How to Avoid "Senioritis"

If they have not heard already, within the next three weeks, seniors across the country will all know where they have been accepted. Colleges use April 1 as a target date to notify all their applicants and most schools will actually release before then. Why? So they can capture the enthusiasm of their prospective student and hopefully yield them. In other words, market their school, make an offer, and hope that the student (and parents) “buys”. Every school wants to win and be the student's number one. And although students can only accept one offer - and hopefully, it's their true number one - senior spring can be a hard time to stay focused and finish strong.

But it doesn't have to be. I encourage all of my students to celebrate their acceptance and keep their eyes squarely focused on the goal: a college education. Slacking off from high school is a recipe for disaster as well as a sign of immaturity. The colleges that have accepted young adults, older teenagers, not kids who cannot discern right from wrong. Yes, mistakes can happen and adjustments can be made, but in to be the person and student who applied three or four or five months ago - the one “College X” accepted - follow these simple rules:

(Parents, PLEASE share this with your kids)

Put in the work. Every coach, tutor, teacher, and parent you have ever had has told you that “winners finish the race” or “winners are finishers”. To use a baseball analogy (yeah, April 1 is also Opening Day!), you must “run through first base”. I tell my 12-year-old son all the time to run through the bag and finish the play. This applies to avoiding the dreaded “Senioritis” as well.

See the big picture. You have heard horror stories about kids getting their admission acceptances rescinded because they bombed senior year. Take heed: those stories are true. In my 20 years of counseling, I have seen it all, including students starting their freshman year on academic probation, being required to take summer courses to make up for an unflattering senior spring, and even the “conditional”’ offer of admission which asks students to matriculate in January instead of August. This is not ideal. Academic and behavioral infractions can lead to confusion, embarrassment, and dismay. Think about how getting into college meant everything to you in the fall. Remembering this will help you to have sound judgment.

Get excited. Simple goal-setting and envisioning yourself on campus will keep you motivated. Fill out your housing forms, start to look at class offerings, and order dorm room supplies from Bed, Bath and Beyond. The more you can “see”’ yourself there, the more disciplined academically and socially you will be.

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