College applications and financial aid forms are submitted, acceptance letters are arriving, and now your high school senior sighs relief — maybe too much relief. Every year, many second-semester seniors suddenly slack off. Homework, attendance, responsibilities and grades slide.
It’s hard to blame seniors for wanting to relax and enjoy the last few months with friends they might not see again. They should, in fact, be granted some reprise; but a bad case of senioritis can have serious consequences.
While it’s true colleges consider junior year or first-semester senior grades when deciding whom to accept, it’s also true that institutions look at last-semester grades. If those grades have slipped significantly, would-be students may find their acceptance rescinded, they may be placed on academic probation or a financial aid package may be downgraded.
Colleges want to see that a future student has remained diligent. Students may be asked to explain how and why a downturn occurred.
While it may be hard to convince them, seniors need to understand that freshman year is tough — one in four college freshmen drop out.
The last year or semester of high school is the transition to college. Students should hone their skills as vital practice for the fall; parents will not be around to help keep them on track, and professors aren’t likely to follow up if they miss class or skip homework assignments.
Another symptom of senioritis, although severe, is that some students decide to ignore school rules, cause disruptions or go wild socially. Colleges don’t look favorably on reports of disciplinary action from an accepted student’s school or law enforcement. Colleges expect students to be mature, responsible adults.
Seniors should enjoy their final year of high school, but they need to keep grades high, stay involved in school and community activities, and remain committed to working diligently.
While your senior stays centered in the last semester of high school, also help him or her move forward. If your student doesn’t have a major, help research possible careers. If he or she doesn’t know how to cook, share how to make simple meals. Encourage your student to apply for summer jobs to earn much-needed college pocket money.
Help them remember that while they’re still doing homework and assignments, senior prom, senior class activities and parties are coming up. And then, right around the corner, there’s that sure cure for seniorities: graduation.