Planning for Junior and Senior Year

May 5, 2023

This month, myKlovr is focusing on what high school freshmen and sophomores can do to ensure that they make the most of their junior and senior years. Of course, you need to think about extracurricular activities, college tours, recommendation letters, and standardized tests. That’s a lot on your plate. However, these (very important things) come secondary to the classes you take in your final two years of high school.

Why are the specific classes important? Well, let’s consider a college admissions counselor’s point of view. Standardized tests are becoming less important in their formula, meaning they have to use other ‘hard statistics’ when deciding whether your application deserves closer attention. The classes you take junior and senior year are key to making sure you remain competitive.

So, What Are the Best Classes?

You can’t go wrong with Advanced Placement (AP) classes. While every school, district, and state use different curriculum, AP courses use a standardized curriculum. This means that admissions counselors need not scratch their heads when seeing a good or poor grade on an applicant’s transcript. However, please note that your AP exam scores are equally (and perhaps more) important. Comparing an AP grade to an exam score says a lot about the quality of education you received. This information helps admissions counselors determine your college readiness.

Besides APs?

Here’s where things get complicated and personal to you as a high school student and future college degree-seeker. You see, there are a lot of variables at work, so let’s go through them one by one.

Your Interests and Goals 

College may offer more academic flexibility than high school, but you can still explore your interests through electives. Even as a junior/senior, it’s okay to try something new. You may find a passion for something unexpected or realize that what you liked in the past is no longer your cup of tea.

When it comes to core academic classes, play to your strengths. If APs aren’t available, take honors classes in your favorite subjects. Don’t be shy about challenging yourself, either. If you don’t care for math but make As in standard-level classes, consider honors next year. College admissions counselors respect applicants who challenge themselves, even if a solid A should turn into a B.

Your High School’s Class Offerings

Your high school may have a ton of classes to choose from or just a handful of options. If you’re attending a small high school where everyone follows the same curriculum, you might want to…

Consider Dual-Enrollment

Are you a motivated high school junior/senior who doesn’t find some classes challenging? Want to get a head start on college? If you answered ‘yes’ to both questions, it’s time to consider dual-enrollment at a local community college.

Now, don’t let the word ‘college’ frighten you. The dual-enrollment process is a lot easier than traditional college admissions. Even so, you’ll need your high school transcripts and a letter from your principal or school district. After you have those two things in hand, the process shouldn’t be too complicated beyond creating an online account with your new school and possibly taking a placement test.

Before signing up for your first course, you’ll meet with a dual-enrollment counselor to discuss your options. You’ll take only one course, possibly at night, during the weekend, or online. You’ll need motivation, so pick something you’re interested in or make good grades consistently.

Besides awarding college credit, dual-enrollment has other advantages. Let’s say you live in an area with little to no summer internship opportunities. Taking 1-2 courses over the summer will tell the colleges you apply to that you are a dedicated student ready to hit the ground running once on campus.

Don’t Forget About Study Halls

Do your junior and senior years look packed? Feel a bit nervous about it? If so, it might be worth replacing an elective with a study hall. That way, you have a dedicated time each day during school to get a head start on homework, exam prep, and writing college essays. If you really make the most of it, you’ll have more time after school to tackle your myKlovr personalized action plan.

Also, don’t forget to consult your myKlovr interest inventories to determine what classes you should take junior/senior year.

Final Thoughts

There are many things to consider when planning your junior and senior year course loads. Please keep in mind that nothing is set in stone. Your education preferences and goals may change. Your high school may offer more or fewer classes in the next two years, as well. Take everything one step at a time and reach out to adults in your myKlovr support network for advice.

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