The Diagnosis: Senioritis Spreads Weeks Into Second Semester

This sign in math teacher Joslyn Harris’s classroom shows that teachers are well aware of senioritis and the impact it can have on student’s behavior. “I’ve noticed an astronomical increase with tardies. [Seniors] don't sense the urgency to be in class,” said Bell.
This sign in math teacher Joshlyn Harris’s classroom shows that teachers are well aware of senioritis and the impact it can have on student’s behavior. “I’ve noticed an astronomical increase with tardies. [Seniors] don’t sense the urgency to be in class,” said Bell.
“They don’t want to try. If they’re already accepted into a college, then it doesn’t matter to them,” said senior Steven Colich. “I’m already accepted and I still try, but I don’t feel like I have to.”

Although not an actual medical affliction, senioritis is still a very real phenomenon.

“It probably starts first semester where students are debating whether or not they should continue with a hard class, and whether that would be worth it,” said science teacher Megan Yemm, who primarily teaches senior classes. “Second semester, you start to hear people regretting staying in a hard class. The homework is getting done a little less frequently, and being turned in incomplete or late.”

As for why this happens, successful admissions into college are only partially to blame. Other factors, such as the lack of need for more credits and classes that don’t seem “necessary,” all contribute to seniors adopting a more lax behavior.
“It’s important to remind students that even though they don’t need this class, maybe for graduation or maybe they’ve already been accepted into college, they are still here to learn and education has more value than a GPA,” said Yemm.

However, being accepted to college doesn’t mean you are automatically going to college. Colleges may rescind offers if grades drop senior year. Also, going to college means you have to graduate from high school first.

According to The New York Times, “The University of Colorado Boulder rescinded admission for 45 of its accepted students, 10 of whom had already attended freshman orientation, selected classes or met roommates…Twenty-three would-be freshmen found themselves without a college when the University of Washington revoked their acceptances during the summer because of poor final grades.”

This can get worse as time passes, as not only does the semester come closer to ending, but students can begin to feel the adverse effects of senioritis.

“Once you see that you don’t do well on a test, then it’s easy to just give up. Once you[r grade] start to go down, it’s hard to recover and it takes work to recover, no matter what year you’re in,” said Yemm.

Around this point, most affected seniors will feel a sudden resurgence in their effort as they realize how senioritis has caused their grades to drop. Senior principal Jada Bell knows firsthand what that feels like.

“I think that it didn’t really hit [my friends and I] until we got close to the end of the school year and we were getting behind in some of our classes. Not only in the classes that we deemed we didnt need, but classes that were required,” said Bell. “That lit a fire under our feet to do better and get back on point.”

To circumvent senioritis, teachers recommend keeping graduation in mind and to be aware of maintaining your chances at college.

“My long term needs may be a 3.5 to get this scholarship. Therefore, even some of these elective classes I don’t need to graduate, I need it to strengthen my GPA and motivate me to represent my absolute best,” said Bell.

Overall, it’s important to remember that students should take classes not just for credits, but also to learn and understand. Doing this will give classes value and encourage participation.

“Think holistically why are we in school; it’s not just to get a grade. We’re in school to learn something of value. If you remember you’re doing something of value your motivation will stay high,” said Yemm.

by Tanner Boyd, Writing Wizard