Being a high school senior is tough. Of course, this often ends up being your favorite year of high school and one you will cherish forever—but this year is also academically, emotionally, and physically exhausting. How’s life treating you? Don’t you just love getting up every morning and facing another day of classes? No? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
As the school year drags on, you’re going to find it harder to focus and, like so many students, you may find you fall victim to the infamous senioritis epidemic: an affliction born out of boredom, stress, and anticipation that feeds on your relief of finally being admitted to college. And after three years of high school topped by an intense college search, who wouldn’t want to coast a little? But you’re so very close to graduation—this is no time to throw in the towel! If you stop trying in your classes, tanking grades make it harder—if not impossible—to win scholarships. Worse yet, they could lead to your college revoking your acceptance. Now, before you panic, remember even the best students succumb to senioritis. Here are the top tips you need to get over the senioritis roadblock.
1. Set short- and long-term goals
The sand in your high school hourglass is quickly running out! Think about how you’d like to end your senior year, both academically and socially. Can you improve your GPA? Is there a class you’ve been slacking off in? Are there any people you’d regret not making amends with? Any teachers you want to thank? Make a list of goals, no matter how small, and start working on them now. Make it even more fun by creating a senior year bucket list, and really put in the effort to check off every item.
Wear a crazy outfit to school! Study extra to ace a test! Get up the nerve to talk to your crush! Choreograph an epic flash mob in the cafeteria! Giving yourself at least three goals to achieve per day will help keep you motivated and on task. Make sure your goals are specific and realistic, even if they are as simple as “Write down something that made me smile today,” or “Text my crush.” Completing tasks will make you feel more accomplished and motivated to do more. You still have time to do so much, so do it.
2. Get involved
You won’t be a high schooler for much longer, so get involved as much as you can with the time you have left! Double down on your dedication to clubs you’ve stuck with. Try out a new club, go to prom, audition for the school play—anything you may never have the chance to do again once you graduate. As a high school student, I know it’s easy to overlook many of the opportunities to get involved. Instead, advantage of them. You’ll have more fun and great stuff to add to your college and scholarship applications.
3. Work even harder
College is just around the corner—this is your last chance to prove to colleges that you’re willing to work to be on their campus. Take advantage of the opportunities available to you now while you still have them, whether it’s enrolling in AP or dual-credit courses, working outside of school, or volunteering in the community. This is the year to make a huge mark on your transcript and résumé. Many colleges and universities require a review of students’ final transcripts. Why would you jeopardize all your hard work by letting your grades slip? Don’t give your future school any excuse to drop your scholarships or pull your admission. Maintain your GPA as well as your commitment to sports, clubs, and community projects. Even if some of your classes are easier than they have been in the past three years, that isn’t an excuse to slack off.
4. Stay healthy
Maintaining your physical and mental health is critical during your senior year. You’re juggling classes, extracurricular activities, a busy social life, family obligations, and maybe even a job or internship. All of that can add up to too much junk food, too little sleep, and one worn-down immune system. You’re going to have to figure out how to have a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep all while staying sane through hours of tougher homework. Each day, give yourself the opportunity for a quick workout, at least one healthy and fresh meal, and an hour of alone time to calm down and relieve your daily stress (or at least two out of three if life gets crazy). Trust me, this may not sound like much, but it really pays off in the long run.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Your parents, teachers, and other friends and family are there for you. If things are getting overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Struggling in a certain class? Ask your teacher for some tips. Having trouble with a personal relationship? Your parents just might have some good advice. But someone who understands your senioritis better than anyone: your school counselor! They might have some amazing advice to help you get over it. They know what colleges are looking for and will do everything they can to help you show schools you’re serious about your education.
6. Give yourself incentives
Don’t let senioritis take over your life. As soon as you notice a loss of interest in school, be proactive in getting back on track. Can’t muster up the motivation to study for your calculus test? Give yourself some little incentives to help get you over hurdles. Like, “If I study hard and get an A on this chemistry quiz, I’ll get a pedicure on Saturday,” or, “If I make it through AP government without falling asleep today, I’ll watch an extra hour of Netflix tonight.” When you start to slack, find ways to give yourself rewards and keep on moving.
7. Get your feelings out
When you’re super stressed about your college search and applications and life in general, remember that this is one big push—and it will end as soon as those deadlines roll around. But under the impatience of senioritis, you may feel like you're about to explode. Sometimes something as simple as a good vent session with a friend or parent can help you relax. They can help remind you not to let petty problems like seeing your crush hanging out with someone at lunch get in the way of your success and happiness. Even journaling to get all your thoughts out can alleviate some of the pressure and give you a new perspective heading into the end of the year.
8. Go out on a high note
As sad as it sounds, once you graduate, you may never see some of your classmates again. Make the most of your time with them and be the kind of person they’ll enjoy running into at your 10-year high school reunion. Smile when they walk by in the hallway, invite them to a study party, and maybe even ask some people to grab some ice cream after school. Be appreciative of the people you’ve spent the last four years with and that you all got through it together!
Yes, you really are a senior, finally! You’re the top dog, and every underclassman is looking up to you. Live it up! I know it’s easy to get lost in your excitement about the next step in your education, but you need to stay focused. This is your last year of high school—make it one to remember. Graduation is this close. Don’t you want to cross the stage with your head held high?
Congratulations on making it to senior year! Need a good last-minute addition to your high school résumé for college applications? Consider becoming a CX Brand Ambassador!