This is a guest blog post written by our friend at Exceptionally Emily. Emily is a current college freshman who strives to simplify the college application process for students and their parents by sharing her advice and admissions experiences. We encourage you to learn more about Exceptionally Emily and check out the original post

Underclassmen are picking their courses for next year at my school this week…it finally hit me that I won’t be back here next year!! It’s definitely bittersweet.

A lot of my junior friends are having trouble choosing senior year classes. Is it better to have a hard schedule or to relax a little bit because of college applications? Should they take AP courses or should they take classes related to their major? These were all questions that I had last year, and after completing the first semester of senior year, I’m able to answer them.

Take Classes That Will Challenge You

There is a misconception floating around that colleges don’t see your first semester grades when making admissions decisions. This is false. Unless you’re applying Early Decision or Early Action, then the university will see your first semester grades. Either way, you have to report what courses you’re enrolled in for senior year on the Common Application. As with any other year of high school, you should take classes that will challenge you over classes that are an easy A. Colleges will be impressed to see that you are keeping up your hard work.

Take a Class in a Subject You’re Interested In

At this point in your high school career, you should have a few empty slots in your schedule. If you think you want to go into science, take an extra biology or chemistry course! If math is your thing, think about signing up for statistics or computer science. This will show college that you’re really invested in your area of study and that you’ve begun to explore possible majors.

Take a Fun Class!

Senior year isn’t all serious. It is your last year, after all! Take that class that you’ve wanted to take since freshman year. I took Advanced Health at my school this year; it was extremely easy but has been my favorite class of high school so far. It’s nice to have a break in your schedule to just relax as well.

Be Wary of Free Periods and Study Halls

It can be so tempting to want to shorten your day or have an extra study hall. Unless you have a job where you start working before school lets out or have an extracurricular activity that takes up an insane amount of your time, I would urge you to reconsider this option. It goes back to the first piece of advice- you want to challenge yourself as much as possible senior year. Even taking an easy, fun class will look better to colleges than having a free period.

Good luck with choosing senior year classes!!

Tips for Choosing Your Senior Year Schedule