Every year, colleges rescind offers of admission, put students on academic probation, or alter financial aid packages due to "senioritis." Learn how to recognize and combat this common syndrome and prevent your students from catching it.

What Colleges Can Do

Colleges may reserve the right to deny admission to an accepted applicant should the student's senior-year grades drop. (Many college acceptance letters now explicitly state this.) Admission officers can ask a student to explain a drop in grades and can revoke an offer of admission if not satisfied with the response.

Because colleges do not receive final grades until June or July, students may not learn of a revoked admission until July or August, after they've given up spots at other colleges and have few options left.

What Colleges Expect

Colleges see both a mid-year grade report and a final (year-end) transcript and they expect students to maintain previous levels of academic success.

Colleges expect seniors to complete courses they enrolled in, including high-level courses. Many college applications ask applicants to list senior-year courses, with information about course levels and credit hours. College admission officers are interested in academic commitment and course completion.

Tips for Keeping Seniors on Track

One way to prevent senioritis is to ensure that students remain excited, active, and focused throughout their senior year.

Challenge your seniors to:

  • Maintain a challenging course load. Urge them to take the most rigorous courses available, including AP courses (for which they can earn credit at many colleges).
  • Enjoy their senior experience—responsibly. Encourage them to celebrate the last year of school. They may enjoy cheering at football games, going to the prom, attending graduation festivities, and participating in clubs, sports, and volunteer work.
  • Commit to an internship or career-focused job. This can help them make informed decisions about their education and career goals. Or they can try out college early by taking a class at a local college in a subject that interests them or in which they excel.
  • Keep a calendar of their activities and deadlines. This includes tests, college applications, senior-year events, and extracurriculars. Caution them not to overextend themselves.
  • Avoid obsessing over the admission process. If they do, everything else, including grades, may suffers. It's all about balance and making the right choices.

Challenging your students in these ways will not only help prevent senioritis but will leave them in a stronger position to transition from high school and face the rigors of college.