Does the senior year count in college admissions?

Students often ask us how the classes and grades from their senior year are factored into colleges' admissions decisions.  Here's the answer. 

1.  Any college you apply to this fall will ask you what classes you're taking, and what classes you plan on taking second semester.  They want to see that you're still challenging yourself. 

2.  Some, but not all, colleges will ask to see your grades from the first semester of your senior year (the 7th semester) before they make an admissions decision.  If you apply to those colleges, the grades you get in your first semester can help or hurt your admissions chances.  Hint: you can go to the admissions sections on colleges' websites and see if they'll ask for 7th semester transcripts for admissions.   

3.  Any college that admits you will ask to see your transcripts from both semesters of your senior year.  If you swapped out your hard classes for easy ones, or if you let your grades drop substantially, that can jeopardize your admission.

So for soon to be seniors, take the hardest classes you can reasonably handle while still enjoying your activities and a good night's sleep most nights.  Keep working hard and showing colleges what you're capable of achieving in your classes.  It will help you get into some schools and keep your admissions valid for any who accept you.