The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

Senioritis: Myth or Reality?

There is a stigma in high school around “senioritis”, the idea that seniors detach – especially academically – throughout the year. For some, though, it’s an engrained part of high shool culture. “Senioritis is a right of passage, a tradition,” Audrey Leland (’14), a recent graduate, said.

When seniors are admitted to college or even after completing applications, their academic motivation tends to weaken. After three and a half years of hard work, sports games and common application essays, this senioritis can intensify.

According to attendance records last year, seniors accounted for 35 percent of excused absences and 44 percent of unexcused absences. Additionally, in semester one there was a total of 3,131 senior class absences, but in semester two, there were 5,569.

Consequently, Dean of Student Life James Perry explained the administration had to strengthen the attendance policy by making sure teachers were more conscientious about completing attendance at the beginning of class and intensifying consequences for tardies and absences.

Liam Roedy (’16), whose sister, Noa (’14), graduated last year, has witnessed this phenomenon and its repercussions. However, he does not think senioritis is wholly the students’ fault. “It is no secret that ASL can be a bit of a pressure cooker,” he said. “When students begin taking on higher roles and responsibilities, between school work, college applications, sports, etc., it is hard to never lose energy or give up.”

Andrew Bake (’15) agrees. “When we have been working so hard for so long and finally a huge weight is lifted off of us, it becomes hard not to lose motivation. Some people just need a break,” he said.

However, College Counselor Ivan Hauck has seen breaks ending up lasting too long. He explains that students can “fall into a pattern” in which they let their grades slip. Then, before they know it, it is time to graduate, and they have not ended their senior year on a high academic note.

Hauck added, “Not only do some students lack academic motivation during this time, but also social motivation, which makes the college transition difficult. Students don’t realize they’re doing themselves a disservice.”

Olivia Sanabria (’15) believes that senioritis can also be contagious. “If I see that my friends don’t seem to care about their work or are doing other fun activities, then I lose incentive. I end up convincing myself it’s fine because my friends are doing it.”

Roedy sympathizes. “Watching my sister go through senioritis almost set me up for it. It was ingrained in my mind that it would happen to me, and I can even see how it’s rubbing off on my friends,” he said.

Julia Leland (’16) witnesses it in her classes. “I see the seniors being able to relax and not stress as much as before, or as much as the juniors are, but I think to myself – it’s alright because I get to do that next year.”

The good news is, those who do consider it a problem believe it can be fixed. “I do not think students’ main motivation should be admission to college,” Hauck said. “What happens in college? What’s your motivation then? If we can  foster an environment where students want to learn and grow instead of just get into a prestigious college, I don’t think we would have this issue.”

Roedy also noticed it is helpful when students are close with teachers because that stimulates them and they want to continue to impress their teachers. “I think even more encouragement from the faculty would help students stay on a good path after getting into college.

Audrey echoes this, “I was very close with my teachers, so I felt the least I could do was go to class and not give up on my learning.”

Audrey also explained that she used her spring term of senior year to experience London more fully and develop her “extracurricular activities that were not necessarily academic,” she said.

Both Julia and Audrey believe that senioritis has a negative reputation, but it is not necessarily a bad thing.

“If people use this more relaxed academic period in the right way, they are still productive with their time,” Audrey said.

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