Surviving Seniorities

It’s senior year. You’ve worked your butt off for three years to get the grades you need to get into college. You’re probably pretty tired by now. Time to relax? No way! If you blow it now, you’ll pay for it. You could even risk losing everything you’ve worked for and not get into college at all.


Senior Slump — The Slippery Slope

College admission
You’ve got all your ducks in line. You’ve taken your SATs, gotten a good score and you’ve sent off your transcripts to the schools of your choice. It looks like there’s nothing left to do — academically, anyway. The bad news is, that’s not true. Colleges look at your senior year performance with the same interest they showed in those other three years of high school.

Senior year courses and grades count
A close look at your college Application Form can be very enlightening. Many college applications ask for a list of your senior courses. A lot want information about course levels and credit hours. If you’ve decided to “take the year off,” it is going to show. Furthermore, your guidance counselor may have to complete a “mid-year grade report” with your first-half grades, which become an important part of your application.

Even if you’ve already been accepted, don’t slack off. Take a look at your college acceptance letters and you’ll probably find a warning like: “Your admission is contingent on your continued successful performance.” In plain English, this means that if your grades drop, they can drop you. And schools do. One Illinois guidance counselor has a folder full of letters written to students at her school who have been dropped from the college of their choice because their senior year performance fell below the university’s acceptance level.

Slacking off your senior year can lead to poor preparation for university and that can make it tough when you’re taking those college courses. Don’t kid yourself. College is tough. According to the National Commission on the High School Senior Year, “More than one quarter of the freshmen at 4-year colleges and nearly half of those at 2-year colleges do not even make it to their sophomore year.” Facing those statistics, you need all the preparation you can get.

Staying On Top Of Senioritis

So how do you avoid senior slump? Here are some suggestions:

1. Motivate yourself
Getting accepted to college is a beginning, not the end. Set new goals for yourself right now, while you’re still in high school, and start working towards them.

2. Give yourself some challenges.
Take a tough course. In fact, sign up for a course at a nearby community college and see what you’re really up against.

3. Active-ate
You’ve been part of the sports scene, after-school activities and the community. Stay active. This is the time show leadership, not to drop out. Let those three years of experience really benefit others.

4. Balance your life
Schoolwork, social life, sports, outside interests, a part-time job. Sometimes it feels like you’re juggling a lot of balls. But those balls are what makes a balanced, mentally healthy person. And like the juggler, if you concentrate on one, you drop the others and the whole act falls apart. To keep your act together, don’t just focus on one. Make sure you balance your time between all the different areas of you life.