I have had upcoming seniors improve their SATs by 200 points. This single factor changed their college admissions possibilities and often generated offers of thousands of dollars in merit aid.
I note this because some seniors tell me that they hope their senior year grades will shift their college prospects. Some bad news on that front: cumulative GPA is what matters most, although an upward trend is helpful. 1 semester (or 2 quarters) mixed in with 6 previous semesters (12 quarters) will not dramatically shift anything. And, as I’m sure everyone knows, the back end of senior year is irrelevant.
I kiddingly ask seniors who urgently inquire about what they can do to increase their college admissions chances whether they plan on becoming a top musician or create an impactful charity.
They usually get the point: for most, the only thing they can do to radically change their college admissions chances is to do better on the SAT.