Catching a Cold: How to Deal With Senioritis

Katriona Page, Senior Copy Editor

On Nov. 1, thousands of high school seniors across the country submitted college applications to their Early Decision, Early Action or state schools. With that deadline safely out of the way, some have come down with a severe case of senioritis. Senioritis as old as college application season itself is informally defined as the loss of motivation in high school seniors after they submit applications and is characterized by a decline in academic performance. 

However, seniors, beware: senioritis can be dangerous. Nov. 1 may have passed, but most students who still plan on applying to colleges by the Regular Decision deadline should remain on top of their game. For students with deadlines in January, it is crucial that they maintain their grades through the second quarter and rest of the year. This is because most colleges request mid-term reports which include first semester grades before making decisions. If admissions officers notice a drop in performance, that can be a red flag; it indicates that students may have been working hard solely to obtain a college acceptance rather than out of a genuine desire to learn. Additionally, many colleges look at final grades and have the right to retract an acceptance if performance is not consistent with what was demonstrated in the student’s initial application. 

This post is sponsored by Unique Homes of Miami. For more information, please visit

With the importance of maintaining high performance in mind, combating early-onset senioritis is primarily a matter of mindset. Try pretending you are not a senior. While this may be difficult given that senior year typically involves special traditions and celebrations, imagining yourself as a junior can be helpful, as junior year is regarded as the most important year of high school grade-wise. Additionally, juniors’ mindsets are geared towards performing well academically. Alternatively, pretend that college applications have a spring deadline. Planning for a later deadline can help students whose performance is primarily driven by college acceptances.

If this sort of thinking does not work for you, try an incentive system. For every test you study for and every homework assignment you complete, reward yourself. This does not have to be an expensive activity: hang out with friends, read a book, watch a movie or spend time on relaxing self-care activities. In other words, give yourself time to do what you want to do. 

For others, successfully fighting senioritis comes down to a desire to feel prepared for college and respect for teachers. Even though you may have submitted your applications, colleges still expect you to have mastered concepts taught throughout senior year. For example, if you take pre-calculus in 12th grade, colleges assume that you have mastered all pre-calculus content by the time you arrive not just half of the pre-calculus content. In addition, teachers continue to put in the effort to ensure you learn, and though your applications are done, teachers must still “perform,” as they are often reviewed based on the results of student test scores, which rely on your performance. Thus, giving up early is not only risky for you, but can harm your teachers and discredit the work they do. 

While pervasive and oh-so-easy to succumb to, senioritis can be a serious issue and cause problems down the road. Luckily, there is more than one way to fight senioritis, so pick the method that works best for you.