The Case Against Senior Statistics

Junior year is almost over, and it’s come time again to pick classes for next year. Your student looks over all the choices before them for the last time in their high school career. “Remember,” you say, “you’ll need to be working on your college applications this fall!”

“I know, I know,” they absentmindedly reply as they focus on their real goal of maximizing all the time they can with their friends for this final year. Soon enough, the available math courses come up to bat. Calculus? Well, they took AB last year, so do they really need BC this year? What about this other course, statistics? That sounds fun. Maybe even practical, and definitely easier than the other options! The decision is made; statistics it is!

The problem lurking in this all-too-common scenario is that if your student knows about the ease of a statistics class, so do colleges. In this era of hyper-competitive college applications, grade are both quantitative and qualitative. Schools want to see that students excelled in the most challenging courses they could take, and a senior-year statistics course does not fit that bill, especially for those interested in applying to colleges in the STEM fields. Student want to sprint to the finish line, not slow to a walk for the last lap.

That is not to say that senior should not take statistics at all. Indeed, statistics course regularly rank among students’ favorite high school courses, period, and the life skills learned therein are vital to learn early. The moral of this story, however, is not to take only statistics during senior year. For students pursuing math or engineering majors, in particular, two simultaneous senior math courses can enforce their love for their subject while preparing them for the intensity of their chosen field of collegiate study.

Senior year can be one of the most stressful years of a student’s life, but they cannot lose the precious momentum built up over their prior three years of work. Putting their best foot forward is the only way to go. For those already set on a solely-statistic senior path, it is likely not too late; contact your student’s counsellor immediately to explore changing courses before the start of the semester, and finish this final lap strong.