“Senioritis” is a well-documented annual epidemic that sneaks up on even the most academically ambitious high school students.
Common symptoms of senioritis are laziness, lower grades, decreased motivation, an increase of absences, even leaving your backpack in the trunk of your car from 3 p.m. to 8 a.m.
The symptoms are obvious – and the consequences can be disastrous. For starters, colleges will see a decline in your grades and maybe wary about accepting you or handing out the financial aid they originally awarded you.
If you are applying during your junior year, you will probably have to list and describe the courses you are taking your senior year. You may also be asked to fill out a midyear grade report form, which is completed by your guidance counselor and sent to colleges you have applied to.
Along those lines, college acceptance letters began incorporating warnings such as “Your admission is continued on your continued successful performance.” What that means is simple. For seniors who are already accepted, there’s a possibility that colleges will “unaccept” those who spiral too far downwards during the senior year. It’s not a myth parents cooked up to scare their senioritis-suffering kids. It’s real, and it happens every year.
Also, supposing the former doesn’t happen, senioritis (as well as the celebration dubbed “senior summer”) can slow much-needed momentum leading into freshman year of college. And freshman year is fraught with a whole new set of trappings that made senioritis so easy to slip into.
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Very often, seniors lose the motivation to keep their grades up because they weren’t awarded merit-based scholarships or grants. They may think, “Forget trying. It doesn’t matter anymore.”
It still does. The habits you develop in high school will shape the way you approach challenges in the future. A prolonged case of senioritis can result in a poor performance freshman year, which only becomes harder to dig yourself out of as time goes on.
Here are three ways to prevent senioritis from taking over your life:
1. Continue plowing through your senior year with the vigor and purpose that fueled you the first three years. Do so for all the obvious reasons, but also so you don’t have to explain to the colleges that accepted you why your grades fell or why you still deserve scholarships/grants. They want to know you still have the maturity to handle the many levels of responsibility a successful college career requires.
2. Instead of ending your high school career with easy classes, continue challenging yourself by taking progressively more difficult courses. Often, students apply to college before they’ve taken their last high school classes. If you are one of those students, continue taking the courses you told the colleges you were going to take.
3. Become more involved in school and community activities. Being active in your school and community may not raise your grades, but it benefits abound. It connects you to people such as school administrators and community leaders who have gone to college and worked their share of jobs. These experiences can provide valuable, real-world scenarios, and possibly even a reference for a college application or job down the road. If you are planning on going to college as an undecided major, school and community involvement can be an opportunity to explore areas of interest before you arrive at college.
Falling prey to senioritis can have lasting academic and financial effects. Get the most out of your future by maximizing your present.