It’s the end of April, and you have just made your college decision and sealed your fate for the next four years. Time to take a break and relax, right? WRONG. Well, according to college admissions offices it is. According to them, relaxing at a time like this would jeopardize your entire future. Colleges can still rescind your acceptance up until you start in August so you need to keep your grades high. The solution? Stop yourself from getting senioritis at all costs.
Senioritis is the phenomenon that seniors often face once they have gotten into college, characterized by a decrease in motivation towards school and other activities. Although many students are burnt out from the stress of college applications by this time, most parents, teachers, and college admissions officers strongly discourage this. If your grades drop by a significant amount, colleges can ask for an explanation as to why it happened and can even rescind, or take back, your acceptance. Many seniors fight hard to not catch senioritis, but what if it’s not such a bad thing?
After 12 grueling years of education with few breaks and a tremendous amount of pressure, maybe seniors should be able to take a break without jeopardizing their college acceptance.
After so much schooling, when there is finally less pressure to look perfect on a resume, a natural response for a teenager would be to watch TV more and study less. It makes sense; students feel the pressure throughout high school and even as far back as middle school to appeal to college admissions officers. After all of that is over with, they usually need a break. According to Judith Warner, an American author who advocates for mental health among adolescents, “[Senioritis] may (like sleep) be a necessary physical response to the years – Two? Four? Fourteen? – of personal resume-building that most students perceive as necessary now to win admission to a choice college.” Seniors should not be judged or discouraged from taking a break if they need one after so much pressure has been on them for so long.
Students hear it all the time, “don’t catch senioritis.” I have heard this so much throughout high school that I became scared of senioritis, like many other students. Because of this, many students, like me, feel the need to fill their time with extracurricular activities and studying even after the college admissions process is over. This can lead to academic burnout, which is even worse than senioritis is made out to be. Burnout happens when students face ongoing stress with no time to relax and recharge, and can lead to anxiety and other mental health issues, as well as the physical inability to stay productive.
It is known that academic burnout has negative effects on a student’s current and future enjoyment of learning. In a study done on Iranian students, Morteza Charkhabi and a group of researchers wanted to find the connection between academic burnout and a student’s performance in their future education. They found that emotional exhaustion and academic burnout led to a significant decrease in the quality of a student’s learning experience in a higher level of education. Because of this, academic burnout should be avoided and students should be encouraged to take breaks and prioritize their mental health in order to do so.
There should not be so much pressure to maintain grades once you have gotten into college. Sure, you need to fill your school’s graduation requirements, but it is okay to take a break as long as you continue to meet those requirements. Senioritis does not automatically equal a decrease in grades large enough to have any impact on your college status. Allowing yourself to get rid of some of the stress that school places on students can be necessary, and it can happen without your grades plummeting. Plus, your acceptance at a college is more likely to be rescinded for committing a felony, not because your grade in English class dropped from an A to a B. College admissions officers are and should be understanding that students need to prioritize their mental health and well-being along with their academics. If you are a senior worried about encountering senioritis, prioritize your mental health, take a break and be lazy for once, you’ve earned it.