The Terrible Case of Senioritis

Do you ask your parents to call you in "sick" for school in the morning? Is homework becoming optional? Playing video games rather than studying for that big exam tomorrow? Do you frequently leave school grounds in the middle of the school day? Are you a senior?

If you answered yes to more than three of the above questions, you have senioritis. And for more symptoms, check out this hysterical Buzzfeed article. These are among the many symptoms that show up every year and continue to plague many high school seniors. But don't worry, you are not alone. Millions of high school seniors have contracted and are in the throes of senioritis -- a fact that causes some to sleep uneasily.

The Merriam-Webster defines senioritis as: "an ebbing of motivation and effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences and lower grades."

This general feeling of apathy and nonchalance towards school work is developed after years in class and hits high school seniors hard around this time. It stymies their interest in learning, and they tend to slack off. They choose easier classes in place of rigorous courses that are suppose to prepare them for college.

As many colleges have begun doling out letters of acceptance these past few weeks and in the upcoming months, college-bound high school seniors are often overwhelmed with scholarship applications, writing essays and getting started on financial aid. All on top of the daily burden they face in school. And try balancing that with extracurricular activities, a job and also a social life.

Some students think "I'm done with high school. I got accepted to a college and high school just isn't that important anymore." Grades begin to plummet, leaving everything that took time and effort in tatters, all without a vestige of more than cursory care by students.

The truth is, colleges will take notice of this. Most decision letters from colleges usually include a line that reads, "Your admission is contingent on continued successful performance," which is the last official step to get into college.

In order to do that, however, your guidance counselor would have to submit in a final transcript or the "final report" to admission officers. This shows your last grades for your senior year, which most likely weren't available when you sent a copy of your transcript to colleges for consideration.

Writing in the New York Times, Martha C. Merrill, dean of admission and financial aid at Connecticut College writes: "Colleges expect you to continue your current course schedule and maintain the level of academic and personal success demonstrated in your application."

Failure to live up to the expectations of colleges can have some grave consequences:
  • Rescinded offer of admission
  • Scholarships rescinded
  • Reduction in merit-based financial aid packages
  • Starting the college search all over again

With those caveats in mind, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Failing classes and not producing enough credits during the senior year could be a huge setback to graduation.

The College Board, which administers both the SATs and the ACT, provides on their website tips for high school seniors on how to stave off senioritis.

To those who have been on track the entire way, congratulations. For those who are experiencing this virulent disease, all hope is not lost, and may this be a clarion call to do better. It is the start of 2014 and the academic night is still young. Good luck, and hopefully, we can all make it through together.