Why senior year matters

Artwork by Hayley Beluch '18

Hayley Beluch

Artwork by Hayley Beluch '18

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As a senior, I can say from experience that it is near impossible to wander the halls of school while keeping vigilant enough to avoid the contagion that is senioritis.

   Comparable to the plague, this pestilence debilitates millions of students worldwide, the most common window of infection being senior year of highschool (though some show symptoms as early as freshman year). The affliction does not discriminate when choosing victims, though symptoms vary in severity.

   The common prodrome, however, is the persistent belief that senior year performance does not matter.

   But this isn’t the truth—senior year performance does matter, despite common belief otherwise.  It stems primarily from the common misconception that junior year is both the most difficult, and the year that matters the most.  Incoming seniors like to believe their heightened effort lies in the past, and therefore they sit blind to the importance of senior year.

   For one, colleges take senior year grades into consideration for admissions.  Many students believe that once they submit their applications, their subsequent grades won’t affect where they go for college. They then put less effort into test preparation, and often choose sleep over those last-minute projects they were supposed to complete.

  However, most colleges request schools to send mid-year school reports and final-year grades.  Even if you’ve been accepted into your dream school, many universities reserve the right to rescind your acceptance if they see a significant drop in your GPA.  Are a few hours of extra sleep worth getting “un-accepted” from your dream school? Probably not.

   Secondly, second-semester seniors focus a lot of effort on scholarships, especially those that the Eastern scholarship committee oversees. When applying for scholarships, quite often the scholarship agencies look at GPA when deciding whom to award them to.  A drop in GPA signifies a lack of readiness for the college atmosphere, and therefore these agencies will be less likely to award scholarships to students who “take a break” senior year.

   Even more, seniors who are blindsided by senioritis often put less effort into the actual scholarship applications. By doing so, they waste the opportunity to receive thousands of dollars in aid that could offset later student loans. If you’re one of these indifferent students, your 40-year old self won’t be too happy while looking back on your apathy.

   Senioritis is especially common in the spring—the same time that AP exams roll around.  Students who put less effort into understanding AP curriculum in their classes are less likely to get the coveted 5’s on their exams.

   First of all, these exams cost almost $100 for every one you take, so succumbing to senioritis wipes out your bank and wastes a lot of your money.  Secondly, poor performance on these exams resulting from a general lack of interest senior year rids your chances of receiving college credit for these courses towards general education or major requirements (which again, costs you money, not to mention the time it takes to re-take these courses).

   The list goes on.  Students who take part in extracurricular activities made a commitment to be active in their community and therefore have the obligation to continue that throughout their senior year terms, if applicable.  Students who are contending for top spots in their class for either bragging rights or college applications can’t give up the ghost of their grades if they want to achieve said goals.

   For all these reasons, senior year does matter.  Despite the persistence of senioritis, awareness of this fact is the best vaccine.  Too many elements of your future education rely on your performance senior year—so don’t surrender your future in favor of temporary relaxation.