I am often asked whether senior year matters to BS/MD programs. And the answer is always Yes. But how can that be when applications are usually due before you even have any senior year grades?
There are several issues surrounding senior year that should be understood. First, you need to list the classes you plan on taking senior year on the application. If these classes change before the end of the year you need to let the colleges you applied to know about the change. Decided the class was tougher than you thought it was going to be so dropping it? Report it. Don’t like the teacher so dropping the class. Report it. What happens if you decide you don’t need to report the change and the college finds out about the change when they get your final grades. They can take back their acceptance.
Second, colleges, will usually ask for a mid year report. With a mid year report, colleges will contact your high school’s guidance counseling around December or January and ask what your grades would be if you were graded at that time. So it is important to keep your senior year grades up throughout the year.
Third, virtually all college admissions acceptances are contingent on your having senior year grades consistent with your grades for the rest of high school. Colleges will get final grade reports from your high school at the end of the school year. Students will often think that once they have an acceptance in hand that they don’t need to keep working on their classes. Not true. If you have been getting mostly A’s and a few B’s in high school and in senior year get C’s or even D’s, colleges have the right to rescind admissions. Every year I hear stories from other counselors about that one kid that thought slacking off in senior year was fine and ending up at the end of the year with no college to attend because acceptances were withdrawn. Don’t be that kid.
What about taking it easy senior year? You’ve worked hard to get in a position to apply to a BS/MD program so why can’t you take a break? Take fewer AP classes or take some easier classes? This goes back to point one, the colleges requirement that you list the classes you are taking senior year. If they see that you are taking an easier curriculum senior year than what you have had in the past, you won’t be viewed as having a challenging curriculum and won’t be seriously considered for a BS/MD program.
Although colleges won’t see most of your senior grades, it is still vitually important to keep working hard throughout senior year. Keep up the hard work and you will make yourself the strongest possible candidate.