TAKING THE “IT IS” OUT OF SENIORITIS
May 21, 2014 by Susan Winters
From his third floor window, Monsieur Duree peered knowingly at the second semester seniors soaking up spring’s rays on the balcony below. “Bonjour Stephanie, will we see you today?” he asked in French. As if the idea of skipping class had never even crossed my mind, I asked, “Is it that time already?” I stumbled up to class. I was lucky…I had only a mild case of the dreaded senioritis. Honestly, is it really that serious? What is the absolute worst that could happen?
An article appearing in the New York Times “The Choice” blog (May 10, 2013) notes that high school “senioritis ” is real and dangerous. “Each year, colleges rescind offers to students whose grades plummeted after they were admitted.” The article goes on to quote Martha Merrill, dean of admissions at Connecticut College. “Colleges require final grades for accepted students. Many students believe that only the first half of senior year ‘counts.’ Not true. At Connecticut College, we carefully review the senior-year progress of admitted students and require midterm and final grades to be sent to the office of admissions.”
Given the fact that final grades are typically one of the main reasons why acceptances are rescinded, I thought the following “Top 10 Ways That Parents and Students Can Combat Senioritis” was in order.
1. Decide whether your senior is truly overwhelmed or simply under-motivated. If he or she is overwhelmed, perhaps this is a teaching moment. Can he delegate tasks to other members in the extracurricular groups in which he participates or leads?
2. If it is classic senioritis, share this newsletter with your senior.
3. Save your senior from herself or himself and take the car keys.
4. Prepare your senior early for the final step of the application process–-the second semester of his senior year. Remind him of the mid-year report his high school will send to his new college.
5. FEAR can be a huge motivator. Ask your senior to imagine watching all of her friends leaving for their schools in August, while she starts the college application process all over again.
6. If your senior could not pull himself out of the senior slump and his grades are negatively impacted, it is better that he be proactive and contact the schools regarding the drop in his grades. An explanation is better than hoping they won’t notice.
7. Don’t try the bait and switch…don’t list the four APs you are planning to take on the application you send in the fall and then drop out of three of those AP tests. Your school will notice.
8. Remember that most schools word your acceptance decision as conditional upon good grades in the final semester of your senior year.
9, More severe cases of “senioritis” can involve “lapses in judgment or integrity, such as cheating, plagiarism, drinking or drug use.” Your high school is OBLIGATED to report such mistakes…senioritis or not.
10. In a recent speech titled, “Who Get In?,” Dean James Miller of Brown University (formerly Head of Admissions at Harvard and Bowdoin) noted that, for some reason in addition to poor judgment on social networking sites, the band trip seems to be another place where students show poor judgment and tend to have their admissions offers rescinded. You are almost done. Be careful and smart.
Above all, use common sense in your behavior and remain diligent academically.
Stephanie Klein Wassink is the principal of Winning Applications and AdmissionsCheckup.com. For more information, visit www.winningapplications.com or www.https://admissionscheckup.com.