission. 

Beside the potential for a rescinded admissions letter, there are a couple more reasons to do better in senior classes than just pass:

Get Off the Waitlist

Good grades senior year shows a college that you are serious about your studies and preparing for a college workload. These qualities are attractive to colleges, and if spots open for waitlisted students, a student who’s maintained his or her grades is more likely to earn that spot than a student who’s let his or her studies slip. 

Slacking off senior year tells the college that you’re not very interested in getting off the waitlist, and that you aren’t ready to handle a college-level workload. 

Earn College Credit for AP or Dual Enrollment Classes 

If you’re enrolled in AP or dual enrollment college classes (and we recommend you enroll in these kinds of classes, if you can!), then performing well will mean you earn college credit while in high school, saving you time and money later on. Letting senioritis get the best of you and blowing off these college-credit-earning classes means you may have to take a similar class in college (rather than a cooler class relevant to your major) instead of getting it over with in high school. 

Do College Look at Senior Year Grades?

Yes, colleges will look at your senior year grades. Your final high school transcript is the last piece of the puzzle that is college admissions, and ending on a strong note will ensure your admissions decision. Even when it’s tempting to slack off, remember how far you’ve come, and how very, very close you are to your goal. You got this!

Get a better score. Get into a better school.

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