Preventing Senior Slide

Always a danger during any point of senior year, the dreaded senioritis hits high schools each year. Sometimes it peaks after fall sports have ended while other times it peaks after students return from winter break. Some seniors let grades slip and assignments slide, attributing to boredom or lack of motivation to finish strong.

As admissions counselors and school counselors know all too well, students need to know that senior year and more specifically the second semester of senior year is not a good time to slack off.  Remind students that although they may be admitted in the fall of their senior year, colleges want final and sometimes mid-year grades to see how students are performing.  A severe decline in the grade pattern may lead to a letter from offices of admission asking for an explanation. In some cases, accepted students may find their offers of admission rescinded. Even dropping classes after submitting applications requires an explanation and may trigger an academic review.

Tips on preventing senior slide:

1)      Remember senior year is a continued opportunity to keep learning. Instead of focusing on the end of high school, remind students to focus on the beginning of life after high school.

2)      Ask students – have they participated in sports, arts, and other extracurricular activities? Have they made time to volunteer in the community? If not, encourage them to take on a new activity and get friends involved. Getting an internship or job or participating in a new extracurricular activity can provide a renewed sense of purpose. What students do outside of the classroom can be just as important as getting/maintaining good grades.

3)      Assist students in prioritizing what they need to do before graduation and thinking big about what their goals are post-high school.

4)      Remind students to utilize working with a classmate or friend – study groups, group projects. Nothing helps keep students motivated, like being held accountable for someone else's grade, too. Work in groups when possible. Group work teaches collaboration, a skill vital for entering the workforce.

5)      Seniors should enjoy senior year, after all they’ve worked hard the past few years to be admitted into college. Students should treat themselves, set aside time to see friends, and attend social events wherever and whenever offered.

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