You have accomplished the most amazing challenge you have ever undertaken in your life – you have been accepted to college! All your efforts have been rewarded with those magic words, “we are pleased to inform you of your acceptance”. Congratulations!
So what do you do now? Or maybe the question is, what DON’T you do?
To avoid succumbing to Senioritis, keep these in mind:
Good Grades Matter
Think of your entire high school career as an audition for college. You can’t give up before the final curtain. Keep those grades up and GPA in good shape. You may be a second semester senior but don’t lose your focus. You’re still a student!
Acceptance is not a guarantee
It can be very tempting to sit back and relax and not expend too much energy on anything. But don’t be fooled into thinking that once you’ve been accepted, you’re in no matter what. Your entire senior year is important. Once you complete your senior year and receive your diploma, college are still going to look at your grades – including the ones from your senior spring semester. If your GPA drops significantly it can tell colleges that you don’t care about academics. And they can rescind your acceptance. That’s right–you essentially get “un”accepted!
A good GPA leads to good scholarships and grants
Many scholarship and grant opportunities–as well as other forms of financial aid–often have requirements that include a certain minimum GPA level. The higher your GPA is, the more scholarships and grants you could qualify for.
Set short-term and long-term goals for yourself.
Having clear goals is the simplest way to stay motivated. Write down your goals for this semester, and be specific about how you’re going to achieve them. For example: What grades do you want in each of your classes? Do you need a specific GPA to maintain a scholarship or financial aid? What skills do you want to improve on before heading off to college?
Focus on earning college credit.
If you’re taking Advanced Placement or other college-level classes, you may need a certain grade or test score to get college credit. Doing well in these classes can help you place into more advanced courses, graduate early, and spend less on tuition—all very good things. Studying hard now can make a big impact on your college career.
Stay active and challenged
A lot of time is spent on completing applications, writing essays, going on college visits, researching majors and campus life. Now that you’ve been accepted you’ll have more free time. While you continue to focus on academics, there is also time now to do fun (and enriching) things.
By senior year you have most likely taken most required courses and there should be room in your schedule for elective classes. Elective classes are those that you take not to fulfill a requirement, but because they interest you. So much of our motivation to learn lies in intellectual curiosity, and it can thus behoove seniors to indulge this instinct.
Taking courses because they are easy is a tactic that many students use, but this is not an effective way to avoid senioritis – your lack of effort in your easy classes may bleed into your challenging classes and threaten your grades. Signing up for courses that make you want to work hard may just increase your motivation in all of your studies.
You can also use your extra time to pursue your passions or hobbies, join a club or organization that you are interested in, cultivate your relationships with friends and family (you’ll miss them when you leave for college), read a good book, and plan your summer. Second semester is a great time for all of these things.
Get prepared for college life
You’re about to be on your own and you’re going to have be fully independent. Second semester senior year is the time to figure out and practice things like how to have a balanced and healthy diet to sustain you through hours of tougher homework, how to deal with the extra free time that results from the less-structured college life, how to manage your money, how to do your laundry, and how to clean you room!