The Real Truth About Senioritis

by Kelly Beharry


As graduation approaches and midyear reports being sent out, many seniors become afflicted with what is commonly known as “Senioritis”. Senioritis refers to the sudden slump high school students catch at the end of senior year, characterized by lack of attendance, motivation, and effort. It has come to a point where seniors are surrounded by statistics and adults warning against the symptoms, threatening pulling college acceptances, altering financial awards, and academic probation.

Why Do Students Catch Senioritis?

While the reasons for senioritis seem obvious: distraction by warm weather, burnt out from the college application season, some psychologists are proposing a more scientific reason for the syndrome. One theory focuses on intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Students are intrinsically motivated to study because they enjoy their activities, while students are extrinsically motivated to study because of the rewards, like college or praise. Senioritis result from the lack of rewards system, so students start shifting their extrinsic motivation. Another theory revolves around the emotional anticipation of leaving friends and family. The pain of separation psychologically makes the student emotionally detach from high school.

What Are The Facts?


  • Colleges reserve the right to deny admission to an accepted applicant should the students grades drop.


  • Admissions officers can ask a student to explain a drop in grades and can revoke an offer to admission if not satisfied with a response.
  • Since colleges do not receive the final grades until June or July, students may not learn of the revoked admission until July or August.
  • Colleges expect to see midyear grade reports and final transcripts to show maintenance of previous academic success.

What Are The Statistics?

  • The University of Colorado rescinded admission for 45 of its accepted students, 10 of whom had already attended freshman orientation, selected classes, or met roommates.
  • The University of Michigan sent out 3 different letters to its incoming freshman with poor final grades: 62 issuing warnings, 180 requesting explanation and 9 revoking admissions.
  • 23 admitted freshman had their acceptance revoked from University of Washington during the summer due to poor final grades.
  • According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, in 2009, 22% of colleges revoked an admissions offer, and final grades were responsible for 65.3% of the revocations.


How Can You Combat Senioritis?

  1. Keep a Routine: Set aside time everyday to work on academic work.
  2. Enjoy the Senior Experience: Attend events like football games, prom, graduation festivities, and participate in clubs, and extracurricular activities.
    1. Keep a Calendar of Activities: Stay Organized to avoid being overworked, which can have deadly consequences.
    2. Hang Out With Positive Influences: Spend time with friends who will help you relax and have fun responsibly.
  3. Maintain Challenging Course Load: Continue academic rigor with AP classes to save some college tuition..
  4. Avoid Obsessing About Admissions Process: A result of over obsessing could be decline in grades, and in general, mental health.

But What Is The Truth About Senioritis?

All over the internet, at school meetings, even on college acceptances, warnings persist about college revocations, creating an fearful atmosphere around the slightest grade drop. But the reality of the matter is that college revocations are quite rare. What would really cost a student admission? Failing a class, getting suspended, and getting arrested, are main reasons. And while these things do occur, today’s high school seniors are extremely motivated. Today’s seniors worked hard taking numerous AP classes, staying out late involved in extracurricular activities. In the past, senioritis was much more severe, but presently, students are more motivated than ever before. For many of today’s students, senioritis is not dropping out of school, but it is taking a “mental health” day. It is not failing a class, but it is failing to do extra credit. While maintaining final year grades are important, in this day and age, emphasizing its importance is unnecessary.

Advice For College Decision Season

  1. Don’t Rush the Decision: The National Candidate’s reply date is May 1. Each acceptance will clearly state the deadline for the deposit.
  2. Review the Options Carefully: Gather as much information, compare financial aid and scholarship offers, attend prospective students events, and discuss with your family.
  3. Notify the Colleges You Will Not Attend: It is courteous to notify the admissions board that you will not attend, so that they can make a decision about whether they need to go to their waitlist.
  4. Prepare A Waitlist Plan:
    1. Send a College Deposit Elsewhere: Make sure by May 1 to send a deposit to a college you have been accepted to because there is no guarantee you will get off the waitlist.
    2. Develop an Action Plan With College Counselor: You and your college counselor should be working cooperatively to attain more information about the waitlist.
    3. Get Your Acceptance in Writing Before Submitting a Deposit: If you receive an offer of admissions, wait at least 72 hours to respond. The offer should include financial package and information about room and board.
  5. Finish Senior Year Strong: Maintain academic and social life, and enjoy your senior year because soon enough, you are going to be a freshman once again.


Chuck, E. (2015, May 20). Don’t Catch Senioritis! It Could Cost You Your College

Acceptance. NBC News. Retrieved from


Chrysler Jr., S. (2013, March 29). Tip Sheet: What To Do After Your Admission Decisions

Arrive. NY Times. Retrieved from


Grant, T. (2014 Feb 5). Senioritis Is Rarely Fatal. Washington Post. Retrieved from


Pappano, L. (2007 April 22). Slackers, Beware. NY Times. Retrieved from

The College Board (2017). Senioritis. The College board and National Merit Scholarship

Corporation. Retrieved from

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