The New York Times Choice column features Webster T. Trenchard, the director of college guidance at The Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor Conn., giving admission advice for the class of 2013.
September brings the beginning of the school year in earnest, and for seniors, this month will surely be full of excitement, nostalgia, optimism and at least a little bit of anxiety. But with some advance planning and a proactive approach, seniors can set themselves up for success and not allow anxiety to overtake the entire year.
Seniors, here is your college admissions checklist:
Use ‘Your Inner Goldilocks’ to Plan Your Class Schedule
While it is true that your junior year is the most important when it comes to the college application process, the senior fall is the single most important term. Most selective colleges want to see seniors engaged in a challenging slate of classes across disciplines. Students whose transcripts say “I’ve worked hard enough already and have earned a break” risk looking entitled and anti-intellectual during the application review process.
That being said, it would be imprudent to take on AP Physics when math and science have never been your strong suits. Yes, colleges care about your senior year curriculum, but they also care about your performance. A dropoff in either the rigor of the classes or the grades earned in them can hurt your prospects.
Channel your inner Goldilocks and find the academic schedule that is just right.
Scrutinize Your Academic Progress
Of course, striking this balance is not always easy. Perhaps you have some trepidation about whether one of your classes is too hard for you. Be sure to be in early and frequent communication with your teacher, guidance or college counselor, and your parents. These people can help you to make a thoughtful, informed decision about whether a particular course is a good fit. In the meantime, consider these questions:
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the original article from The New York Times, written by Webster T. Trenchard