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High school seniors: Don’t let ‘senioritis’ get you down!

By Staff | Feb 21, 2019

There is a tendency among seniors in high school to suffer from “senioritis” in that second semester of their senior year. After all, you have completed all your high school applications, you have finished your standardized testing, and submitted all your hard-earned grades to the colleges of your choice. You may have already been accepted to a few colleges. You have worked hard for three-and-a-half years and think you are entitled to a break right? WRONG! You need to keep up your good grades and finish out your extracurricular activities.

Oxford Dictionaries define “senioritis” as follows: “A supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.”

The Urban Dictionary defines it this way: “A crippling disease that strikes high school seniors. Symptoms include: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of track pants, old athletic shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts. Also, features a lack of studying, repeated absences, and a generally dismissive attitude. The only known cure is a phenomenon known as Graduation.”

Either way, seniors have to combat the accompanying malaise.

Many seniors fall into thinking that second semester grades don’t matter. While schools will make their decisions, and make their offers of admission based on previous grades and activities, colleges do retain the ability to rescind an offer if standards are not maintained in that final semester. Does that mean that if a student goes from an A to a B in a course that they are at risk of losing their offer? Not likely, but if there are several grades that go lower, or if a D or failing grade shows up, there could be serious consequences and a student could end up not going to college in the fall.

Grades are not the only thing that matters. Colleges look carefully at the extracurricular activities in which you have participated during your high school years, and may have chosen you over another student because of your stated passion. If you suddenly decide to drop something, and don’t replace it with something else (sitting on your couch playing video games does NOT count), a college is going to think twice about you. Keep up with your commitments, and if something major has changed in your world that prevents you from doing so, you should send an update to your school explaining what you will be doing instead with your time. Think carefully about the impact that action may have on your offer of admission before you make a change.

And finally, and this should be a “well duh,” do not get into trouble! Don’t start skipping class or decide that maybe now is the time to break that land speed record you have always wanted to attempt. Don’t cheat on a test or take a shortcut by buying an essay or getting your best friend to write one for you. It is not the time to start irresponsible behavior that could be dangerous not only to your physical well-being but also for your chances of attending the school of your dreams.

The lesson is: colleges follow up with the students they have chosen to admit. Don’t think that they won’t know or find out about changes in academic or personal behavior in that final semester. The good news is that you will have more time for fun now that applications and testing is over, so take the time to enjoy all those final senior activities that your high school has to offer. Spend extra time with the family and friends who will not be in your physical orbit next school year. Immerse yourself in all that your final semester of high school has to offer and stay on track to finish your high school career strong.

Maryanne Hogan, “The College Auntie,” is an independent college counselor working with students on Maui. For more information about her and her services, visit her website: TheCollegeAuntie.com.