Dealing with Senioritis (The College Dream Killer)



Senioritis. Yes. It’s a word (and a disease). It hits most seniors the last semester of high school. It usually strikes after all their college applications are completed and submitted, and grabs total hold after they have received offers of admission. Senioritis says, “The year is almost over. I’ve been accepted to college. It’s time to take it easy and P-A-R-T-Y!” It is no respecter of persons and hits almost every senior at some point after they return from winter break.

What should you look for?

When senioritis begins, you might not notice the symptoms. It could be an unusually low grade on a test. Or you might notice she is studying less and less, with a complete lack of motivation. More severe symptoms include skipping class, a major drop in grades, and often accompanied by an “I don’t care” attitude. More so than your typical teenage defiance and resistance.

Why is it “deadly”?

Senioritis can “kill” your student’s dream of college. The colleges that offer admission are closely watching your student to see if she continues to excel until the end of her senior year. A drop in grades or even disciplinary action can be a red flag, signaling to colleges that your student isn’t ready to be on their own and handle the rigors of a college education. If she can’t commit and stay the course with all the adult supervision around her, how will she stay the course in college without anything except self-motivation?

Colleges have been known to withdraw offers of admission if a student exhibits any of these signs during the final months of high school. Hence, senioritis can KILL you student’s dream of college.

What is the cure?

A reality check. If you see signs of senioritis setting in, it’s time for a cold, hard conversation. Lay it all out on the table. Explain that colleges are watching. She won’t get a second chance. Once the offer is pulled, it’s pulled, for someone else who is committed. It’s a harsh reality check for most students, but one that needs to be made clear. The final months of senior year are just as important as the previous ones. Your student needs to keep her eye on the prize and realize once she walks across that stage with her diploma in hand, she can take a deep sigh of relief and spend the entire summer relaxing. Not until then, and only then, can she rest on her laurels.

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