Hopefully, as a junior, you figured out your favorite schools and possibly have already made a visit to their campuses. Now as a senior, if you are just now applying to colleges, keep in mind the importance of your senior year. Your college or colleges will be keeping an eye on you. You might be required to fill out grade reports for the college in your senior year. Colleges have the option to change their mind or put you on a type of probation if you give them fuel for worry. If your grades have lowered, due to decreased attendance, lack of focus, or whatever the reason, a college may determine you would not fit into their educational experience.
Students in their senior year of High School often consider the senior year the year for relaxation and play, a type of reward for 3 years of hard work. My own children told me they had taken their hard and necessary courses the first three years of high school, so they could enjoy some down time their senior year. They wanted to be able to sluff occasionally, not worry about grades, a kind of “vacation from the stress” school year. Unfortunately, this “senioritis” syndrome is not unusual and can be highly contagious among close high school acquaintances.
To prevent yourself from falling prey to the “senioritis” syndrome, consider these ideas:
- Check your attitude. Don’t fall prey to the attitudes of others. Be your own man or woman and find joy in learning. It really is fun to be smart and it is liberating as well.
- Enjoy your knowledge. Take the knowledge you are acquiring and find ways to use it. It will make it fun. Share with your family what you have learned, or offer help to others if you see a need. It doesn’t need to be a “job”. Just enjoy imparting your knowledge.
- Challenge yourself. Instead of taking easy classes, take some classes that will challenge you. This will help keep your mind sharp and actually help you in your freshman year at college. Laziness breeds laziness. It will be hard to pick yourself up and work if doing nothing or being lazy has become a habit. That is not to say that periods of relaxation are not beneficial. But those relaxation periods should not be a whole year of wasted time.
- Serve and be active in school activities and your community. Believe it or not, there is nothing that makes you feel better or more worthwhile than connecting and being part of something bigger than yourself. If you are shy, still participate. Be comfortable being shy, just don’t talk if you don’t want to, you can still actively participate. Just be the “doer” that quietly gets things done. It also looks good on your resume when you participate in giving back to your school or community.
- Get a job. A job helps teach you to budget, communicate, work, problem solve, and be a team player. These are all important character traits that will be useful in college and the real world.
Remember, how you spend your senior year will be noticed by colleges. Let them know that you are responsible, hardworking, and mature, and able to handle the rigors of college and adulthood.