Should students be able to lighten their class load senior year?

Jonathan Cannon, Staff Writer

Many students would love to have only two to three periods in a day and then be able to go home. This is the dream schedule for most high school students, and for some high schoolers, it does make sense. Some high schoolers come into their senior year with maybe only two or three required credits to graduate, so should those students be allowed to graduate early or take fewer classes their senior year?

With the new pathways in high school and being able to do online classes and even complete high school credits in middle school, this question is becoming more and more common. Most students, if they are a year ahead in math, and also did physical science in eighth grade come into their senior year with only three credits needed to graduate: an English credit, government, and economics. On top of that, if students do any of these classes online before their senior year, they could have only two or maybe even one credit necessary to graduate.

Right now at Centennial, you must have all six periods filled unless you get special approval from the administration, which is hard to understand for any more than one period. This may come as a shock to some students hoping to get a more relaxed schedule their senior year. This then raises the question, is there an incentive to getting certain upperclassmen credits out of the way in middle school or early in high school?

Right now the ways the rules are, the answer is no, unless you are trying to get certain classes out of the way to make room for more AP classes that can help with rigor and the college admissions process. But for the average student taking a regular class schedule, it would make sense not to get ahead to ease up your senior year.

Now, are there any benefits to having a full load of classes your senior year. For one, many colleges look at your senior year rigor, so if they see you only took three on level classes and went home, they would most likely be less than impressed. However, what if those same classes were AP classes? Would colleges look at that different than they would with less rigorous courses? That could be a risk that students take by making their schedule more manageable.

However, for a lot of seniors, early decisions for college come out before winter break, and many seniors know where they are going to be going the following year. Could there be a different standard for accepted students to where they can ease up on their schedule after being accepted because if they are taking rigorous courses to get into college, there would be no point anymore if they are already accepted?

Many teachers would oppose this idea of lightening the class load because it is not preparing them for what is ahead in college. This argument against lightening your load senior year is a valid one, but I believe it should be up to the student on what he or she wants to do. I think teachers and counselors are very experienced and excellent at what they do, but for students accepted to college the goal has been accomplished, get students to pursue higher education and beyond.