Many high school seniors will be tempted to slack off their last semester of senior year. This is an age old phenomenon; however, it is something that should be avoided if at all possible because the consequences can be devastating for some students. Others may not experience severe repercussions, but losing an entire semester of education is a simple waste of time and does not help seniors stay on track for college.
1. Stress and burnout
Burnout is the number one cause of senioritis for college prep students these days. Unfortunately, students finish their college applications only to find that there’s so much more left to do. These days high school seniors will have to cope with one, if not two, advanced placement exams in May, they will consider visiting the schools they were accepted to, and they will have to either search for scholarships or keep their grades as high as possible to remain eligible for one they have already received (READ: “AP Test Without the Class?“). Students will also start the long and arduous process of dealing with financial aid at this point in the year. It’s important for parents and friends to look out for each other and begin to recognize when a student has reached their stress limit.
2. Mixed feelings about leaving school
For the most part, seniors are just incredibly excited to be done with school, right up until it’s actually time to leave. There’s a sudden realization that everything is going to change, and this can be very scary (READ: “Flash Card and Note-Taking Apps to Prevent Senioritis“). Students realize that, although they will have independence, they will also miss the safety and security of home. Home-cooked meals and weekends spent with longtime friends are, for now, over. Seniors in high school will go from being the top of the class back to the bottom once they become freshman in college. It’s the first big change that a young adult will have in their life and this can be both exciting and anxiety producing, which can lead to a sense of “zoning out” during the last semester of senior year in order to avoid thinking about these problems.
At this point in the year high school students are simply board. Once college acceptance letters come in, or even once they have been sent out, students are done with school. They have been taking AP classes, the SAT, ACT, community service hours, and extracurricular activities for the past 3 1/2 years. They want to be done and figure as long as they ‘slide by’ that everything will work out okay. Unfortunately, for some students this is simply not the case. For example, a student may currently have a 4.0 and have been accepted to the University of First Choice but may not have read the fine print. Many colleges, almost every college, offers ‘conditional acceptance’. This means that a student must maintain a minimum GPA in order to be accepted.
It’s important for students to find out what those minimum requirements are before they mentally check out in the second semester of senior year. Some colleges will simply require that every student receives a passing grade while others will insist that students maintain their current GPA or very close to it (READ: “College Application Decisions: Food For Thought“). That means, if a student was getting a 4.0 all through high school, they need to continue to get all A’s for the remainder of their senior year.
The importance of maintaining a high GPA
Maintaining a high GPA is especially important to potential scholarship students. Students who have been offered a scholarship will be held to the highest standard, they are getting a free or price-reduced education after all. If a student receives a 4.0 GPA and scores of 5 on all their AP exams throughout high school and then drop to a 3.2 and scores a 3 on their AP exams in the second semester of senior year, it’s common for the scholarship to be transferred to another student, one who has maintained their grades and demonstrated continued motivation and dedication to their learning.
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