The most important year of high school in the admissions process…

I often hear parents and students say that the most important year in high school is the junior year. The truth of the matter is the most important year in high school is the year that you are currently in. It does not matter if you are a freshmen or a senior you want to be sure you are performing your best. In my more than 20 years in education I have met with hundreds of college admission representatives and never once did they ever request of an applicant just their junior year grades. High Schools are required to send a transcript which includes grades from freshmen year through junior year along with a list of courses the student is enrolled in for their senior year. The GPA that is sent on to schools is calculated using 6 semesters of grades. So every year counts equally.

I meet with my freshmen students within the first two weeks of school starting and tell them the college process begins now. All your grades counts so always try your best. From the time a student starts high school they begin to build an academic and co-curricular resume that all schools will review closely. If you start off high school on a rough note a student will need to make up for it in the sophomore year and then the junior year better then sophomore year and so on. Admissions representatives look for patterns over time and so if a student has one poor semester the other five should make up for it to give a better understand of the student’s true potential. First semester senior grades are also sent on to schools so they can have a look at how the student is performing just prior to starting college. A final transcript is then sent to the one school the student is planning on attending. Senior year is just as important and not the time to lose focus.

Take advantage of each year, do not wait till next semester or next year to do better. Start to challenge yourself early on in your high school career as reps look at the rigor of your schedule as compared to others in your grade. Become involved in some kind of activity as a freshman and stick with it and eventually aspire to take on a leadership role within that activity. The activity does not have to be sports or community service related, it could be something entirely different that you are passionate about. Every application has an area where you can talk about something that may not have been covered in the application. This is an opportunity for you to discuss that semester with poor grades and clarify it, or to talk about your unique interest and why you had pursued it in high school. Your application is a culmination of all four years of high school so take advantage of each one.