Senioritis: The Miracle Cure of Burnout, Other Student Disorders

Modern students are bred to run in a hamster wheel for 13 years, churning out A's and awards from Kindergarten to their Senior year.  It is hard to maintain perspective when students are used to believing that every school assignment determines their future.  And when Senior year finally hits, what used to be a final semester of wood shop, football, and partying has become a nightmare of AP tests, GPA points, and resume building.

It doesn't have to be that way. In fact, not only will a little Spring slacking not hurt students, it may actually help them.  They've already been accepted to college, so why not take it easy for the first time in years?

But, you cry, won't colleges revoke the admission of students who do poorly in their final semester?  Welcome to one of the biggest myths regarding college applications.  Only 35% of universities reverse admissions according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling.  One of the Deans of Admissions surveyed reports that he's revoked admission only eight times in 21 years.  So yes, it can happen. But it probably won't.

There's a very bright line between relaxing a bit and completely dropping out of school, of course.  Failing tests is bad, but cutting off studying to get into bed by 11 is fine.

Parents, ease off the reins a bit and encourage your son or daughter to study less and play more.  This is his or her last year of high school, after all, and he or she has a daunting few years ahead in college, and then a daunting lifelong career afterward.  Let them have fun now before they forget how. Students with admissions letters in hand are in the perfect position to finally stop being so focused on admissions, relax, and recuperate.  They should never be made to feel guilty about embracing the last few months of youth before college and adulthood.

Students, stop memorizing textbooks and mastering exams.  Take a breath, hang out with friends, and enjoy your final months of high school.  If you've never been to a high school football game, go to one.  Dance at your prom.  Don't grind, but rather stop and relax.  Appreciate the easier rhythm of the end of your pre-college life, and never think of these months as an academic slump, but rather as your chance to recharge and relearn how to have fun like you did outside of the SAT prep classroom.

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I was worried my admission was going to be revoked... now I'm still worried, but less so. My college said my admission was contingent upon the "successful completion" of my senior year without explaining what that meant. They never mentioned anything about meeting any academic standard. I haven't failed any classes... technically. So I graduated high school with three D's in major classes. Eh, my school has a reputation for being laid back; I think I should be OK. Still worried, though.

- Thomas, 06/10/08 at 1:56 pm

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